Two Pan Focaccia Loaves


Focaccia is said to date back to Ancient Rome, where the flattish dough was baked in the hearth until quite crispy. The original focaccia of modern times is believed to be Focaccia alla Genovese, from the Ligurian town of Genova where it is known locally as fugassa. Coated in olive oil and sprinkled with coarse sea salt, this classic is traditionally shaped into a flat rectangle unlike other focaccias.
Bakeries often sell focaccia topped with all sorts of toppings: green olives and thyme; fresh rosemary and onion; even thinly sliced potato. These days it’s really popular to top focaccia in a decorative way, using vegetables, herbs, even fruit—some focaccia can be as beautiful as a museum painting!


1 focaccia

Preparation Time

50 minutes


4 hours


400 g Italian type 00 flour
100 g Manitoba flour
15 g fresh brewer’s yeast
270 g warm water
15 g salt
10 g sugar
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
water, olive oil and salt to brush


To make pan focaccia (focaccia bread) put the two flours and the fresh yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Dissolve the salt in water, start the mixer at the lowest setting using the dough hook and drizzle the water slowly until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and is compact, smooth, firm, semi-glossy and elastic. Continue to mix while you add the sugar and little by little drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil. Turn out the dough onto a oiled work surface and work with your hands to form a ball, cover with an upturned bowl and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes.

Then, fold the dough to make it smooth and elastic: lightly squash the dough, then take the top and bottom edges and bring them to the centre, and then do the same with the left and right edges, so that they overlap. Turn the dough keeping the folds towards the bottom and leave to rest for another 15-20 minutes, covered with the upturned bowl. Then repeat the folds and form a ball, place the dough ball in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film, and leave to rise for at least two hours. When the dough is ready, turn it out on a lightly oiled work surface, press it lightly without deflating it completely and roll it quite tightly to form a baguette loaf shape; bring the edges to the centre ad turn keeping the folds underneath.  

Transfer the loaf to a baking sheet lined with baking paper, brush the surface with extra virgin olive oil and leave to rise for an hour in a turned-off oven.

When the dough has risen, press with your fingers to make dents or simples on the surface, wait another half an hour, then bake in a pre-heated conventional oven at 200°C for about 30 minutes placing a bowl with water at the bottom of the oven.

Once the pan focaccia is golden and baked, remove from the oven, leave to cool on a rack and enjoy!


Some different condiments proposed as toppings for the pinsa:

  • Green Olive and Thyme Focaccia – Top the dimpled and olive oil brushed dough on the baking sheet with 15-20 stoned, green olives, cut into halves, pressing them in the dough well, and sprinkle with several generous pinches of thyme leaves (preferably fresh).

  • Rosemary and Onion Focaccia – Top the dimpled and olive oil brushed dough on the baking sheet with 1-2 very thinly sliced onions, and the leaves of several sprigs of rosemary, along with a sprinkling of coarse salt.

  • Potato Focaccia – Top the dimpled and olive oil brushed dough on the baking sheet with very thinly sliced, peeled, potatoes, then sprinkle with coarse salt. Rosemary, thyme or marjoram, could be sprinkled on top as well.

  • Tomato and Black Olive Focaccia – Top the dimpled and olive oil brushed dough in the baking sheet with very thinly sliced tomatoes—probably about two, though it depends on the size—and a handful of oil-cured black olives, stones removed. Drizzle with more olive oil, then bake.

  • Focaccia with Vegetables – To look (and taste) gorgeous: assemble a selection of vegetables, cut thinly, or in strips, shreds, or thin slices; a variety of sizes and shapes is the best: courgettes, red, yellow and/or green peppers, tomatoes, onion (red or white), broccoli, basil, carrots, pumpkin, mushrooms. Capers, olives, ricotta, even anchovies can be added as well

    Lay out the vegetables on a platter or plate, and arrange the focaccia dough on an oiled baking sheet, pressing it in, dimpling its surface with your fingers, and then start creating your masterpiece: arrange the vegetables to resemble a painting, pretty much covering the whole surface, with a small amount of dough in between the arranged vegetables. Think of horns of plenty, or a Renaissance still life painting; or just let your mind wander as you create.  When your arrangement is complete, sprinkle with a little salt and olive oil, and bake according to the directions in the master recipe.