Friday, March 16, 2012

Stuffed Focaccia Bread

I've had this recipe for Stuffed focaccia bread with sausage and onions from the Italian Dish sitting around waiting to be made for the better part of a year.  Why on earth did I wait so long to make this mouthwatering meal?

Simple.  It takes a long time to make.  It's not hard work or anything. Just a lot of hurry up and wait.  Make the sponge. Wait. Make the dough.  Wait.  Cook the sausage. Wait. Assemble. Wait. Bake. Wait. Wait. WAIT!  It's a perfect meal for one of those weekends where you are a bum in your sweatpants all day long.

I replaced the habanero with a roasted red pepper.  If you like your food spicy, why not do both!  I also used regular, not rapid rise yeast.  Frankly, I misread the recipe and thought I needed the regular kind.  (I should really just buy a container of the rapid rise stuff to have on hand.  Cause you know I'm going to misread a recipe again.)

Even though I used the incorrect type of yeast, the stuffed focaccia was still out of this world.  Sure it didn't rise as much as it should have, but it wasn't overly dense either.   I didn't tell my peeps that I used the wrong kind of yeast, and until now, they probably thought that's how the dish was supposed to be.

I mean even Blockette liked it, red peppers and all.  Sure she was all "what are those red things in there?"  But Mrblocko and I told her to "just eat it and she would like it."  Wonder of all wonders, after a few bites she said, "Mom! This is really good!"  Always the tone of surprise!  (Quick, what movie is that from?)

We ate the leftovers the other day, and they were just as rockin' as the first time around.  I popped them in a 375F oven for 15 min and we were good to go.

It takes all day Stuffed Focaccia but it's worth it from The Italian Dish
1/2 cup warm water (not hot)
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (fast acting, rapid rise, etc.)
3/4 cup all purpose unbleached flour

1 teaspoon instant yeast (fast acting, rapid rise, etc.)
1 cup water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Sponge, above
3.25 cups unbleached all purpose flour (approximately)
2 teaspoons sea salt

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound of sausage
1 very large onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 habanero pepper (or red pepper), minced
freshly ground pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt
black pepper, chili flakes, oregano, or any kind of spices you like (I used Italian seasoning)

To make sponge: Sprinkle yeast over warm water in mixer bowl.  stir in flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled and bubbly, about 45 min.

To make dough: Add yeast, water and oil to sponge in mixer bowl. With dough hook running, add just under 3c flour and salt. mix thoroughly. The dough should come together in a ball in the mixer bowl and then start sticking to sides of bowl. When this happens, add flour by the spoonful and mix again. Each time if you see the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, keep adding flour until the dough isn't real sticky anymore, but not dry. Stop mixer and touch dough with your finger. When it is smooth and elastic and not too sticky, it's done. Place dough in a clean bowl that you have drizzled with a little olive oil. Roll dough to coat in oil, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1.25 hrs.

Meanwhile, make stuffing.  In lg skillet, cook sausage. Remove from pan and drain fat, but don't wipe out pan. Add 2 T oil, onions,hot pepper, and lots of freshly ground pepper.  Cook over med-low for 10 min, til onions are nicely wilted.  Add garlic and cook for 2 min.  Return sausage to pan. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly.  Add parsley and cheese and toss together. Let  stuffing stay at room temp until dough is ready - you don't want to refrigerate the stuffing and let it get cold. 

Second Rise: Punch dough down. Divide in half.  Lightly oil (or spray with nonstick spray) a 9-inch springform pan. Stretch half dough into a disc and place in bottom of pan.  Spoon stuffing mix into pan.  Stretch other piece of dough into a disc and place on top of stuffing.  Place a clean towel over the bread and let rise in a warm place 30 min.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F.

Just before baking, dimple dough with fingers, leaving indentations. Drizzle oil over dough, brush lightly to coat, and sprinkle with salt.  Add any other topping spices that you like.  Bake 30 - 35 min til top is deep golden brown.  To serve, slice into wedges and eat like a sandwich. (We dip ours in spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese.)

This bread is great the next day.  Simply place on a pan in the oven at 375 and bake  15 min, or until warmed through.


  1. Yum! I've been wanting to try focaccia for ages now and this recipe looks brilliant.

  2. Sounds good - it is an all day affair!


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