Fall Flatbreads: 7 Focaccia Recipes to Try This Autumn

Focaccia is the perfect snack, side dish, or dinner to serve at parties and potlucks. The flat, oven-baked Italian bread is customizable and versatile, easily transforming to cater to a number of tastes, and it’s slightly more sophisticated than pizza. The toppings you can stud your focaccia with are innumerable, and the flavor combinations are truly endless.

Now that football season is well underway and people are getting together more than ever, it’s time to perfect a new dish, and focaccia should be high on your fall culinary bucket list. Check out these 5 focaccia recipes you should consider whipping up next time you have a lot of hungry fans on your hands.

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1. Focaccia With Caramelized Onions, Pears, and Blue Cheese

We start things off with this savory recipe from Food & Wine. This bread is good enough to distract anyone from his or her football game, regardless of the score. Send yourself into a carb coma with this delectable dish, and you won’t be sorry.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 large Bosc pear, cored and sliced
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese

Directions: In a large bowl, combine the water, yeas, and honey, and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and ¼ cup of the oil; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour and the salt, and knead until smooth. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic, and let stand for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion, cover, and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the sugar, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the sheet and press it down to fit. Dimple the dough all over with your fingers and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let the dough rise until puffed, about 20 minutes.

Scatter the onions over the dough. Arrange the pear over the onions and sprinkle with the blue cheese. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the focaccia and bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve.

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2. Rosemary and Onion Focaccia

Here’s another seasoned spin on regular homemade pizza: Rosemary and Onion Focaccia from Bon Appetit. Many people are intimidated by the yeast that is enlisted in focaccia recipes, but with thorough directions from Bon Appetit, you should have no fear. The bread is simple and straightforward, as are its measurements and instructions.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Lightly oil a large bowl; set aside. Combine 1¾ cups flour, 1½ teaspoons salt, sugar, yeast, and ¾ cup water in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Increase speed to medium and mix for 6 minutes (dough will be very soft). Form dough into a ball. Transfer to prepared bowl. Cover; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Chill overnight.

Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons oil. Stretch and press dough on sheet into a rectangle slightly smaller than the sheet. Brush dough with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm, draft-free area until dough has almost doubled in size, 1.5 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove plastic wrap and dimple dough with your fingertips. Scatter onion, rosemary, and oregano over dough; season with salt and pepper. Bake focaccia until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.

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3. Asiago Focaccia

Cheese, please. This Asiago Focaccia is next, proving that Panera isn’t the only food establishment that has perfected the asiago (bagel) flavor. You can, too, and Tastebook can show you how. This bread will come together just in time for halftime and only requires 8 ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ tablespoons roasted garlic olive oil, plus more for greasing bowl
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped oregano, plus 1 tablespoon whole leaves, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons salt
  • 1 (¼-ounce) package rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ cup grated Asiago cheese

Directions: Rub large bowl with roasted garlic olive oil. Combine flour, chopped oregano, sugar, salt, yeast, and dried oregano in large bowl. Stir in 1⅔ cups warm water, and continue to stir 2 minutes (dough will seem wet and sticky). Transfer to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in warm place for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray. Stir cheese into dough. Transfer to baking sheet and spread to sides of sheet with wet fingers. Brush top with 1½ tablespoons roasted garlic olive oil and sprinkle whole oregano leaves over top. Let rise 1 hour, or until dough is level with sides of pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bottom. Cool 20 minutes on wire rack before unmolding and serving. Top the focaccia with sliced green olives or thinly sliced red onions and serve with olive oil for dipping.

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4. Pepperoni Focaccia

If you still have some football fans on your hands who are holding onto their pepperoni fix, satisfy them by baking this Pepperoni Focaccia from Epicurious. Sometimes you just need some old-fashioned comfort food, and this recipe fits the bill.

