My husband and I were watching an episode of Paul Hollywood’s City Bakes recently. It was based in San Francisco and showed a bakery that made THE MOST mouth watering breads, one of which was a stuffed focaccia.
Sadly there was no recipe shared in the episode, but I thought ‘I can do that’ So I did!
I already have a recipe for ‘The Best Focaccia EVER!’ So I adapted it to suit the ingredients that my husband and I love. We used feta cheese, olives and sun-dried tomatoes – a really wonderful combination, but you really could use whatever you like. I also added some sliced red onion to the dough, which gave a really lovely flavour.
I was worried that it might be a bit wet inside, but it wasn’t. You do have to let it rise a bit longer so that you get enough air in the dough, the stuffing slows down the proving process, but it’s worth the wait. As usual I’ve included some images with the different stages of the bake below, but if you don’t want to read all of the steps then you can just Skip to the printable recipe.
Traditionalists will probably curse as my version is not your traditional focaccia, instead it’s a lot deeper and has a really soft texture – exactly right for stuffing I thought – and it was! Trust me the taste is fantastic.
Stage 1 – Make the dough
- Time = A few minutes to mix then 1 – 2 hours to rise
- Ingredients = 250g of Strong white bread flour, 250g of 00 flour (sometimes called pasta flour), 7g (about 1 tbsp) of fast-action yeast (if using fresh you’ll need 14g), 4 medium sprigs of fresh rosemary stripped and chopped semi-finen (optional, leave this out if you don’t like it, or substitute for dried oregano), half a red onion finely sliced (again this is optional), 1 Tbsp of sea salt (the crystal type), 275 – 285ml of luke warm water, 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
- Pop all of the ingredients for the dough (except the water) into a mixing bowl and give them a little stir.
- Add 275ml of the water and bring the dough together with your hands keeping it in the bowl. If it feels dry then dribble in extra water until there is no flour left and the dough cleans the bowl.
- Tip out onto the work surface and knead for about 10 mins (it’s a sticky dough, so don’t panic, just work through it). At the end of the knead you should be left with a really nice shiny elastic dough.
- Oil the bowl with a small amount of olive oil. Make a ball with the dough and pop it back into the oiled bowl. Cover and leave to rise for 1 -2 hours, just until it’s doubled in size.
- Stand Mixer option – If using a stand mixer add all of the ingredients, including the 275ml of water and mix on slow for a few seconds. Increase the speed to about 4 and mix for about 5 minutes. Dribble in more water at the early stages of mixing if required. then go to step 4 above.
Image 1 = Adding the dry ingredients. Image 2 = Adding the water. Image 3 = The dough mid-knead. Image 4 = The dough after an hours rising (yours might take longer, it will depend upon how warm your kitchen is).
Stage 2 – Knock back, shape into your tin and let it rise again
- Time = 5 minutes to knock back, 10 minutes to rest and half an hour to rise
- Equipment = 1 x rectangular deep sided baking tin (or cake tin) mine measures 20×30
- After the dough has doubled in size, tip it back onto your work surface and knock back by repeatedly pressing the dough in on itself.
- Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
- Lightly oil your tin and press the dough into the tin. Don’t worry if it does not quite reach the edges, it will fill in.
- Cover and leave for about half an hour.
Image 1 = the bread pushed into the tin after it’s rise
Stage 3 – Stuffing your dough
- Time = A couple of minutes to prepare the filling, a couple of minutes to stuff and 1 – 2 hours to rise
- Ingredients = 4 sun-dried tomatoes rehydrated, approx 70g of feta cheese, 15-20 olives (I used black) halved.
- Whilst your dough is rising from stage 2 crumble up your feta, halve the olives, rehydrate your sun-dried tomatoes and then chop them to the size you like.
- When the half hour is up from stage 2, uncover the dough and press with your fingers to make indents all over the dough.
- On one half of it sprinkle the filling. By this time the dough will be really stretchy and feel like silk.
- Fold the other half over the filling and then re-stretch the dough to fill the tin. It shouldn’t resist and should stretch easily.
- Re-cover the dough and leave to rise for 1-2 hours – basically until it reaches the top of your tin.
Image 1 = Pressing the dough down. Image 2 = Adding the olives. Image 3 = Adding the sun-dried tomatoes. Image 4 = Adding the feta. Image 5 = Folding over. Image 6 = Folding over some more. Image 7 = Pressing into the tin. Image 8 = Pressing into the tin some more.
Stage 4 – Top and bake
- Time = 5 minutes to top, 40 – 45 minutes to bake
- Ingredients = A strip of rosemary, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil (1-2 tbsp)
- Oven temperature = 200 celcius for a fan oven, 220 for conventional ovens
- When your dough is almost risen from stage 3, pre – heat your oven to 200 (fan) or 220 (conventional).
- Once the dough has risen to the top of the tin, sprinkle the rosemary all over the dough, drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle on the salt.
- Place in the pre-heated oven (in the centre) and bake for about 40-45 minutes until risen and golden. Check after 30 minutes to ensure the top isn’t browning too quickly, if it is then cover lightly with lose foil.
- At the end of the bake remove from the oven and the tin and cool on a wire rack.
- Let cool slightly the devour!
Image 1 = Topping the dough before baking. Image 2 = The baked bread. Image 3 = The bread cut in half so you can see all of the lovely filling.
We ate some of this with pasta, it was really lovely. On the second day we toasted it on a griddle pan and added some grilled chicken to make a fancy chicken sandwich – it was totally divine!
I hope you enjoy making and eating this wonderful focaccia. Below is the printable recipe.
For other recipes on my site please follow this link.
Scrumptious stuffed focaccia
Super yummy - a real treat. It's best served warm.
– For the dough