Stuffed Focaccia Bread

August 28, 2011 § 6 Comments

Disclaimer:  I took these pictures before my amazing photographer friend Katie advised me not to use a flash. Ooops.  I promise these photos do not do it justice.

Yum.  I saw this recipe on The Italian Dish a few months ago, and have been dying to make it.  Since it’s not nearly as fun to cook for yourself, I waited until now (that I have an eager-to-taste-test hungry husband) to try it out.  I stuck to the recipe for the bread, but I changed the filling from the original.  You will learn that I rarely stick to the recipe and always have to “Maya-fy” things.

I was in a hurry to a social yoga bike ride (yes, Austin is awesome), so we didn’t even wait for it to cool before diving in.  This resulted in a large burn on my forearm.  I failed to have the foresight to see that when I dislodged the bottom of the springform pan, the incredibly hot outer ring would hang on my arm. So, don’t make the same mistake I did.  One thing that wasn’t a mistake was making this bread.  2 people, 9″ diameter pan, 5″ high sandwich…and only 1/4 of it left for the next day. Do the math- we ate a lot. Good thing we didn’t invite friends over!

(Note- you can stuff this with whatever ingredients you would like! Vegetarians, I bet you could put extra mushrooms, eggplant, or other veggies, instead of the sausage and just add more seasoning. I would add more oil too since you won’t have the fat from the meat.  I kind of want to try it with breakfast ingredients…like a giant McMuffin…mmmm)


Sponge (for those of you that haven’t made bread, this is kind of like a little bit of starter dough)

1/2 cup warm water (not hot)
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cup all purpose unbleached flour


1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Sponge, above
3.25 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt


2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound of hot Italian sausage
1 very large onion, sliced
1 bell pepper (I used half green, half red) sliced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
freshly ground pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt


2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt
oregano, pepper, crushed red pepper- whatever spices you like!


Springform Pan (9″)



{water, yeast, flour}

Put the warm water in a large bowl (use your stand mixer bowl if you have one) and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir in the flour.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 45 minutes, until it doubles and is bubbly.


{yeast, water, olive oil, flour, salt}

Add yeast, water, and olive oil to the mixer bowl.  Start running the mixer with the dough hook attached and add a little under 3 cups of the flour and the salt and mix thoroughly. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can start kneading by hand). The dough should start forming a large glob and sticking to the sides. Start adding flour by the spoonful, waiting for each spoonful to be incorporated before adding the next. Keep adding flour until the dough stops sticking to the sides of the bowl. It’s done when it’s smooth and springy but not sticky.  (If doing this by hand, I suppose it would be done when your hands stop sticking to the dough).  Place the ball in a clean bowl drizzled with olive oil.  Roll the dough in the olive oil, cover the bowl tightly, and leave it in a warm place to rise until it doubles- about 1.25 hours.


{sausage, onion, mushrooms, pepper, salt, garlic, olive oil, parsley, cheese}

Brown your sausage in a large skillet, cooking it all the way through.  Take it out of the pan and put it on a paper towel lined plate.  You can drain any excess fat from the pan, but don’t clean it out.  Add the olive oil to the pan, then cook your peppers, onions, and mushrooms with 1 tsp of salt and as much pepper as you like.  Our sausage was nice and spicy, so I didn’t add a ton of black pepper.  Cook the veggies until they are soft (probably about 10 minutes) on medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Put the sausage back in the pan, mix it all up, and then put it in a large bowl to cool slightly. Don’t put it in the fridge- it should stay around room temperature before putting it in the oven.  Once it has cooled slightly, add the parsley and cheese and toss.

If you wait to cut your vegetables until right before you cook them, like I did, it’ll be right about time to work with the dough again.  In hindsight, I would have chopped the veggies beforehand.

Lightly oil the springform pan.  Punch the dough down and divide it in half. Stretch one half into a disc and place it in the bottom of the pan. It’s pretty pliable so you can push it around and make it fill the bottom.  Spoon the filling onto the dough.  Stretch the rest of the dough into a disc and lay it on top of the filling.  Put a clean towel over the pan and leave it to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425°.

Just before putting the pan in the oven, make dimples all over the top layer of dough with your finger. Drizzle it with olive oil, salt, and whatever spices you would like.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Let it cool a little! and then slice it into wedges like a sandwich.  If you have leftovers, you can heat them in the oven or toaster oven and they will be good as new.


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