Onion Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread similar in style and texture to pizza, topped with oodles of caramelized onions and herbs.
I simply love this sweet, caramelized onions focaccia bread and I am sure that it will make your heart sing too! This focaccia recipe is plush and chewy at once, fragrant with herbs, and almost hearty enough to center a whole meal around thanks to the pile of caramelized onions on top. I like to think of it as a slightly lighter pizza with onion topping and without a lot of fuss. There is definitely something meditative, ‘dimpling’ the onion focaccia bread especially when it is topped with onions.
Focaccia is meant to be simple, but recipes always make it sound much more elaborate than it really is. I have done lots of research on perfect focaccia over the years and I find there are 3 key things while making the focaccia.
The dough is quite similar to pizza dough and needs moist dough with ideally a minimum of 70% hydration. Another crucial step is to be extremely generous with the olive oil. Pretty much every step of focaccia making involves olive oil. Olive oil should be in the dough, used to grease the baking sheet, and the bread is brined before it goes in the oven. Lastly one needs to be uber patient and let it rest a long time (8-24 hours after the initial kneading) so the flavour can develop. This crucial step will allow for adequate fermentation, which in turn will guarantee superior (non-yeasty) flavour.
The proofing for 8-24 hours although helps in developing the flavours, sometimes I just fancy a home baked focaccia and do not have so much time in hand and hence try and proof as long as I can.
My onion focaccia is a fuss free recipe of a perfectly soft, fluffy and satisfyingly chewy focaccia with sweet onions, sprinkled with lots of dried herbs.
1 cup (225ml) lukewarm water
1 teaspoon dried yeast
2½ cups plain flour (or more as needed to form the dough)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
For The Onion Topping
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 finely sliced onions
Salt to taste
For Finishing the Focaccia
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried herbs
In a bowl mix the water, yeast and honey. Allow the mixture to sit for few minutes until frothy. Add the oil.
Add one cup of the flour and mix to make a smooth paste. Then add the salt and the rest of the flour. Continue mixing until you have an elastic and just slightly sticky ball of dough. You may need to add in a little bit more flour, but the key is to remember that the dough should be slightly sticky and hydrated.
Grease a large bowl and gently scrape the dough into it. Turn the dough to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl and a let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled for 1-2 hours.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment and drizzle a good pour of olive oil on a parchment. Then scoop the dough onto the parchment. Flatten the dough out into a roughly rectangular shape with your hands, until it thinly and evenly covers the entire surface of the baking tray.
Cover the dough again and let it rest in a warm place for 1-2 hours to rise (or overnight in the fridge if you have the time and patience).
Heat oil in a pan and add the onions and salt. Sauté and cook the onions for 6-7 minutes on medium heat till they soften slightly. Keep aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 200C/ 180C Fan/Gas 6.
Mix the oil and water in a cup. Spread the room temperature onion topping on the flattened dough and then pour the oil/water mixture all over the onions and dough. Spread it over the surface of the dough with the palms of your hands if needed. Now pressing the tips of your fingers, create little dimples all over the surface of the dough (it does not matter if some onions go in the holes). Sprinkle the dough with the dried herbs.
Bake the onion focaccia in the pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes, until it is golden brown on top.
Let the onion focaccia cool for couple of minutes before serving.
Serve warm or at room temperature.