The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Josh.S's picture

Focaccia technique question

September 23, 2011 - 10:09am -- Josh.S

I made Reinhart's focaccia recipe from the BBA a couple weeks ago and it turned out very well.  Interestingly, I noticed that the olive oil and water are simultaneously mixed with the flour.  I understand that fats are typically added later in the mixing process so that the gluten is given more time to form and so the fat doesn't lubricate the gluten and prevent it from forming longer strands.

MadAboutB8's picture

I've been away from The Fresh Loaf for a while. I was still baking and blogging but didn't quite have time to also update the pages here. So, I'll keep it short and sweet for few things that I baked in the past week or two. 

Ciabatta with wheat germs and olive oil (from Hamelman's Bread)


The recipe produced great tasting and chewy ciabatta. I followed the shaping method from Susan @ Wild Yeast, by not degasing the dough. This worked really well. The bread was great with potato soup with sage burnt butter.

Full post is here >

Focaccia with Rosemary and Tarragon herb oil


The recipe came from Peter Reinhart's American Pie cookbook. The recipe is quite similar to Reinhart's pizza dough. The herb oil contributed to great tasting focaccia. 

Full post is here >

Wheaty Sourdough with bulgur, wheat berries and wheat germs

It had nice texture and crunch from wheat berries, moisture and flavour from bulgur and aroma and chewiness from wheat germ. I also included a small amount of honey to bring out more wheat flavours. 


Full post is here>


G-man's picture

Proposal: A Definition for Focaccia and Pizza

July 14, 2011 - 3:22am -- G-man

Hello TFLers!


Pizza and Focaccia are both subjects near and dear to me. I have seen so very many arguments arise from the subject of how to discern one from the other, and I don't like to see my fellow TFLers consumed by the fires of wrath. We are a community, after all, and a community we shall remain forever after. If you would all be so kind as to follow along with me on this journey...

I would like to be able to claim some fair amount of impartiality in this decision, and so if you will allow me, I will open with my qualifications.

pascal's picture

Distributing Ciabatta &Focaccia

March 29, 2011 - 8:46am -- pascal

hi there ,

we are a family owned bakery for over 26 years . We are not embarking on distributing ciabatta bread. W have order hoagie pans 6 " x 3" x 1/2" . We are not sure how we are going to dispense the sticky dough into the bun pans . We would like a mechanical method to save time . Also if some can suggest , if we should supply it half baked , which perservative will be best for the shelf life. \

This is the first time we are venturing in the wholesale market. 

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. 


Melissa Pascal 

kate2011's picture

Failed focaccia

March 26, 2011 - 7:58pm -- kate2011

As a long time reader who has learned a great deal from this site I am now here to ask for help.

For years I have regularly made focaccia using a recipe from Suzanne Dunaway’s “No need to knead’ book.

2 cups lukewarm water/I packet instant dry yeast/4 cups flour/2 teaspoons salt
Baked in a 2 inch deep baking tray at 190C for 35 minutes in a fan forced electric oven.

MarieH's picture

I've been baking bread a long time and I'm still amused by the narrow line between success and failure. I fed my sourdough starter last night in preparation for baking a (singular) rustic loaf today. When I looked at the starter early this morning it had grown to over 16 oz. by weight. Being a frugal person I decided to use all the starter and made a monster ball of dough. I blended 2 recipes, substituted and blended flour, and basically just winged it with autolyse, proofing, and shaping. I ended up with a 2 1/2 pound boule and 20 2 oz. rolls. I stayed on the right side of that fine line somehow and ended up with great looking bread and awesome crumb and taste.



And just because I like a challenge, I made a 100% whole wheat focaccia at the same time. I almost crashed and burned with getting everything in and out of the oven on time, but again I stayed on the line.

The lesson?  Learn to trust the instincts you develop through experience and have some crazy, risk-taking fun! It is a hobby, right?

Whole Wheat Focaccia

This 100% whole wheat flour recipe was adapted from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook.


Mix together until well blended. Cover and let stand at room temp for 12 to 16 hours.

4 oz. KAF white whole wheat flour

4 oz. water

Scant pinch of yeast


In the mixer bowl of a stand mixer add:

All the biga

9 oz. water

1 oz. orange juice

12 oz. KAF white whole wheat flour

3 Tbs Vital Wheat Gluten

Pinch of ascorbic acid

2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp instant yeast 

With the paddle beater, mix on the lowest speed until dough starts to come together. It will be very wet and slack. Scrape down the paddle and add 1 to 2 Tbs water if the dough seems too dry. Mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead for 4 minutes. The dough will be very soft.

