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Onion Focaccia

Onion Focaccia
Italians make focaccia with many different flavorings. To make herb focaccia, sprinkle 1 1/2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary, sage, basil, oregano or summer savory over the dough before topping with oil and salt. For olive and sun-dried tomato focaccia, sprinkle 1/2 cup pitted black olives and 1/4 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes over the dough before topping with oil and salt. For cheese focaccia, sprinkle 1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago over the dough after drizzling with oil. Omit the salt.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 cups warm water (105° to 115°F)
  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. table salt
  • 4 to 4 1⁄4 cups bread flour, plus more
     as needed
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the sugar over 1/2 cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 cup water and the remaining sugar, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the table salt and 1 cup of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the flour, reduce the speed to medium-low and beat for 2 minutes. Stir in the onion.

Switch to the dough hook. On low speed, beat in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft, shaggy dough forms that starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on low speed, adding flour 1 Tbs. at a time if the dough sticks, until moist, soft and slightly sticky, about 6 minutes. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.

Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the paper lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough out onto the prepared sheet. With oiled fingers, press and flatten the dough into an oval 1 inch thick. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. It will be at least 2 inches thick.

With your fingertips, make deep indentations 1 inch apart all over the surface of the dough, almost to the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Place a baking stone on the bottom rack of an oven and preheat to 425°F.

Sprinkle the bread lightly with coarse salt. Place the pan on the stone and bake until the bread is lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Check the bottom and, if the bread is pale, bake for a few minutes more. Slide the bread onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares or wedges. Makes 1 large oval focaccia.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Bread, by Beth Hensperger (Simon & Schuster, 2002).