Ingredients:

  • ¼-ounce package (2½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups finely chopped pepperoni (about ½ pound)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crumbled dried orégano
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste

Directions: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, proof the yeast with the sugar in the water for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is foamy; add the flour, table salt, and 3 tablespoons of the oil, and combine the dough well. With the dough hook, knead the dough for 2 minutes, or until it is soft and slightly sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead in the pepperoni, pepper, and oregano, until they are incorporated thoroughly.

Form the dough into a ball, transfer to an oiled bowl, and turn to coat it with the oil. Let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 1.5 hours, or until it is double in bulk. The dough may be made up to this point, punched down, and kept, covered and chilled, overnight. Let the dough return to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe. Press the dough evenly into an oiled jelly-roll pan, 15.5 by 10.5 by 1 inches, and let it rise, covered loosely, in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it is almost double in bulk.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Dimple the dough, making ¼-inch-deep indentations with your fingertips; brush it with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle it with the coarse salt. Bake the focaccia in the bottom third of the oven, covering it with foil if the pepperoni begins to burn, for 35 to 45 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Let it cool in the pan on a rack and serve it warm or at room temperature.

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5. Parmesan-Herb Focaccia

Continuing on the savory side of things, you also have the option of whipping up this Parmesan-Herb Focaccia from Eating Well. Your savory senses should be on high alert, because this bread is about to rock them. The usual suspects are enlisted in this recipe (yeast, flour, olive oil, salt), but the cheese and seasonings are what really are important.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, or unbleached bread flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour, or white whole-wheat flour
  • 4 tablespoons good-quality grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1½ teaspoons instant, quick-rising, or bread-machine yeast
  • 1½ cups ice water, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, chives, or rosemary, divided
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, or other coarse salt

DirectionsMix dough – Thoroughly stir 2 cups all-purpose (or bread) flour, whole-wheat flour, 3 tablespoons Parmesan, table salt, and yeast in a 4-quart (or larger) bowl. Vigorously stir in 1½ cups ice water, scraping down the sides and mixing just until the dough is thoroughly blended. The dough should be barely moist and fairly stiff. If the mixture is too dry, stir in just enough additional ice water to facilitate mixing, but don’t over-moisten. If the dough is too wet, stir in just enough flour to stiffen slightly. Lightly coat the top with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

First rise — Let the dough rise at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours; if convenient, stir once partway through the rise. For convenience (and improved flavor), you may refrigerate the dough for 3 to 12 hours before starting the first rise. Second rise – Coat a 9-by-13-inch (or similar) baking pan with oil, then line it with a sheet of parchment paper. Lightly coat the paper with oil. Stir the dough just until deflated.

If it is soft, stir in just enough flour to yield a firm but moist dough. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon chopped herbs over the dough (don’t stir them in), then invert the dough into the pan so the herbs are underneath. Drizzle the dough with 2 teaspoons olive oil. With well-oiled hands, lightly pat and press the dough out until it fills the pan and is evenly thick; if it springs back and is resistant, let it rest for 10 minutes, then proceed. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan and herbs, and fennel seeds (if using), and pat down. Tent the pan with foil.

Let rise at warm room temperature until the dough is double the deflated size, 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Twenty minutes before baking – Position a rack in lowest part of oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spritz or sprinkle the dough with water. With oiled fingertips, make deep indentations, or dimples, all over the top. Sprinkle evenly with sea salt (or other coarse salt).

Bake, cool, slice – Reduce oven temperature to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake on the lowest rack, turning the pan from front to back halfway through for even browning, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 204 to 206 degrees Fahrenheit, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Best served warm.

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6. Dried Cherry and Golden Raisin Sweet Focaccia

Onto the sweet, try this Dried Cherry and Golden Raisin Sweet Focaccia and prepare to be amazed. This recipe from Gourmet via Epicurious showcases how the the chewy dough is the perfect vehicle for dried grapes and cherries.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried sour cherries (about ½ pound, available at specialty food shops)
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (¼-ounce) package (2½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

Directions: In a bowl, combine the cherries, raisins, and water; let fruit soak for 10 minutes, or until it is softened, and drain the mixture, reserving 1 cup of the liquid. In a small saucepan, heat the reserved liquid over low heat until it is lukewarm.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, proof the yeast with the granulated sugar in the warm liquid for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is foamy; add flour, salt, ¼ cup of the brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter, and combine the dough well. Knead the dough with the dough hook for 2 minutes, or until it is soft and slightly sticky, transfer it to a lightly floured surface, and knead in the fruit mixture, patted dry, until it is incorporated thoroughly.