Cover and let rest in the bowl for 30 minutes. Scrape the dough onto a silicon mat and fold like an envelope length-wise and width-wise (4 folds). Return to bowl, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat the fold process again, and let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat the fold process once more and turn out onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan. With oiled hands, press the dough outward to the pan edges. When dough stops spreading, let it rest for 10 minutes then continue pressing the dough out with your fingertips. The dough will not cover the pan - it will be approximately a 10" x 13" oval.

Cover and let rise for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 500 degrees. I use a baking stone set in the bottom third of my oven. Uncover the dough and drizzle with olive oil. With greased fingers, gently dimple the dough. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake in the pan on the stone for 18 to 20 minutes until a deep golden color.


GSnyde's picture

I baked in pans this weekend.  No, there’s nothing wrong with my baking stone.  I just have freezers full of baguettes, miches and other hearth breads.   Also, I was (and am always) craving scones (using Breadsong’s technique).  My wife was urging me to make another whole grain-y sandwich bread.  And I wanted a good accompaniment for Pollo Cacciatore.  So, it was scones, Hamelman’s Oatmeal Bread and Reinhart’s BBA Focaccia.

Lemony-Cranberry Flaky Scones


Breadsong wrote about flaky scones a couple months ago (  I had done a couple variations before (  This time, I wanted to try a tart and fruity variation.  I looked at some lemon scone recipes to see different approaches to getting lemon flavor in scones.  Some use lemon zest, some use lemon juice, and some use lemon extract.  I used all three. 

I also added some dried cranberries, soaked in water overnight. I squeezed out the excess water in a sieve, but the dough was still too moist.  So I added some flour in the mix.  Next time I’ll reduce the other liquids.  The scones came out with the same wonderful texture as before, moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.  But they didn’t rise up quite as much.  And they could have had a stronger lemon flavor.  So next time I’ll use more lemon zest, or maybe candied lemon peel.

I followed Breadsong’s technique.  Here’s the formula I recommend, with the adjustments I mentioned above:

1 cups (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

½ Tbsp baking powder 

1/4 tsp kosher salt

scant 1/4 cup golden brown sugar

2 ½ Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (soaked overnight in water, excess water squeezed out)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Just less than 1 cup heavy cream (185 grams)

 2  Teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Half-and-half (for brushing)

But even though they could be improved, these scones were dang good.



Hamelman’s Oatmeal Bread


Having enjoyed making –and eating-- AW’s whole wheat bread last week, I decided to try another partially whole grain sandwich bread.   I chose the Oatmeal Bread from Hamelman’s Bread: with 25% whole wheat flour and 75% KAF Sir Lancelot.  Believe it or not, I made this bread exactly per the formula, with no variations.  Believe it?  Well, ok…I did substitute molasses for 1/3 of the honey, just because we love the dark, rich flavor.

The dough was fermented for one hour after mixing and kneading, stretched and folded, then refrigerated.  It almost tripled by morning.   Seriously gassy! 


 It proofed about 2 ½ hours since it had to get to the temperature the yeasties like.   The home-baking formula for this bread in Bread made enough for two loaves in 9 x 5 pans and six 3-ounce rolls.  The bread has a wonderful tenderness and a wholesome oatey-wheaty flavor.  It was excellent for a dinner of turkey and cole slaw sandwiches. This is a real good sandwich bread and I’ll bake it again.



BBA Focaccia


Monday night we are having dinner at home with a friend of a friend, who is a writer for the New York Times, and a serious foodie.  In fact, she wrote a wonderful book about the history of Chinese food in the U.S., called The Fortune Cookie Chronicles.  I’ll be serving Pollo Cacciatore, my variation on an excellent recipe Brother David shared.  I think one needs Focaccia to sop up the delicious gravy.

Since we are traveling back to SF from our North Coast getaway on Monday, and since the Pollo Cacciatore is best re-heated the second day, I made both the chicken and a Rosemary-Garlic Focaccia Sunday.   Well, more accurately, the Focaccia dough was mixed, fermented, folded, shaped and slathered with garlic-rosemary oil Saturday evening, and retarded in the fridge overnight.

I looked at a lot of Focaccia recipes and the BBA formula seemed like a good place to start.  I figure, if I’ve got the book, I might as well use it.  This dough is a monster—sloppy and hard (but fun) to manage.  After the third fold and a one-hour rest, it was like a big jiggly pillow.  It easily expanded to fill the 17 x 12 sheet pan.  When it had warmed a couple hours the next morning, it had serious eruptions.


