If you want the aroma and satisfaction of fresh bread coming out of your oven without a lot of work, focaccia is a good way to go.
Since the temperatures have dipped here in Boston, I’ve been happy to crank up my oven and experiment with different ways of making it. Letting the dough rise on the counter with a damp towel draped over the top is fine, but I’ve been also letting it rise in a warmed-but-not-on oven with a pyrex filled with some water to create a steamy environment and, most recently, on top of a radiator that’s turned down to its lowest setting. It kinda made the perfect pizza dough.
For more tips on dough and bread and how they behave, check out this article on Serious Eats Breadmaking 101 that’s super helpful.
You can certainly top your pizza with just marinara and vegan cheese shreds, ground Field Roast Grain Meat sausages (they’re perfect pulsed in a food processor and browned beforehand) or whatever you want. Just be sure to brush the edges of the dough with plenty of olive oil, and be liberal with salt.
For this pizza, I used up what I had in my kitchen, and the combination of tart apple, crisp red onion, rich vegan cheese, salty oil-cured olives, crunchy+toasted walnuts and fresh thyme with a drizzle of intense balsamic glaze hit the spot. Those crunchy edges get more soft and pillowy towards the center, making the first bite so warm and heavenly and ending with a texture that just makes you want to go back for another slice.
Stay tuned for more warm carby goodness as I experiment more with making and sharing more bread this winter!Print
for the dough
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 2 cups AP flour, plus extra for dusting
- olive oil
for the balsamic glaze
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 cup brown sugar
for the toppings
- some olive oil, for brushing the top and sides of the dough
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- one green apple, mandolined
- 1/2 small red onion, mandolined
- a couple handfuls of vegan cheese shreds (Daiya Mozz or Follow your Heart Parmesan are great choices)
- 10 oil-cured olives, de-pitted and chopped
- a handful of chopped walnuts, toasted for a few minutes in a hot cast iron pan
- one teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
to prepare the dough
- Combine the yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Add warm water, give it a little stir and set aside for 10-15 minutes until foamy.
- Place the flour into a large bowl. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour, scraping all of the yeast mixture out of the small bowl.
- Combine with a strong spatula until all of the flour is absorbed, adding in water one tablespoon at a time if needed. You want it to just hold together without being too sticky.
- Dust your countertop with some of the flour and knead the dough for a minute or two. Form into a ball.
- Oil a clean glass bowl, and place the dough into it. Oil the top and cover the bowl with a damp towel.
- To allow it to rise, either place it on your countertop until doubled in size, 45 minutes to an hour, place into a steamy spot until doubled in size or even on top of your radiator, provided it’s not super hot.
- Deflate the dough on a floured surface. Knead for a minute or two, then shape as desired. Place onto a baking sheet.
for the balsamic glaze
- Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a small simmer over medium heat until it reduces by half, then set aside to cool. It will thicken as its cools.
to top and bake
- Preheat your oven to 425.
- Brush the top of the dough with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt.
- Poke the top all over with your fingertips to make little indents.
- Top evenly with the apples, followed by the red onion, vegan cheese and olives. Brush the exposed edges with a little more olive oil.
- Place into the oven to bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges start to look golden.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the walnuts and thyme, then place into the oven to bake for an additional 2-3 minutes more.
- To serve, drizzle with the desired amount of balsamic glaze, and slice as desired, and serve immediately.
This focaccia is perfect fresh and kind of meh reheated, so it’s best to make when you are sure you can eat the whole thing.