The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Focaccia Recipe from Cook's Illustrated

GSLawson's picture

Focaccia Recipe from Cook's Illustrated

The new Cook's just arrived and has an article on focaccia. It is basically an unkneaded version that starts with a biga and just uses three foldings to get the proper texture. I tried it last night and while I used a cup of ripe sourdough starter instead of the biga it turned out very nice. An easy recipe though it produces a very wet dough (about 85% hyrdration) that might scare a new baker it is doable by an inexperienced baker. Here is the link to the online article on Better Focaccia

LeeYong's picture

Too bad... have to be a member to get their recipe.... been looking for a great foccaicia recipe for some time now... thank you though...

Happy baking!

joem6112's picture

Take a look at Food Network site. It has 95 focaccia recipies

GSLawson's picture

I didn't have any problem following the link in the post and viewing the recipe. It didn't log me in or anything like that. Did you follow the link in the post?

GSLawson's picture

Sorry, I have subscription but I didn't log on to look at the recipe. I'll check again.

BettyR's picture

prepared by a professional so I'm not really sure how authentic this recipe is. I've made it several times for my family and they really like it.

Focaccia is a type of flat bread popular in Italy, but probably adopted from Greece. The basic bread is often topped with any of the following: herbs, olive oil, cheese, meats, and vegetables, and can be seen as a precursor to pizza. Makes 1 loaf.





annabel398's picture

I made it this morning... Love that they're doing S&F recipes! It came out quite well, I thought. We made one with caramelized shallots and nicoise olives, the other with a bit of grated Gruyere. Nice open crumb, lighter than I expected, and good crunchy crust. Will definitely make this one again.

My first post here (though I've been lurking for a while now), so I haven't figured out yet how to upload a pic...

ETA: the caramelized shallots, btw, came out carbonized so I had to pick them off. Note to self: next time use bigger slices, cook for a shorter time...

ETA: the photo FAQs say to click on the tree icon, but I don't see an icon bar at all. Is it because I'm on Safari, I wonder?

noonesperfect's picture

I am using a Mac and Safari, and the icon bar is at the top of the Comment box I am typing this reply in - the tree icon is just to the left of the quotation mark icon.  When I first tried to post pictures, I was looking for the icon bar at the top of the browser page instead of in the comment box.

I have made the Cooks Illustrated focaccia also, and the only version I like better is from Glezer's Artisan Baking Across America - the Acme Bread herb slab.



annabel398's picture

No icon bar on my comment box. It's just a box, no tools visible...


ETA: But I just switched to IE and there it is. Now my problem is... I can't edit the original post! Darn, must be some kinda time limit...?

noonesperfect's picture

Once someone replies to your comment, I believe the edit capability goes away.



annabel398's picture

Okay, thank you Brad. Live and learn! Photos below.

annabel398's picture

(Curse you, finicky forum editor tools! However, it works in IE, so...)

Here are the glamour shots. Sorry about the yellow cast... it's my camera's fault. I only have one 9" round pan, so I used an 8x8" square--which gives approximately the same area--for the second focaccia. You can see a silver of carbonized shallot on the near edge of the crumb shot... pretty awful, huh? Also, those olives were mauve when they went into the oven. I wonder if I overlooked some instruction about adding toppings halfway through baking...? Still, I think these are pretty nice, considering it's the first time I've ever tried a focaccia. That was one wet dough, but it was wonderfully springy and alive-feeling.

For those who can't access the recipe (and btw, I think the CI website is well worth its subscription price), it uses a biga with 107% hydration, made overnight, then the dough (not including the biga) is at 80% hydration. So, um, [consults calculator] about 84-85% hydration overall. No kneading, just an initial autolyse, add salt, then 3 sets of folds at 30 minute intervals in the bowl. It really couldn't be simpler. The texture of the dough after the third fold--what am I saying, after the FIRST fold--was just amazing. And no mixer cleanup, yay!

So what do you experts think? Be honest. If I've made some obvious amateur mistake, you'll be doing me a favor by pointing it out.



Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

the recipe is hidden but the video is in the clear

ingredients for biga:

  • 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/3c water
  • 1/2 c flour

stir together in glass bowl, cover, and let sit for 8 to 24 hours at "room temp"

Preheat oven to 500F

ingredients for the rest of the dough (added to the biga above):

  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1.25c water
  • 2.5c flour

stir together.  (not using a mixer)

let sit 15 mins

add 2 tsp kosher salt - I would never use kosher salt IN  a dough, use regular salt.  Kosher salt is designed NOT to dissolve.  It's really a no-go for use in a dough.  Let "rise" 30 mins. 

do 3 times total:

  • fold the dough in the bowl @90 degree turns 8 times
  • cover and let rise another 30 mins

gently remove from bowl onto floured surface and divide in half

gently form balls (not deflating)

Oil cake pans with olive oil (I question if this would work in other than the nonstick pans they're using in the video; I do NOT find olive oil useful to keep dough from sticking, quite the opposite in fact)

sprinkle some kosher salt (about 1 tsp per pan) in the bottom of the pans.  Using kosher here would be OK since this is not incorporated into the dough, it ends up being a "topical" application, where the disinclination of the kosher salt to dissolve might actually be a plus.

Place the dough in the pans gently and coat with the oil, flip to coat the other side, being careful not to deflate.

Cover and let rise another 5 mins

form into the pan; let sit another 5 mins if it isn't stretching easily

poke any big bubbles with a fork

sprinkle with rosemary

turn oven down to 450F and bake on stone in (metal) cake pans for 25-28 mins

remove from the pans and let cool on a wire rack.

Personally I have not found a subscription to CI to be worth the money. 

I think the Reinhart recipe from Artisan Bread Every Day is easier, quicker (in prep time); and gives you more options for holding to bake later (and more opportunity to develop flavor).

But in the end,  whatever works for you is what you go with.