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Welcome to My Hungry Boys where I share what I love to cook for my husband and our four sons.   I've made a lot of food over the years and I've learned a lot in the process. 

Focaccia Bread

Focaccia Bread

Focaccia bread is an easy and forgiving yeast dough.  If you feel uncomfortable working with yeast, this is a great place to start because the presence of olive oil 1) makes the dough a bit easier to work with (less sticky), and 2) prevents it from drying out if baked too long.  I love serving focaccia bread when I have company; it's neither time-consuming nor demanding, and I've found that guests always appreciate homemade bread.  It's also the bread I use if I'm serving "fancified" sandwiches for dinner (i.e. salmon or eggplant sandwiches).

The originator of this recipe is Anne Burrell, from back when she hosted Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.  (I love everything about her: her recipes, her upbeat personality, and even her sparkly star tattoos.)  I adapted Ms. Burrell’s original recipe to a tangzhong version, I changed some quantities and decreased the size of the pan to 9" x 13" because I prefer a thicker bread.  I have made this bread so many times often trying different techniques and I believe it works best if you knead it by hand rather than using a Kitchenaid mixer fitted with a dough hook. It is a fairly short knead and quite enjoyable. Scroll down for the quantities of a smaller serving (9" x 9" square pan).

I prefer instant yeast, but I have also included an alternative recipe (scroll down) if you prefer using using active dry yeast. See note here on instant yeast versus active dry yeast.

Tangzhong Focaccia Bread (Made with Instant Yeast)

Scroll down for recipe made with Active Dry Yeast

Makes a 9'“x13” pan

Adapted from a recipe by Anne Burrell

  • 4⅔ cups all-purpose flour - 1 pound 5 ounces - divided - see tip for accurately measuring flour

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup olive oil plus more for oiling pan

  • 1½ cups cool water - 12 ounces (possibly an additional 1-2 tablespoon of water if needed)

Make the tangzhong: Make the tangzhong: In a small saucepan whisk together 1.4 ounces of the flour (⅓ cup) and 7 ounces of water. When completely combined, heat over low-medium heat while whisking until it thickens into a gelatinous thick mixture and begins to bubble. Stir continuously as you want a smooth mixture without lumps.

Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 5 ounces water whisking until smooth and then whisk in ½ cup olive oil.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining flour (1 pound 3.6 ounces), instant yeast, sugar, and salt.  With a rubber spatula, stir in the tangzhong olive oil mixture (if it has cooled enough to not kill the yeast).  If the dough is too dry to knead add up to 2 tablespoons water ½ tablespoon at a time until you have a working consistency. Scrape the dough onto the counter and begin kneading the dough by stretching and folding it. It will begin as a tacky dough that sticks to the counter but as you knead it, it will relax and become easy to work with.   Knead for ~8 minutes.  Let the dough rise in an oiled, covered bowl until its size doubles (~1-2 hours).  Amply coat the bottom and sides of a 9" x 13" pan with olive oil (~2 tablespoons).  Lift the risen dough, stretching it to the approximate size of the pan.  Flip the dough over so both sides are oiled.  Poke through the dough using your fingers in order to make a craggy surface.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1-2 hours until its size doubles. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Remove the plastic wrap, and if desired sprinkle the top of dough with coarse sea salt, chopped rosemary, caramelized onions, or any other topping of your choice.  (Keep in mind: if using salt, any leftover bread will weep where the salt is sprinkled.)  Bake bread for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature registers ~ 185°-190°.  Flip the bread onto a cutting board and then turn back over to serve.

Tangzhong Focaccia Bread (Smaller Version)

(Made with Instant Yeast)

Scroll down for recipe made with Active Dry Yeast

Makes a 9”x9” pan

Adapted from a recipe by Anne Burrell

  • 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour - 14 ounces - divided - see tip for accurately measuring flour

  • 1 ⅓ teaspoons instant yeast

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • ⅓ cup olive oil plus more for oiling pan

  • 1 cup cool water - 8 ounces (possibly an additional tablespoon of water if needed)

Make the tangzhong: In a small saucepan whisk together ¼ cup (1 ounce) of the flour and ½ cups + 2 tablespoons of water (5 ounces). When completely combined, heat over low-medium heat while whisking until it thickens into a gelatinous thick mixture and begins to bubble. Stir continuously as you want a smooth mixture without lumps.

Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 3 ounces water whisking until completely combined and then whisk in ⅓ cup olive oil.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining flour (13 ounces), instant yeast, sugar, and salt.  With a rubber spatula, stir in the tangzhong olive oil mixture (if it has cooled enough to not kill the yeast).  If the dough is too dry to knead add up to 1 tablespoon water to get a working consistency. Scrape the dough onto the counter and begin kneading the dough by stretching and folding it. It will begin as a tacky dough that sticks to the counter but as you knead it, it will relax and become easy to work with.   Knead for ~8 minutes.  Let the dough rise in an oiled, covered bowl until its size doubles (~1-2 hours).  Amply coat the bottom and sides of a 9" x 9" pan with olive oil (~1⅓ tablespoons).  Lift the risen dough, stretching it to the approximate size of the pan.  Flip the dough over so both sides are oiled.  Poke through the dough using your fingers in order to make a craggy surface.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1-2 hours until its size doubles. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Remove the plastic wrap, and if desired sprinkle the top of dough with coarse sea salt, chopped rosemary, caramelized onions, or any other topping of your choice.  (Keep in mind: if using salt, any leftover bread will weep where the salt is sprinkled.)  Bake bread for ~ 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature registers ~ 185°-190°.  Flip the bread onto a cutting board and then turn back over to serve.

