Samin Nosrat’s Ligurian Focaccia Is Just as Magical as It Looks

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The second I saw Samin Nosrat and Diego make Ligurian focaccia in the “Fat” episode of Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix I knew I was destined to make it at home. There’s something about how delicately they treated the dough, the sheer amount of (good) olive oil that they used, and of course the extremely satisfying way they dimpled the dough that just looked so therapeutic. And reader, now that I’ve made this, let me tell you that it truly lives up to the magic.

There’s a couple things you need to know about this recipe before you jump in. First, is that the ingredients are important here. For example, this is not the recipe to swap fancy flour in for all-purpose. If you can, I also recommend searching for Diamond kosher salt, as Samin recommends. I used a different kind of kosher salt, and my focaccia was on the saltier side of things (but still very delicious). This is also the time to use a higher-quality olive oil because it will really come through.

Second, if you’ve never made focaccia you should know that this recipe is a little different. As Samin talks about in this particular episode, you brine the focaccia before putting it in the oven. You’re going to think it looks too wet, but I promise it’s probably perfect. The brine adds a delicious saltiness that you don’t find in other recipes.

If you’re nervous about making focaccia for the first time (understandable!) and want more of a step-by-step visualization, I highly recommend watching Samin make the focaccia with Brad from Bon Appétit. Not only is it helpful, it’s very entertaining.

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Ligurian Focaccia

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups

    lukewarm water

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    active dry yeast

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    honey

  • 5 1/3 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons

    Diamond Crystal kosher salt, or 1 tablespoon fine sea salt

  • 1/4 cup

    extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan and finishing

  • Flaky salt, for finishing

For the brine:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    Diamond Crystal kosher salt

  • 1/3 cup

    lukewarm water

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together water, yeast, and honey to dissolve. In a very large bowl, whisk flour and salt together to combine and then add yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated, then scrape the sides of the bowl clean and cover with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature to ferment for 12 to 14 hours until at least doubled in volume.

  2. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons oil evenly onto a 18-by-13 inch rimmed baking sheet. When dough is ready, use a spatula or your hand to release it from the sides of the bowl and fold it onto itself gently, then pour out onto pan. Pour an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil over dough and gently spread across. Gently stretch the dough to the edge of the sheet by placing your hands underneath and pulling outward.  The dough will shrink a bit, so repeat stretching once or twice over the course of 30 minutes to ensure dough remains stretched.

  3. Dimple the dough by pressing the pads of your first three fingers in at an angle.  Make the brine by stirring together salt and water until salt is dissolved. Pour the brine over the dough to fill dimples. Set the focaccia aside to rise for 45 minutes until the dough is light and bubbly.

  4. Thirty minutes into this final proof, adjust rack to center position and a second rack to the upper position. Preheat oven to 450°F. If you have a baking stone, place it on the center rack. Otherwise, invert another sturdy baking sheet and place on that rack. Allow to preheat with the oven until very hot, before proceeding with baking.

  5. Sprinkle focaccia with flaky salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes directly on top of stone or inverted baking sheet until bottom crust is crisp and golden brown when checked with a metal spatula. To finish browning top crust, move focaccia to upper rack and bake for 5 to 7 minutes more.

  6. Remove from oven and brush or douse with 2 to 3 tablespoons oil over the whole surface (don’t worry if the olive pools in pockets, it will absorb as it sits). Let cool for 5 minutes, then release focaccia from pan with metal spatula and transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.  

Recipe Notes

Storage: To store, wrap in parchment and then keep in an airtight bag or container to preserve texture. Gently toast or reheat any leftover focaccia before serving. Alternatively, wrap tightly to freeze, then defrost and reheat before serving.

Reprinted reprinted with permission courtesy of Netflix’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Adapted from Diego Bedin with the help of Josey Baker.

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