The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

XXII – Pissaladiere “Lighthouse Bakery’” style…-ish.

lumos's picture

XXII – Pissaladiere “Lighthouse Bakery’” style…-ish.

 Pissaladiere is a sort of pizza's distant cousin, originated in Province, Southern France, said to have been brought to the region by Romans.  Not sure if the Romans had a pizzaria back home in those days :p, but it was probably their flat hearth breads Romans used to make that gave the inspirations to the locals.....though I have read one or two articles by patriatic French who claimed it's their pissaladiere that gave the inspiration to the Romans for making pizza. :D

 Anyway.... It is more bready than pizza and is topped with thinly sliced and fried onions (lots of it!!), anchovy and black olives. That’s it. Not much variation, really, but salty anchovy and black olives are wonderful contrast to meltingly sweet, caramelized onions. One of those dishes made of simple ingredients with not much room for improvement because it's so good already. 

I love this so much and have been making this well over 20 years, in spite of my husband’s dislike of anchovy.  A cook's perk = get to make whatver I want! :p   And I've always made it in the classical way.

But when I went to Lighthouse Bakery School  the pissaladiere we had for lunch was the one with a few twists…and very nice ones at it, too.  Some tomatoes were cooked with the onion topping, which is a bit unusual for pissaladiere (though I wouldn’t say ‘never’),  and also added capers along with more classic black olives.  I was a bit dubious about them first, but it turned out to be one of the best pissaladieres I’d ever had.  They used cold-retarded overnight-dough and their professional deck oven could reach the temperature my humble domestic oven couldn’t, so those are the helping factors, too, but the new (to me, anyway) combination of the toppings were rather good as well.

 So last night I made it myself.  Forgot to ask the formula for the dough at Lighthouse, so I improvised with my regular sourdough focaccia dough instead, with a few modifications.  Also I was out of black olives, so I used small Turkish olives with beautiful tint of orange and subtle lemony aroma I’ve been in love recently instead. 




Sourdough Pissaladiere, Inspired by Lighthouse Bakery



   For Dough

      Starter (70% hydration)   70g

      Strong flour   100g

     T65 flour    100g (or 95g Plain flour + 5g WW)

           (or alternatively, 195g AP + 5g WW)

      Salt  4g

      Extra Virgin Olive Oil  1 tbls

      Water   140g (70%)


  For Topping

     500g thinly sliced onions

    1-2 cloves crushed and chopped garlic

    Herbs (thyme, rosemary, bay leaf)

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Olive oil

    1/2 tsp sugar

    1 tbls  tomato puree (optional)

    Anchovy, small olives, salted/brined capers (capers optional)



  1. Mix all the ingredients for the dough and autolyse for 30 minutes.
  2. S & F 3 times in the bowl every 40 minutes or so until medium gluten development.
  3. Put in the fridge and cold retard for overnight – 24 hrs.
  4. Take it out of the fridge and leave for 30 minutes -1 hr at room temperature.
  5. Letter-fold the dough to give extra-strength. (you need it, so that the dough can support the weight of toppings).  Rest for 1 hr.
  6. Give another letter-fold. Rest until fully proofed.
  7. Spread the dough into 20-21cm X 30-31cm rectangular on a well oiled baking parchment.  Make sure the edges are slightly thicker than the rest.
  8. Spread the onion toppings (See below for the recipe)  evenly on top, leaving about 2 cm edges along the sides.
  9. Cover and leave for 1-2 hours until dough increase the volume and the edges get puffed up a little. 
  10. Pre-heat the oven at the highest temperature with a baking stone set at the middle rack. (If you have two baking stones, set another one on the top shelf. The radiant heat it produces will give a wonderful result)
  11. When the dough is ready, and lay the anchovies in cross-cross pattern. Scatter olives and capers on top. 

                     (Note on the toppings : Stone the olives if you’re feeling kind enough, especially if you're making this even though your husband hates anchovy. :p

                       Soak capers in water for a while to remove salt, if you like.

                      And if your anchovy fillets are quite large, you can cut them into two lengthways,  so that the pissaladiere won’t get too salty.  But believe me, you’ll need more anchovy than you’d think.  Many recipes suggest to use a whole tin of anchovy for this amount of dough! )


 (The time for a confession : I caramelized the onions too much!!!  It should be lighter colour, just like this, before you add tomato puree)

 12.  Lower the temperature to 200C and slide the dough on to the hot baking stone. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the dough is browned and the edges of the onions are catching here and there in the heat.

13.   Serve hot, warm or cold. Choice is yours!

It's lovely as a part of a meal with nice salad and soup, etc. But it also makes great canape if cut into small pieces, too. If you're serving this for a big dinner party, you can make this several hours in advance, cut them when it's cooled, and reheat it gently in the oven just before serving.


