The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

From Fougasse to Focaccia

wally's picture

From Fougasse to Focaccia


It's occured to me more than once that in the competition between pizza dough and sauce, I've always favored (or at least rooted for) a decent dough. I figured that if you got the dough right, it was easy enough to flavor it subtly to make a good thing great.  I'm frankly tired of the indignations national pizza chains visit on their doughs (like, let's bake a bunch of cheese into the dough to add to the overabundance of cheese we've already put on top of the dough).  Enough already!

So, when stumbling upon Jeffrey Hamelman's recipe for fougasse in his Bread, I was hooked by the challenge to make a flavored dough that still stood up on its own.

My initial experiments with a flavored Provence-bread called fougasse can be found here:

Recently, however, I decided to move to something that offered both more crumb and crust - and that meant focaccia.  I've had great results in my bakings to date.  This is a product that can be varied at will in terms of toppings - from a pizza-like bread to one that accentuates only a few flavors.

Whatever your choice, it will not disappoint!

The following recipe is a composite of Hamelman's recipe in "Bread" (which uses ciabatta dough made with biga), Reinhart's recipe in "BBA" (using his herb-infused olive oil) and my own additions - primarily the addition of roasted garlic to the dough). 

I scaled this for a 9" x 13" x 2" baking pan. (The total weight is just a little over 22oz. and yields a focaccia between 1" - 1-1/4")


TWF = 366g (I'm using KAF's Sir Galahad)

Water = 267g

Salt = 6g

Yeast = 1/2 tsp

Starter = 25g

Garlic = 1 tsp roasted garlic

Herb-infused olive oil = 1/4 c (I warm 1/4 c olive oil and add herbs de provence, sea salt and dried hot pepper flakes to taste and allow to marinade overnight)

Grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesian) cheese = 2 tbls.


Firm culture (60%) = 25g

Flour = 74g

Water = 43g

The biga should ferment at about 70° for between 12 -16 hrs until domed with a slight recess in the center.  I've used 25g of my firm starter (approximately 18% of the biga); if using instant dry yeast, you want to add just specks of yeast.

Final dough:  (Desired dough temperature is 75°)

Flour = 292g

Water = 224g

Salt = 6g

Biga = 117g (N.B. That is, 142g of the biga minus the original 25g starter)

Yeast = 1/2 tsp (instant dry yeast)

Roasted garlic = 1 tsp

Grated Pecorino Romano (or Parmesian) cheese = 2 tbls.


Approximately 3.5 hours before the bake mix final dough on speed #1 for 3 - 4 minutes.  As it comes together, cut biga into it.  Mix another 3 - 4 minutes on speed #2 and add in 1 tsp of mashed, roasted garlic in increments. Dough will be slack, but should exhibit extensibility - you should be able to grab and stretch it without it tearing easily.

Allow a bulk fermentation of 2 hours, with folds at 45 minutes and 90 minutes.

Put 2 tbls olive oil into 9" x 13" x 2" baking pan and coat thoroughly.

Scrape dough onto heavily floured work surface and stretch.  If necessary, allow bench rest to get necessary extensibilty.  Place in pan, sprinkle with grated cheese, cover with plastic wrap and bench rest for 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes, pour 1/4 c. of herb-infused olive oil onto dough, and incorporate by dimpling dough with your fingertips (at this point you do not want to degas the dough, so only use fingertips!).

Allow to rise for about another hour, until nearly doubled in size.

Place into pre-heated oven at 450° and bake for about 20 minutes.  The sides as well as bottom of the focaccia should be browned, and the top should be nicely browned witht a crust that still yields when pressed.

Cool 30 minutes and enjoy!  I think a marinara sauce would be a good accompanyment, but so far haven't been able to keep the final product around people long enough to test.

I think the secret to this is Hamelman's advice to not go wild with toppings. Too much will not only inhibit the ability of the dough's final fermentation, but inevitably is going to overwhelm the flavors in the dough itself.

A great treat, and a nice vacation from pizza!



Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Looks like my kind of bread, Larry :-)

dmsnyder's picture

The foccacia looks delicious, Larry!


Paddyscake's picture

looks awesome!


erg720's picture

I love it man.




wally's picture

Debra, David, Betty, Ron and CarlSF.  I've also discovered that briefly reheated (to just recrisp the crust) in the morning, and focaccia makes a wonderful breakfast!


smasty's picture

Ok...that's the next thing I'm going to make!