Perhaps it’s the rosemary or the plethora of other herbs you can add to this divine recipe that makes me say it’s a holiday recipe. Of course, you can make this recipe all year long – but one of my favorite ways of making this is with rosemary and sage. I’ve done countless renditions of these varying the herbs and toppings with the seasons. It’s one of my favorite bread recipes and I hope it will become one of yours too!
Around the holidays I love to serve this with roasted pumpkin on top. First I roast pumpkin and then drizzle brown butter over it. I add to the cooked Focaccia with rosemary and sage and serve warm as an appetizer. The pumpkin adds a fresh seasonal twist and a great texture combination with the Foccacia.
One of my favorite meals to add this to is my bolognese. Especially on a chilly night, fresh focaccia with bolognese will warm up even the coldest day! You can also freeze this the day you bake it and save it for another time. Since it takes a bit of planning it’s nice to have some on hand. Simply defrost in the fridge overnight or pop right in a 300 F oven to heat for 15-20 minutes before serving. You will wow any guests when they find out you made it yourself!
I like to use my food processor with a dough blade for this recipe, but it works well in a stand mixer too. Make sure that your food processor can handle up to 3/12-4 cups of flour for bread mixes. If not, use the stand mixer. This is a wetter dough, so make sure to keep an eye on it while processing.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
The overnight starter may sound like a lot of work – but I promise it’s quick to make, and it’s so worth the wait! The reason why this Focaccia really shines is the overnight starter. This develops the flavor of the yeast while also increasing the fluffy possibilities of your bread!
Focaccia is a style of bread that should be chewy and airy. The best also have a nice crispy bottom crust and a light golden top. You should be able to press down on a cooked loaf and squish it a bit, without cracking the crust. The larger holes inside the dough (courtesy of your overnight starter) are wonderful for sopping up a sauce or olive oil. Finally, you can top this with many items – sautéed onions, herbs, even types of charcuterie if desired.
1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup Water (room temp)
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup Warm Water
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Toppings as desired:
3 Tbsp Rosemary
2 Tbsp Sage
1 tbsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper (or more as desired)
1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Caramelized Onions
For the Brown Butter Roasted Pumpkin:
1 Pie Pumpkin, peeled, de-seeded, and cut into 1/2” cubes
Olive Oil for coating the squash
Salt and Pepper
1 Stick Butter
To begin, make the overnight starter. It’s quick – I promise!
First, mix the active dry yeast and the water together in a container (I use a 32oz Tupperware container) and then stir in the flour. It should be a paste and not able to form a ball. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water. Place the lid on but don’t screw or fully close. Alternatively, you can cover with a towel.
Let sit for 14-24 hours before moving on, ideally in a room with an ambient temperature between 66-75 degrees. If it’s warmer the yeast will likely be ready sooner.
If you are in a cooking mood and making this with the roasted pumpkin on top, feel free to roast the pumpkin ahead of time. Simply preheat your oven to 400 F, clean and cut the pumpkin, toss in salt, pepper, and olive oil, and bake until soft and browned edges.
The next day, mix the 1 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast with 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, add the 2 cups all-purpose flour, salt, and olive oil to your food processor or stand mixer. Add in the yeast/water mixture. Mix until combined and the dough is smooth and elastic. For a food processor, this will take 1 minute, perhaps 1 minute and 10 seconds. In a stand mixer, this will take a minimum of 5 minutes on speed 2, don’t exceed 10 minutes with this.
Drop a bit of oil on your hands and pick up the dough, scraping the sides to get it all, and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let sit for an hour until puffed. Remove from the bowl and place on a cooking sheet with 2 tablespoons of oil underneath a nice crust. Spread into a rectangular shape, or as desired. For thicker bread don’t spread as much, for thinner and crisper bread, spread more.
Cover and let sit for another hour. Once puffy again, use your fingers to create little dimples in the dough, without puncturing through it. Top with desired toppings and olive oil. Cover lightly with plastic while the oven pre-heats to 425 F.
Cook for 20 minutes, if you like a crisper crust and more golden color keep cooking another 5 minutes.
15 minutes before serving, place a stick of butter in a sauté pan and sauté on medium heat until you notice the butter begin to brown. Cook until the aroma is fragrant and dark brown, (be watchful, it will burn quick!) toss the pumpkin in the butter, and place on the focaccia. Heat the entire thing up, or serve at room temp.