Cheese and vegetable stuffed focaccia

Bake up a delicious sandwich-style loaf!

I am a huge fan of focaccia and make it often (using this terrific recipe). I’ve even experimented with fruit-studded versions, which make a delightful breakfast treat. Recently, after making a sandwich using focaccia, I decided to try baking the same fillings right inside the loaf. This new ‘stuffed’ version was a big success. I’m looking forward to playing around with other fillings – prosciutto and provolone with basil sounds like a pretty good combination to me. Note that you can prepare the dough up to 24 hours in advance and keep it covered in the fridge. Take it out to warm up to room temperature about 90 minutes before assembling the loaf and letting it rise a second time before baking.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 mL) warm water
  • 2 teaspoons (7 g) dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) sugar
  • 2 2/3 cups (333 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 2 teaspoons (3.75 g) dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 3 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup (15 g) chopped raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) slivered roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 cup (112 g) grated mozzarella
  • coarse salt
  • olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for dipping

Method

  • In mixing bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one), stir together water, yeast and sugar; let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes). If the yeast does not foam, discard and start again with fresh yeast. Note that yeast does go stale so it is best stored in the refrigerator.
  • Add flour, oregano, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Blend until dough comes together in a ball, adding a little extra water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed, to make a smooth dough. If dough is sticking to bowl, add a little more flour, a teaspoon at a time.
  • Remove dough and knead for a minute or two on a floured surface, then put in oiled bowl to rise in a warm place till doubled (about 45 minutes).
  • Line a baking dish (6 x 7 or 8 x 8 inches / 15 x 17.5 or 20 x 20 cm) with parchment paper.
  • Remove dough from bowl and cut into two equal-sized pieces. Gently flatten one piece so it is the same size as your baking dish and place it in the bottom, using your fingertips to stretch the dough to fill the bottom of the pan completely.
  • Scatter feta over dough, leaving a half-inch border free around the edges. Top with spinach, red pepper and mozzarella, keeping border free of fillings.
  • Shape the other piece of dough into the size of your pan and lay over top of the fillings. With your fingertips, press the dough together all the way around the edges of the pan to seal the loaf. Top with a piece of plastic wrap that has been drizzled lightly with olive oil so it won’t stick to the dough. Let rise 40 minutes.
  • When second rise is nearly completed, preheat oven to 400F.
  • Use your fingertips to make 1/4 inch (.5 cm) indentations all over the top of the dough, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over top and use a pastry brush to spread it evenly. Sprinkle the top of the loaf with a little coarse salt.
  • Bake the focaccia for 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with balsamic and olive oil for dipping, if desired.

Makes 1 loaf (serves 4 – 6 people).

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

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