Focaccia Farcita (Filled Italian Hearth Bread)

Recipe by WaterMelon
READY IN: 3hrs 15mins
YIELD: 1 loaf




  • Sprinkle yeast into 200ml of the water in a bowl.
  • Let sit 5 mins; stir to dissolve.
  • Mix about 3/4 of the flour with salt together in a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeasted water and olive oil.
  • Mix in the flour.
  • Stir in remaining water to make a sticky dough, using a wooden spoon.
  • Add the remaining flour, if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, to form a knead-able dough.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Knead until smooth, silky and elastic, about 10mins.
  • (you can add more flour if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time) Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap/tea towel.
  • Leave to rise until doubled, 1 1/2- 2 hours.
  • Knock back and divide the dough into 2 equal pieces.
  • Chafe for 5 minutes.
  • Chafing: Form each piece into a ball by cupping your hands gently around it.
  • Apply a light, downwards pressure to the sides, while simultaneously rotating the dough in a steady, clockwise motion.
  • Continue until the dough forms an even, round shape.
  • This action is called CHAFING.
  • Leave to rest 10 minutes.
  • Roll out each piece of dough into a 9 inch round.
  • Place one round on an oiled baking sheet.
  • Arrange the cheeses and basil on top, then seal the filling using the second round.
  • Cover the dough loosely with a tea towel.
  • Prove until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Using your fingertips, lightly press into the surface of the dough to form dimples about 1/2 inch deep.
  • Sprinkle with coarse salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Top with rosemary sprigs.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F/200°C for 30-45mins until golden.
  • Drizzle immediately with remaining olive oil, and serve warm.
  • Variation- use 1 lb cherry tomatoes (drizzle with 1 TB olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then bake at 400°F for 20 mins), 5 oz mozzarella and 4 oz rocket (arugula) as filling.