I used a fantastic recipe by Maurizio over at The Perfect Loaf. Because I’m not blessed/burdened with Maurizio’s memories of the focaccia he had as a child by the sea, I wasn’t attached to a particular flavor profile, and I very much wanted something with lots of tasty vegetables. I also wanted to put in some whole grains, which Maurizio does not use in this particular recipe.

I should also mention that, because of lack of foresight, I had less starter than Maurizio’s recipe requires, and nonetheless I got a nice rise in the oven, so I include the range in this post for your viewing pleasure.

WeightIngredientBaker’s Percentage
345gAll-purpose flour70.00%
148gHard white flour30.00%
10gExtra virgin olive oil 2.00%
65-94gSourdough starter (100% hydration)19.00%

Another difference between Maurizio’s recipe and mine is that I caramelized my toppings ahead of time. I simply sautéed finely sliced red onion, garlic, and very thin slices of zucchini, potato, and sweet potato, until they were al-dente-ish. In the oven they finished caramelizing and the whole thing was done to perfection. The herbs–I used rosemary, parsley, cilantro, thin ribbons of kale and the green parts of a leek–I didn’t cook ahead of time, but I did massage them in olive oil.

For the remaining instructions, see Maurizio’s post. If you’re starting off with sourdough, you’ll need the detail and the pictures he has there will be helpful. If you’re already a seasoned sourdough baker, here’s the shorthand: you start by mixing the flour, the water, the salt, and the starter. I waited about 5-10 minutes until I added the oil, to no ill effect. Half an hour later, you start a series of four stretch-and-folds in 30-min intervals. The dough is very wet but you will see it develop gluten after the first s&f. You then place the dough in a well oiled 9×13 rectangular baker (do not skimp on the oil, amigos!) and stretch it every half hour to fill the pan, for two hours. You leave the whole thing alone, covered in a towel, for two hours, and then it becomes puffy and bubbly. Heat up oven to 450F, slather with olive oil, coarse salt, and your toppings, bake for 30-35 minutes, and you’re golden–and so is the focaccia!

(I usually dislike when food bloggers go into lengthy stories about their recipes and cookware, but because my students might be reading this, I’ll tell you just this one: when I came to the U.S., I lived in a lovely rented apartment and had no furniture whatsoever, nor did I have a lot of cookware. Out of habit, as I often do, I invited my twenty seminar students for dinner and a movie, only to realize I had no dishes to serve my food in. I dashed out to the chi-chi cookery store in my neighborhood–no car, no bike, no idea where to go–and bought, among other emergency gear, this rectangular baker, which I’ve since used every time we’ve had guests. When my students arrived, we ate quiche and lots of salads and casseroles sitting on cushions on the floor, and there was much merriment.)

Anyway, back to the focaccia. Wait a few minutes and transfer it to a cooling rack, so the bottom stays crispy, and a few more minutes later you can cut into it.

I had tons of leftover herbs and kale. I put them in the food processor with a bit of raw tahini, garlic, orange juice, and water, and had a nice herby dip to serve with the focaccia.

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