Tangzhong Focaccia Bread (Made with Active Dry Yeast)

Makes a 9'“x13” pan

Adapted from a recipe by Anne Burrell

  • 4⅔ cups all-purpose flour - 1 pound 5 ounces - divided - see tip for accurately measuring flour

  • 1 package active dry yeast

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup olive oil plus more for oiling pan

  • 1½ cups cool water - 12 ounces (possibly an additional 1-2 tablespoons of water if needed)

Make the tangzhong: In a small saucepan whisk together 1.4 ounces of the flour (⅓ cup) and 7 ounces of water. When completely combined, heat over low-medium heat while whisking until it thickens into a gelatinous thick mixture and begins to bubble. Stir continuously as you want a smooth mixture without lumps.

Remove from heat and whisk in ½ cup olive oil.

In a small pan, heat the remaining 5 ounces water to ~100°F-110°F (do not exceed 110°F). Pour into a small container and stir in 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Sprinkle and stir in the package of the active dry yeast. Allow 5-10 minutes for it to get frothy.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining flour (1 pound 3.6 ounces), the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar, and salt.  With a rubber spatula, stir in the tangzhong olive oil mixture (if it has cooled enough to not kill the yeast) and the frothy yeast mixture.  If the dough is too dry to knead add up to 2 tablespoons water a ½ tablespoon at a time until you have a working consistency. Scrape the dough onto the counter and begin kneading the dough by stretching and folding it. It will begin as a tacky dough that sticks to the counter but as you knead it, it will relax and become easy to work with.   Knead for ~8 minutes.  Let the dough rise in an oiled, covered bowl until its size doubles (~1-2 hours).  Amply coat the bottom and sides of a 9" x 13" pan with olive oil (~2 tablespoons).  Lift the risen dough, stretching it to the approximate size of the pan.  Flip the dough over so both sides are oiled.  Poke through the dough using your fingers in order to make a craggy surface.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1-2 hours until its size doubles. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Remove the plastic wrap, and if desired sprinkle the top of dough with coarse sea salt, chopped rosemary, caramelized onions, or any other topping of your choice.  (Keep in mind: if using salt, any leftover bread will weep where the salt is sprinkled.)  Bake bread for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature registers ~ 185°-190°.  Flip the bread onto a cutting board and then turn back over to serve.

Tangzhong Focaccia Bread (Smaller Version)

(Made with Active Dry Yeast)

Makes a 9”x9” pan

Adapted from a recipe by Anne Burrell

  • 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour - 14 ounces - divided - see tip for accurately measuring flour

  • 1 ⅔ teaspoons active dry yeast

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • ⅓ cup olive oil plus more for oiling pan

  • 1 cup cool water - 8 ounces (possibly an additional tablespoon of water if needed)

Make the tangzhong: In a small saucepan whisk together ¼ cup (1 ounce) of the flour and ½ cups + 2 tablespoons of water (5 ounces). When completely combined, heat over low-medium heat while whisking until it thickens into a gelatinous thick mixture and begins to bubble. Stir continuously as you want a smooth mixture without lumps.

Remove from heat and whisk in ⅓ cup olive oil.

In a small pan, heat the remaining 3 ounces water to ~100°F-110°F (do not exceed 110°F). Pour into a small container and stir in 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Sprinkle and stir in the 1 ⅔ teaspoons active dry yeast. Allow 5-10 minutes for it to get frothy.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining flour (13 ounces), remaining teaspoon of sugar, and salt.  With a rubber spatula, stir in the tangzhong olive oil mixture (if it has cooled enough to not kill the yeast) and the frothy yeast mixture.  If the dough is too dry to knead add up to 1 tablespoon water to get a working consistency. Scrape the dough onto the counter and begin kneading the dough by stretching and folding it. It will begin as a tacky dough that sticks to the counter but as you knead it, it will relax and become easy to work with.   Knead for ~8 minutes.  Let the dough rise in an oiled, covered bowl until its size doubles (~1-2 hours).  Amply coat the bottom and sides of a 9" x 9" pan with olive oil (~1⅓ tablespoons).  Lift the risen dough, stretching it to the approximate size of the pan.  Flip the dough over so both sides are oiled.  Poke through the dough using your fingers in order to make a craggy surface.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1-2 hours until its size doubles. 

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Remove the plastic wrap, and if desired sprinkle the top of dough with coarse sea salt, chopped rosemary, caramelized onions, or any other topping of your choice.  (Keep in mind: if using salt, any leftover bread will weep where the salt is sprinkled.)  Bake bread for ~ 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature registers ~ 185°-190°.  Flip the bread onto a cutting board and then turn back over to serve.

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