Fluffy Focaccia 2.0


It’s no secret that I love bread. While you might not see many bread recipes on the blog, I experiment with bread quite a bit. And one of the most flavorful and brilliant types of bread I’ve ever made is focaccia.

I have already made a focaccia recipe for this blog; it’s a beginner-friendly straightforward recipe. While it’s well and good, I believe that if you want to excel in baking or anything for that matter, you’ve got to elevate what you do and challenge yourself often. This is why I took it upon myself to make a better focaccia recipe — one that’s fluffy, airy. I decided that the dough needed to look like those focaccia videos on Instagram, the satisfying and jiggly ones.

I’d like to think I’ve succeeded in doing that. I’ve called this recipe the focaccia 2.0, and it works, because in a way, it is the rebirth and upgraded version of my previous focaccia recipe.

I adore this recipe; it’s a single-day bake and yields in incredibly fluffy and super flavorful focaccia. Plus, summers can be a great time to get into bread making because the warm weather is just what yeast needs!


What goes into the focaccia 2.0?

Irrespective of type, all bread recipes need flour, salt, water, and yeast. So that’s what goes into the focaccia 2.0, along with some extra virgin olive oil. I strongly recommend using extra virgin olive oil because you’re going to taste it; it makes all the difference. Please don’t use refined or pomace olive oil; you might as well use sunflower oil if you’re planning on using refined/pomace olive oil.



Now, the ingredients are precisely the same as the earlier focaccia recipe. So, what’s the game-changer in this recipe?

It’s a sponge. Now, it’s going to get a bit technical here, but it’s nothing to be scared of. I’m gonna try my best to explain it as simply as I can.


A sponge is a type of pre-ferment, which means that it’s a portion of the dough that’s already ripe and active. When this active sponge is added to the dough, it accelerates the fermentation caused by the yeast. Adding sponges to the bread dough also yields a considerably airier crumb and a fluffier bread. At least that’s what I have noticed.

There’s a whole variety of pre-ferments that one can use, but that’s a lesson for another day. For now, we will focus on the sponge. The sponge is made with all-purpose flour, water, and commercial/active dry yeast for this recipe.



This mixture is left to rise for an hour until it’s all active and risen, and then it’s kneaded along with the main dough.


The final focaccia dough will be slimy-looking because it has high hydration. This dough also calls for quite a bit of kneading, and since it’s so hydrated and wet, I highly recommend kneading it with a hand mixer or a stand mixer instead of with your hands. Unless you’re highly experienced with goopy, wet dough.



Lastly, the toppings are super subjective. I’ve added some sliced black olives and thyme to mine; you can add tomatoes, onions, or garlic. Some even do herbs and potatoes, or just a nice sprinkle of sea salt and herbs of your choice. Anything you wish can be your focaccia topping. There are no boundaries or limits.


What equipment do I need?


The primary tool for this focaccia recipe is an electric mixer or a stand mixer because, as I mentioned above, it’s a wet dough you’ll be dealing with. It’s better to rely on a machine for this.


You will also need two mixing bowls to mix the dough in and another for it to rise.

You will need an 8x8 inch square pan to bake the focaccia in; a 8-inch round pan also works. Of course, you will need a wire whisk and a rubber spatula as well.



The recipe for fluffy focaccia 2.0


Yields: An 8x8 inch slab of focaccia

Time: 3 ½ hours, including rising and proofing

INGREDIENTS


Sponge:

  • 60 grams (½ cup) all-purpose flour/00 flour (31%)

  • 2 grams (½ teaspoon) yeast (1%)

  • 55 grams (¼ cup) water (28%)

Dough:

  • 190 grams (1 ½ cup) all-purpose flour/00 flour (100%)

  • 6 grams (1 ½ tablespoon) fine salt (3%)

  • 4 grams (1 teaspoon) instant yeast (2%)

  • 145 grams (½ cup) lukewarm water (between 35°C to 40°C) (76%)

  • 25 grams (2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) (13%), plus more


METHOD


Sponge:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and water using a spatula until you have a wet and sticky mixture.

  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside in a warm spot for 1 hour until bubbly and doubled in size.

Dough:

  • Once the sponge is active, add the rest of the flour, yeast, water, and EVOO.

  • Mix with a spatula and then begin kneading with an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment.

  • Knead with the machine for 5 minutes. Start at low speed and gradually increase it to high.

  • Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a separate bowl and coat the sides.

  • Tip the kneaded focaccia dough into the greased bowl and drizzle some more olive oil on top.

  • Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot. It should take about 1 hour to double in size.

  • After an hour, the dough should be twice its original size, fluffy and jiggly.

  • Grease an 8x8 inch metal tin generously with olive oil and tip the risen dough into it.

  • Grease your fingertips with olive oil and dimple the dough. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and let it proof for 45 minutes to an hour.

  • Preheat the oven to 230°C and top the focaccia with herbs or veggies of your choice. Drizzle some more EVOO if you’d like.

  • Bake the focaccia at 230°C for 20-25 minutes.

  • Let the baked focaccia sit for 3-4 minutes before removing it from the tin.

  • Serve it warm, and it’s best eaten as it is by dipping it into a mixture of EVOO and balsamic vinegar.



Notes


I’ve also mentioned the percentages of the ingredients in the recipe, so it’s easy for you to increase or cut down the recipe per your wishes.


Simply put, this is how baker’s percentages work:

Flour is always 100%; every other ingredient is calculated based off of that. Here, for the sponge, the percentage of flour is 31%, and the weight of the flour in the main dough is 190 grams.

31% of 190 is around 60. Hence the weight of flour used for the sponge is 60 grams. The same calculation can be done for all of the ingredients, using the flour in the main dough as the base. Hope you could understand this.

Another thing to note, I have tested this recipe with both all-purpose flour and 00 flour. 00 flour is best suited for pizza and focaccia making, and there is a visible difference in the result. If you’re able to get 00 flour, I’d definitely suggest you use it. If not, it’s okay. You can use all-purpose flour or maida, too; it’ll work just fine.


If you don’t want to bake the same day, you can also let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight after it’s been kneaded.





If you liked this recipe or if you try any of my recipes, share your thoughts with me on Instagram or Facebook! #focaccia #bread #breadsandsavory

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