Form the dough into a ball, transfer to an oiled bowl, and turn to coat it with the oil. Let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 1.5 hours, or until it is double in bulk. The dough may be made up to this point, punched down, and kept, covered and chilled, overnight. Let the dough return to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe. Press the dough evenly into an oiled jelly-roll pan, 15.5 by 10.5 by 1 inches, and let it rise, covered loosely, in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it is almost double in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Dimple the dough, making ¼-inch-deep indentations with your fingertips, and sprinkle it with the remaining ¼ cup brown sugar. Bake the focaccia in the bottom third of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it is golden brown; let it cool in the pan on a rack, and serve it warm or at room temperature.

Source: iStock

7. Sweet Focaccia With Figs, Plums, and Hazelnuts

Last but certainly not least is this Sweet Focaccia with Figs, Plums, and Hazelnuts, a recipe highlighted by The New York Times. Though this carby goodness requires some prep work, we promise it’s worth it, and your ambitious efforts will surely be rewarded.

Ingredients:

Sponge

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Scant ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Dough

  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup fine cornmeal
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour or durum flour
  • 1¾ teaspoons fine sea salt

Topping

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts, skinned and halved
  • 1 pound mixed fresh figs and plums, figs quartered, plums pitted and sliced in wedges
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

DirectionsMake the sponge. Combine yeast and water in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir to dissolve. Whisk in sugar and flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until bubbly and doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

Make the dough. If using a stand mixer, whisk together yeast and water in a small bowl and let stand until creamy, a few minutes. Add to the sponge in the mixer bowl, along with sugar and olive oil. Add flours (including cornmeal) and salt, and mix in with the paddle attachment for 1 to 2 minutes, until ingredients are amalgamated. Change to dough hook and knead on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes. The dough should come together and slap against the sides of the bowl. It will be slightly tacky.

To make the dough by hand, combine yeast and water as directed and whisk into sponge with sugar and olive oil. Whisk in all-purpose flour. Add salt, cornmeal, and remaining flour, one cup at a time, folding it in with a spatula or a wooden spoon. When you can scrape out the dough, add flour to the work surface, put dough on top, and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until soft and velvety. Return to bowl (coat bowl lightly with olive oil first). Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1.5 hours.

Shape the focaccia. Coat a 12-by-17-inch sheet pan (sides and bottom) with olive oil. Line with parchment and flip parchment over so the exposed side is oiled. Turn dough onto baking sheet. Oil or moisten your hands and press out dough until it just about covers the bottom of the pan. Dough may be sticky. Cover with a towel and allow it to relax for 10 minutes, then continue to press it out until it reaches the edges of the pan. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes to an hour, or until dough is full of air bubbles.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit after 15 minutes of rising (30 minutes before you wish to bake), preferably with a baking stone in it. Combine chopped rosemary and olive oil for the topping in a small pan and heat just until rosemary begins to sizzle. Count to 30 and remove from heat. Swirl olive oil in the pan and pour into a small measuring cup or ramekin. Allow to cool.

With lightly oiled fingertips or with your knuckles, dimple the dough, pressing down hard so you leave indentations. Place hazelnut halves in the indentations. Distribute the fruit evenly over the dough and drizzle on the oil and rosemary. Combine the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over the fruit and dough. Place pan in oven on baking stone.

Spray oven three times with water during the first 10 minutes, and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until edges are crisp and the top is golden. If you wish, remove the focaccia from the pan and bake directly on the stone during the last 10 minutes. Remove from oven, remove from pan at once, and cool on a rack. If you want a softer focaccia, cover with a towel when you remove it from the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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