I’ve never seen bread bubbles quite so large.  Like volcanos.


The crumb is airy and tender and the flavor is outstanding with a strong, but not overpowering rosemary and garlic flavor.


We also made fresh pasta today to eat tomorrow with Pollo Cacciatore and re-heated Focaccia.  Gonna be good.



All in all, a good cooking and baking weekend.  We also got some good hikes in, and enjoyed the varied animal and bird life of the North Coast.  Including a rare sighting of a Flicker right on our meadow.


Happy Presidents’ Day to you all.



Kevin E Smith's picture

Dissolving Salt in Water

February 13, 2011 - 12:00am -- Kevin E Smith

I corrected a mistake in water measurement recently and ended up with a result that I'd never have expected. I've been baking for 34 years with considerable attention to focaccia for the last eight years. My favorite, every week, recipe is much like Peter Reinhart's BBA. I mix the flour, water, and yeast, and autolyse for about an hour before adding salt and olive oil.

wayne on FLUKE's picture
wayne on FLUKE

My friend and former neighbor Big Al loves to cook. He gave us one of his Focaccia masterpieces a couple of years ago and it was so good I convinced him to show me how to make it. Big Al isn't into measuring much (never mind weighing to the gram like me!), but he got me started with ingredients and his process.

Yesterday was a dreary cool day in Florida so my wife decided we needed some bread to go with the soup she was going to make. If you didn't see the soup recipe for Mexican Salsa soup made with a rotisserie chicken in Parade magazine, check it out here.

Here's how it looked just out of the oven.

Focacci just out of the oven

I'll save a couple of crumb shots for later. Here is the ingredients I used.

  • Semolina Flour (Bob's Red Mill) 84 grams (1/2 cup)
  • Bread Flour 390 grams
  • Water (room temp) 360 grams
  • Sugar 15 grams (about 1 Tbs)
  • Instant Yeast 5 grams (about 1.5 tsp)
  • Salt 7 grams (about 1 tsp+)
  • Olive Oil (EVOO) 2 Tbs
  • Garlic, minced 1.5 tsp
  • Rosemary, dry 1.5 tsp
  • Kosher salt for topping


  • Make a marinade from EVOO, garlic, rosemary and set aside
  • Make a sponge from Semolina, 190 gr Bread Flour, all the water, sugar, yeast and let sit covered for a couple of hours
  • Mix rest of BF into sponge, autolyze 20 min
  • Add salt and 1/2 of marinade then knead (I did about 12 min in Bread Machine dough cycle)
  • Rise in oil coated bowl with 3 stretch and folds in the bowl every 30 min.
  • At this point I refrigerated the dough for about 2.5 hrs because I wanted to time the completion to dinner being ready.
  • Removed dough from refer and bowl. Placed on oil coated 9x13 sheet pan. Started the dimpling/stretching process with fingers and covered with rest of the marinade.
  • Repeated the dimple/stretch 2 more times at 30 min intervals (See PR ABED) to get into the corners of the pan.
  • Proof for about 45 mins, preheat oven to 500.
  • Sprinkle a little Kosher salt on top
  • Bake at 450 for 10 mins, rotate, bake for another 15 min.
  • Let cool for only a few minutes, slice and EAT warm.

Here is how the crumb turned out. I was amazed at the oven spring. After all the dimpling/stretching it was not very thick when it went into the oven. Didn't use stone or steam.

It was the best looking of any higher hydration bread I have tried. I calculated the hydration to be 76%, but remember this is in the high humidity of Florida so you may need a little more water. I cut back on the flour by quite a bit from previous bakes and am glad I recorded the weights because there will definitely be a next time. Taste great, excellent mouth feel.

Focacci crumb shot

And the required crumb close up. Best holes yet.

Focacci crumb close up

A big thanks to everyone that shares on this site. I would never have been able to make this this good without all the great info from so many. Thanks

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Submitted to YeastSpotting.

Ruralidle's picture

Latest results

September 9, 2010 - 10:33am -- Ruralidle

I have been baking bread regularly for about 4 years now, since I attended a course run by Richard Bertinet (RB) in Bath, UK.  I generally make white sandwich bread, focaccia and baguettes to RB's recipes and methods but the bread I bake most frequently is a spelt sourdough (200g wholemeal spelt, 200g white spelt, 200g of sourdough starter made to RB's methodology with 7g salt and 300g water as well as 5g ascorbic acid).  Here are a few pictures of my recent efforts.


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