To Make The Onion Topping

  1. Warm the olive oil in a thick saucepan large enough to take all the onions. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and a little salt and pepper.
  2. Stir for a few minutes until the onions start to soften and become slightly translucent. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, lower the flame and cook gently for 30-40 minutes, stirring 2-3 times to prevent the onions from sticking and burning.
  3. When the onions are meltingly tender, add the tomato puree and sprinkle in the sugar.  Increase the heat to caramelize the onions and boil down the liquid, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning.
  4. Take it off the heat, fish out the herbs and adjust the seasoning. Do not over-salt. (Think of all the salt in anchovy, olives and capers!)



Verdict : In spite of slightly over-caramelized onions, it turned out to be a really yummy pissaladiere.  There many versions of pissaladiere dough, but generally it's something between pizza and focaccia in thickness and how bready it is.  For this one the use of T65 in stead of my regular plain flour,  resulted in less bready and thinner crumb than I'd liked because T65 I have is weaker than my usual plain flour.   It needs  stronger gluten than dough for pizza because it has to support the weight of onions and other toppings.  You can adjust the ratio of strong/plain flour, depending upon the strength of the flours you're using and  to achieve the level of breadyness you'd like, probably up to 3 : 1 = Strong : plain.


Bon Appetit!




Salilah's picture

Another one added to my favourites to try - looks delightful!

lumos's picture

Thanks, Sali!

Haven't met you yet, but judging from our love of the same chef, I have a feeling you'd like this one, too. ;)   Let me know how you liked it when you made one.

btw, you don't have to add rosemary if you don't have.  But thyme is quite important.


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Getting hungry despite just having had a delicious lunch!
You have crossed the border between artisan and artist.


lumos's picture

Thanks, Juergen!

Did you have pissaladiere for lunch at Lighthouse, too, or some other goody?  They actually called it 'pizza' (maybe they assumed some people wouldn't know what 'pissaladiere' was?) but it was this. ;)

ehanner's picture

Just beautiful lumos. I must make this if only for myself. My wife isn't a fan of the anchovy either but I sneak them in my red sauce and Caesar salad. I can make 2 in 1/4 sheet pans, one with the fish and one without.  Great post!


lumos's picture

Thank you, Eric. :) 

Your wife is so lucky to marry so kind person like you. I wouldn't even dream of making two, just for my husband.  You make me feel so guilty!  :p  ....well,  I might make this with tuna fish in stead of tuna next time.  I know it's not authentic but he doesn't mind tuna. ....and it'd be even less authentic but it works great with some salty goat/sheep cheese, like feta, crumbled  on top, too. (without fishy bits like anchovy, mind you....;)

SylviaH's picture

Looks so delicious with the wonderful toppings.  The added anchovy topping is wonderful..I do enjoy them.  The crumb and color of the crust is very nicely done.


lumos's picture

Thank you, Sylvia. 

If you like anchovy, please do try! :)

AnnaInMD's picture

Focaccia/pseudo focaccia having become my new favorite. 

Thanks, lumos !



lumos's picture

Thank you, Anna!

Yeah, this type of flat-ish bread is so easy to make, it's an important part of our regular meal acoompaniment.  If you like anchovy, please try it! :)

AnnaInMD's picture

husband those slim dark toppings are, maybe I tell him these are slivers of green peppers, heh


lumos's picture

LOL!! Yeah, tell him it's salted green pepper, very good for his health. :p

lumos's picture

I think it was something like 300C or more, if my memory serves me right, which doesn't always these days.....:p Anyway, they rose the temperature very high to bake pissaladiere. 

But it was not only the temperature actually, their ovens were lined with ceramic (stone?) on both top and bottom, so not only the floor was really hot when it received the dough but also got wonderful radiant heat from above during baking.  So if you have WFO, I'm sure it'll work very well.

However, traditionally pissaladiere is not baked at such a high temperature like pizzas.  200-210C is actually the most common temperature to be used.  I think it's because the dough is thicker than pizza, so you need to bake longer, and alos it has already caramelized onion as the topping,  too high temperature doesn't really work so well with pissaladiere.   At the Lighthouse, we got to assemble our own pissaladiere, and because nobody'd ever heard of 'pissaladiere' before, except for one professional chef who attended and myself, and the instructor introduced it as 'a type of pizza'  everyone (except for the chef and me) rolled out the dough as thinly as pizza, so high temperature was OK.  But if you want to make it like a real pissaladiere, it'd be safer to limit the temperature to 210-220 C at most, I think....

Look forward to hearing how you like it. :)