culinary student with Chef instructor
May 24, 2023
Daily Inter Lake

Focaccia Great Way to Showcase Produce

Summertime is at our doorstep in the Flathead Valley, and that gets me thinking about all the wonderful produce that we get to enjoy for the next few months. One of my favorite ways to showcase all this is a light, airy loaf of focaccia.

Minced herbs can be mixed into the dough at the beginning, sliced cherry tomatoes can be folded in at the very end of the mix, and we can top the proofed loaf with grilled asparagus, roasted garlic, and heaps of grated parmesan right before it heads into a hot oven. Morels and chive blossoms are my favorite right now!

This recipe comes together quickly in a countertop mixer and then can be turned directly into the pan to proof. If you don’t have a mixer, you can use your hands in a big bowl to bring all the ingredients together, running the heel of your palm through the dough until it starts to form a cohesive mass. Then, pull and fold the dough until a soft dough forms.

If you’ve ever been intimidated by baking your own bread, this is a great place to start. You’ll start the night before by mixing a preferment, which is a little bit of dough that will give your yeast a jumpstart on fermentation, so we don’t spend the entire next day in the kitchen waiting for bread to rise — we’ve got rivers to paddle, mountains to climb!

YIELD: 1 loaf

TIME: 15 minutes (day 1) 2 hours 15 minutes (day 2)



8 oz water (60°)

1 g yeast

8 oz bread flour

Final Dough

16 oz water (80°)

1 tbsp sugar

24 oz bread flour

15 g instant yeast

1 oz salt

6 fl oz olive oil


1 The night before, mix water, yeast and bread flour together in bowl large enough for dough to triple in size. Cover tightly and leave at room temp overnight.

2 Mix together starter, water, yeast and sugar and mix together.

3 Add flour and begin to mix.

4 Add salt and oil and knead until smooth soft dough forms.

5 Press dough, as far as it will go, into an oiled casserole dish and top dough with oil.

6 Allow dough to rest for 20-30 minutes and press the dough out to the corners.

7 Set in warm spot in kitchen and allow to proof, uncovered, until double in size. This should be about an hour, but the size is more important than the time.

8 Dent the dough with fingertips and spread on toppings.

9 Bake at 425˚ for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top.

10 Immediately flip out of pan and cool on rack with plenty of air flow.

Chef Dan Moe is an instructor at Flathead Valley Community College’s Culinary Institute of Montana.