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Mar 16, 2010 06:45 AM

Focaccia help

have a few questions with focaccia.

1. has anyone tried the Reinhart recipe that requires a sponge? Is it drastically different then making Focaccia day before?

2. i want to make sandwiches from this bread but would like individual pans for this bread so i get the crust all around. Know of any pans that work well for this application?

3. When placing the focaccia in my sheet pan i have problems making a flat even focaccia.. it usually is flatter and puffier in some parts etc.

Am i not letting it rest properly?

4. toppings burning- I found my toppings tend to burn. I covered them in oil though. My tapenade mix burnt as did my sun dried tomatoe... was there not enough oil on them?

Should i limit the toppings to just some herb oil?

Thanks in advance

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  1. 1) I've made the Reinhart recipe where you mix up the dough a day in advance and bake the next day. It's very good. I still want to do his with a starter to see if it's better.

    2) I've made focaccia in cake pans w/ taller sides (2") and that works well. That would work for your purposes, as long as you have enough pans.

    3) I keep the dough in the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature before shaping. If it's not flattening, let it rest another 20 minutes and try again.

    4) If I'm making focaccia pizza, I bake it half way, take it out and put the toppings on and then finish baking. If I'm doing simple toppings like herb oil/cheese, I add it in the beginning.

    You're doing a lot of bread baking!

    8 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      thank you.

      trying to practice and get better at bread making. which means understanding yeast and all that business.

      i have 2 of his books. so im hoping to keep them under my pillow at night and pray for good fortune.

      thank you for your help.!

      1. re: lestblight

        I'm finding it's a never ending learning process, a few years later. There is so much information out there, for an item that only requires four ingredients.

        1. re: chowser

          there is something comforting in that and extremely terrifying as well !

          i do look forward to that journey though.

          1. re: lestblight

            So funny-- the bread baker's apprentice is lying next to my pillow right now. I am having some trouble. I don't have a mixer, and am having trouble kneading dryer dough by hand. Also I put hi-maize in everything so the nutritional value is better, but it doesn't seem to act exactly like flour, even with gluten added. And I really want to be able to use a starter, but I can't bring myself to feed it and throw some away when I'm not baking, so I think my starter's kind of weak-- and all those problems seem to compound-- I don't have a decent gluten matrix because I can't knead easily, and there's not an abundance of CO2 because of the weak starter. I think I'm going to try just the wetter dough breads right now.

            Bread is really so exciting to make, though :-)

            1. re: jvanderh

              so i think im going to make some focaccia for sandwiches,,, problem is i need to make it for like 7 people. which means 2 batches dealing with like 51/2 cups flour each.

              i dont have room in fridge and i wanna do it right.

              i have a basement thats very cool

              can i leave it here? whats the cutoff temperature?

              oh and heres the best part. it would be here for 2/3 days.

              is this doable? or do i need to invest in a mini fridge?


              1. re: lestblight

                There is no cut off temperature as much as the colder it is, the slower the yeast action will be. I think you'd want it as cold as the refrigerator, at least, if you're letting it rest that long. You could also cut the yeast some. Can you make the dough and put it in ziplock bags? That doesn't take up much room in the refrigerator. I'd keep it in the two batches that you're making in the refrigerator. Take it out and divide, let it rest and then bake.

                1. re: chowser

                  good idea. im going to break it up in zip bags . thanks.

                  quick question- to make my focaccia im going to plate it and let it rise for a bit.. what size do you suggest it be height wise for a sandwich? an inch? i figure it will grow a lil less then a half inch?


                  1. re: lestblight

                    I think it depends on what you like. I love my starches and like my sandwiches with more bread so I'd go thicker. With fresh focaccia, I don't think you can go wrong! Oh, if you use the ziplock bag, make sure it's not airtight because yeast need oxygen to breathe.

    2. 1. Focaccia with a sponge is the best way to ensure chewy, moist, flavourful bread.
      2. you could use any small trays, with a cornmeal base underneath
      3. It should be rough ad uneven : it's rustic!
      4. Try cutting your topping in bigger chunks. Or, rehydrate your sun dried tomatoes in warm water before butting them up. The added moisture should prevent burning.