Making the Perfect Focaccia Pizza

I recently co-lead a focaccia pizza cooking class at Weaver’s Orchard alongside Brandon Hertzler and with much direction from our good friend, Brian Licitra. I’ve been “apprenticing” with Brian for the past year or so, learning his dough recipes for thin crust pizza dough and thick-crust focaccia dough. Both recipes are unique, filling and impressive recipes to make for guests. The focaccia especially is a great crowd-pleaser, because one recipe can easily stuff 4-5 people. We usually make two crusts for a group that size and then want to curl up and take a nap afterward…but it’s worth it.

tomato-focaccia

Brian stresses that this is going to be a very wet dough – and not to be alarmed by that. The first stage – the “poolish” is extremely wet and goopy. The second stage is also much wetter than any dough you are used to, but that’s the beauty of the focaccia dough. Brian notes that the dough recipe is based on the amount of grams of the flour, so out of everything, that’s the one thing you’d never change or add more of. Just sit back and let yourself be surprised by this amazing Italian thick crust dough!

focaccia24

Making the Perfect Focaccia Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Dough
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • Step 1: Overnight Poolish:
  • 250 grams (1⅔ cups) flour
  • 250 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) water at 80 degrees
  • .8 grams (1/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • Step 2: Final Dough:
  • 250 grams (1⅔ cups) flour
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) very warm water (around 105 degrees)
  • 10 grams (1 ½ heaping teaspoons) salt
  • Toppings:
  • Tomato Parmesan Focaccia
  • 7-9 plum tomatoes
  • A very generous amount of salt
  • A generous amount of oregano and black pepper
  • 1 block Parmesan cheese
  • Peach, Ricotta & Balsamic Focaccia
  • 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
  • 6-8 ripe peaches
  • Balsamic vinegar glaze
  • Several handfuls basil leaves
Instructions
  1. MAKING THE POOLISH:
  2. The night before you plan to bake the focaccia, make your “poolish.” In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, yeast and water. It will be a very wet mixture. Cover it with plastic wrap or a tea towel and set it aside at room temperature overnight.
  3. MAKING THE DOUGH:
  4. The following morning (12-14 hours later), check your poolish mixture. It should be very bubbly and have bubbles that come to the surface and pop every few seconds.
  5. Next, mix together the flour and salt. Measure out the very warm (105-degree) water.
  6. Pour the water around the edge of the poolish to loosen the mixture from the side of the bowl. Add the flour and salt mixture and combine by hand until the mixture resembles dough. Note that it will not be the same consistency as traditional pizza dough – it will be much more wet.
  7. Cover the mixture and leave it out at room temperature for 6-8 hours more. Either allow the dough to proof in a mixing bowl, or directly on your oiled baking pan
  8. BAKING THE FOCACCIA: Preheat oven to 500 degrees
  9. Choose a cookie sheet with at least a ½ inch rim. Generously coat the cookie sheets with olive oil. Stretch the dough evenly onto the cookie sheet. See specific instructions for your toppings
  10. For Tomato Focaccia:
  11. Brush or drizzle the top of your focaccia lightly with olive oil.
  12. Add tomatoes, salt (you’ll want more than you think you’ll need), pepper and oregano.
  13. Bake approximately 10 minutes, then add cheese and bake 5-10 minutes more until the dough is cooked through and toppings are golden brown. Garnish with fresh herbs, slice and enjoy!
  14. For Peach Focaccia:
  15. Bake crust plain for 5 minutes.
  16. Remove from oven, spread ricotta cheese on it, top with peaches (tightly packed onto dough) and then return to oven for 10-15 minutes longer.
  17. Once it’s nearly ready, drizzle with balsamic glaze and cover with basil. Return to oven for one minute longer to allow basil to wilt.