Parmesan & roasted onion sourdough focaccia

homemade, baking, Italian, italianbread, italian bread, focaccia, sourdough, onion, confit, comfort, oil, bread, bakingfanatic, philipfriend, philip friend, homecook, cooking, recipe, tasty, flavour

A gutsy focaccia that really hits the spot, using chunks of Parmesan and the delicous sweetness that comes from roasted onions.

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After reviving my sadly neglected sourdough starter, I felt I could celebrate its resurrection with a focaccia. Now I might veer on being a touch boring with this flavour combination, but the cheese and onion in a bread never fails to excite me!

OK, this is not a focaccia that can be dashed off in moments, but bread should never be rushed. Besides, it takes literally minutes of hands-on time, while the dough does its thing with no sense of urgency.

While I normally go for many stretches and folds with my sourdough loaves , for this focaccia it was merely a matter of mixing the ingredients together, kneading  using the food mixer and letting time play its part. My recipe for sourdough loaves from scratch is here.

However, if you want a non-sourdough version, you can see my main yeasted focaccia recipe, which can be adapted easily to incorporate the Parmesan and onion – or indeed other flavours you like.

Recipe: Parmesan & roasted onion sourdough focaccia

  • 400g strong plain flour
  • 100g active starter (ideally fed the night before so it is bubbly)
  • 10g fine sea salt
  • 300g cold water
  • 100g Parmesan, cut or broken into smallish cubes
  • 3 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 70ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle over
  • a teaspoon or so of coarse sea salt or sea salt flakes

You will also need a large baking tray, lightly oiled, lined with greaseproof (the oil will help the greaseproof stick), with a little oil drizzled over the greaseproof. You can make them is several smaller tins (cake tins are ideal) and go for deeper focaccia.

(1) Slowly roast the onions by mixing in an oven-proof dish with about 50ml of the oil. Give them a stir to get them coated in the oil, cover with foil and place in an oven that has been preheated to about 150C for an hour or so: they are ready when they are softened and some of the onions of become golden in colour. You can take it further to give a deeper golden colour if you prefer. Leave to cool.

(2) Put the flour, starter, water, salt, the Parmesan, the cooled onions along with the oil they were cooking in into the bowl of a food mixer attached with the dough hook. Turn it on to a low speed for a few minutes to form a very soft dough.

(3) Increase the speed to medium and let the mixer knead the dough for about 10 minutes.

(4) Cover the bowl and leave for about 24 hours on the countertop – by which time the dough will be well aerated.

(5) Scoop out the dough into the prepared baking tray, spreading it out with your fingers to the edges, trying not to deflate the dough too much.
Note: I prefer thin focaccia rather than thick, so I usually go for a large tray.

(6) Drizzle over a few tablesoons or so of olive oil, place inside a large plastic bag or bin liner (ensuring the bag doesn’t touch the dough) and leave at room temperature for about 5 hours or until the dough has become puffy. This can take longer if the kitchen is cold.

(7) Use your fingers to make deep indents all over the dough, going right through to the greaseproof. There should already be a little covering of oil but you can splash over more if you prefer.

(8) Sprinkle over a little sea salt and bake at 200C (fan) for about 25-30 minutes. Lift the focaccia (still on its paper) to a wire rack to cool and, if you wish, gently spoon over a little more oil.

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Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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