any advice on what to come on top - other than rosemary, oil and olives?
Sesame seeds and sesame oil. Yummo!
Try shredded sharp chedder cheese and sliced pickled jalapeno peppers-JimZ
Caramelized onions, goat cheese and sauteed mushrooms. Goes over well at my bakery.
- Very thinly sliced potatoes (new potatoes with skin is the best) with scattering of blue cheese and few sprinkle of rosemary or sage and olive oil.
- Roasted/chargrilled peppers, skin removed and cut into thin strips and a few bits of anchovy and olive oil.
- Chopped olives (you can mix them into dough, too) and garlic and lots of parsley.
- Chopped hazelnuts, good quality sea salt (coarse) and good extra virgin olive oil
- Strong flavoured air-dried ham (like Parma ham or Serrano ham, etc.....or even chopped chorizo), chopped small with chopped garlic, rosemary and/or sage and olive oil.
- Grated Parmesan/Pecorino cheese with coarsely ground black pepper and olive oil.
etc. etc. etc. etc............:)
IMO, when you start adding toppings to Foccacia you begin the process for making it into something closer to a pizza. When it's on the coolling rack, a small amount of grated hard cheese along with the traditional rosemary et al seems appropriate but extending the effort beyond that level seems to me to be an intrusion on the basic form of Foccacia.
I respect your personal opinion on how focaccia should be, but there are lots of authentic Italian recipes for focaccia with various kinds of toppings, you know... All of the above suggestions I wrote above from the Italian cookbooks or other sources by respectable Italian chefs, FYI. ;)
Carol Field, author of The Italian Baker, wrote an excellent and most worthwhile book on focaccia.
Never heard of the book or the author (I have two large-bookshelves-full of cookery books :p), but very intrigued and googled about it. Apparently she's even written a book totally dedicated to focaccia! Pity my local library doesn't have it on their catalogue....
After waiting almost a month, yesterday I picked up Carol Field's book dedicated to Focaccia from the library. It looks like the bread is as versatile as our sandwich breads so there are a multitude of fillings and toppings. As of right now, the soft, silky dough is almost ready for topping and baking. Will roughly "divide" it into three parts for sampling, one with olive oil and sea salt, one with olive oil and slivers of roasted red pepper, and one with slivers of sun dried tomato and drizzled with a little of the tomato flavored oil. I'm going to lightly spray with water and then top with the inverted roaster for the first few minutes. She recommends baking the first part of time with the pan directly on the baking stone and then sliding the bread onto the stone for the last bit of time. Hope it all works!
...She recommends baking the first part of time with the pan directly on the baking stone and then sliding the bread onto the stone for the last bit of time...
If the dough/pan is particularly oily, you might take that into consideration when setting the bread on the stone. Maybe use parchment. At least the first time. Maybe get an idea of what to expect. Some focaccias are very oily.
Good thoughts about parchment paper. Left it in the 11 x 17 pan, it was too long to fit on the stone but would probably have been okay to hang over once it was baked part way. Everyone in the family liked the sun dried tomato side best. It was more crispy than I thought it would be, will have to experiment with baking times and maybe temperatures. Some of the pictures in Carol Field's book are Kaiser roll size, some split and filled...good thing library loans are for three weeks now!
I didn't write this variation above because it's not really authentic, but this is the most popular one in my family f0r a few months now.
chilli jam focaccia (Note: I cheat and use a shop-bought jar of chilli jam)
Even without the chilli jam, the dough itself is quite good, too. Thank you, Sally! :)
My favorite is excellent olive oil, fleur de sel, and red chile flakes (like what you put on pizza). Salt, spice, fat and bread...what could be better!