I have to give 100% credit to my friend Emily, the “Baking Queen” for this idea. Recently she posted about stuffed focaccia and her rolled creations looked so appealing I had to try. Especially I had to try as half the inhabitants here have to avoid gluten and my GF regular focaccia is the outstanding winner of the “looks like bread” objective – tastes half-way like bread too. Anyway – to cut to the chase, here are three variants on Emily’s original creation that I recommend to you – of course, none of them look as professionally “finished” as hers but my they do taste good.

So – here are three variants on stuffed focaccia:
– Regular yeast leavened dough
– Sourdough version
– Gluten-free version

Assembling and Baking

We will start with this as regardless of the dough you use, this is how the focaccia is put together

Take your finished dough and divide it in two

Put half the dough in the bottom of a baking tin approximately 14×10 inches in size and with your hands pull and stretch the dough to approximately fill the bottom

Cover with the filling of your choice – I used steamed/sweated spinach leaves with small cubes of feta cheese and a couple of spoons of black olive tapenade.

Cover with the other half of the dough stretched and patted into place to make a sandwich.

Dimple the surface with your fingers, brush with olive oil and sprinkled with dried oregano or rosemary and flakes of salt

Leave to rest for 20-30 minutes

Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes

Cool on a rack – divide and eat as it is or to accompany a stew, soup or what you wish. Cut into about eight pieces or tear chunks off. Eating it by itself is also good.

The dough as it goes into the over should be looking like this:

(A) Yeast-leavened Dough

  • 3.5 cups all-purpose flour (about 420g)
  • 1.5 cups tepid water
  • Teaspoon of yeast
  • 37 g olive oil
  • Tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
  • Coarse salt – around half to one tablespoon

Mix these ingredients with dough hook for 5-7 minutes. You may need to adjust the amount of water. You want a wetter then usual but not sticky dough.

Cover in a bowl and rise for 45 minutes. Gently stretch the dough and let rise for a further 45 minutes

Proceed as in the Assembling and Baking section above.

(B) Sourdough Option

Start this in the middle of the evening

  • 1 cup active sourdough starter
  • 0.75 cups water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour ( about 360g)
  • 37 g olive oil
  • Teaspoon of yeast
  • Coarse salt – around half to one tablespoon

Mix for 5-7 minutes and put in oiled bowl
Allow to rise for an hour
Gently stretch and fold (x3) and let rise for a further hour

Assemble in the rectangular baking tin as described above – but do not oil the surface yet. Cover and leave in a cool place overnight.

Next morning gently dimple the surface with your fingers, brush with olive oil and sprinkled with dried oregano or rosemary and flakes of salt. Bake as described above at 400F

It will look similar to the yeast-livened version but taste a little more complex

(C) Gluten-free Option

***Note:*** The right flour is the secret of this. The best that I have found is that sold under the L’Angelique name (www.cuisinelangelique.com) but I don’t know if that is available outside Quebec. This is not as heavy on the rice flour as some GF mixes are and also contains grains such as sorghum, millet and amaranth flours plus tapioca starch, ground flax seeds, chia flour and xanthin + guar gums.

  • 351 g all-purpose gluten-free flour.
  • 35 g dried milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1.25 teaspoons salt
  • One egg
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.25 cups tepid water
    ** If the GF flour you have does not contain gums then add 1.25 tablespoons of xanthin gum

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl

In a separate bowl mix the water, olive oil, yeats and a cup of the mixed dry ingredients – leave to start working for 20-30 minutes

Mix the wet and dry ingredients and mix at medium speed in a machine mixer (do not try to do this by hand) for a good 4 minutes. This dough is very wet and stick y – similar to wallpaper paste

Cover and leave for 30 to 45 minutes

Divide the dough in two. It is very wet and you will be spreading it with a spatula rather than stretching it as you would a regular wheat flour dough. Well oil the bottom of the pan and and sprinkle with dried herbs. Cover the bottom of the baking pan with dough – add filling – spread the other half of the dough on top. Brush with oil. Do not add salt at this stage.

Let the ‘sandwich’ rest for 15 – 30 minutes while the oven heats.

Bake for 20 minutes or slightly longer until the dough is set and browned. Remove and invert onto a cooling rack – this focaccia is baked inverted as the crispy crust forms on the bottom.