Wood Fired Focaccia With Olives and Tomatoes
Focaccia is a flat bread from Italy that is soft and chewy from liberal amounts of olive oil. Focaccia dough is very similar to pizza dough, so you can use your usual dough here if you like. The toppings can be swapped for other herbs and vegetables, just remember the sea salt flakes.
In the wood fired oven, you can bake this in a cast iron skillet which works well with its tall sides and nice even heat distribution from the thick metal. Build the fire up to a high temperature before letting the oven cool for baking, or use up the left over heat from a pizza session.
500g/18oz Bread Flour
2 tsp Salt
1 Packet of yeast (7g)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt flakes
Extra virgin olive oil
- Add the flour, water, salt, yeast and oil together in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough forms one shaggy piece.
- Transfer to a lightly floured worktop and knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Try not to add too much flour otherwise the dough will be tough.
- Now turn your mixing bowl upside down and cover the dough ball for an hour until it has doubled in size.
- Oil a baking sheet or skillet and place the dough in the center with some extra oil on top. Now pinch two corners, stretch the dough away from you then fold it into the middle. Take the opposite corners and do the same. If you like a nice airy bread with holes in then you can repeat this stretch and fold process every 30 minutes for 2 hours. Otherwise move on to the next step for a slightly denser bread – still delicious.
- Now light your wood fired oven as normal. The aim is to get the oven hot but then let it cool down to around 450F/230C for bread baking.
- Lightly stretch the dough to the corners one last time so it fills the whole pan. Using your finger tips, make dimples in the dough but try not to push all the air out.
- Cut tomatoes and olives in half, and dry on paper towels. Oil these along with the rosemary then push into the holes made in the dough. Now cover with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 45 minutes to allow it to puff back up in size.
- Once your oven has cooled to around 450F/230C then it is ready to bake. If you aren’t cooking anything else then remove the embers to give an even heat around the oven. If you choose to keep the fire or embers in the oven then this is a direct heat source so you will need to turn the bread to avoid one overly cooked side.
- Sprinkle with sea salt just before entering the oven. Close the door and bake for around 20 minutes, turning if needed.
- Once golden on top, remove and feed with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Rest the dough overnight in the fridge for better flavor from longer fermentation.
- To get a lighter crumb with large holes you need a wetter dough which has had more stretches and folds with longer rests in the baking dish for air pocket to develop.
- Try other toppings such as rosemary and sea salt, red onion and blue cheese, or figs.
For more bread recipes in your wood fired oven, check out my post on 15 breads to cook in your pizza oven.