Serves a Crowd

Meyer Lemon Focaccia

March 14, 2012
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 2 focaccia
Author Notes

Whenever I visit my friends in California, I always fill half of my suitcase with meyer lemons from their backyard before I return. I came up with this to finish off the very last of my recent harvest. Thinly-sliced meyer lemons sweeten in the heat of the oven, but the little punch of bitter rind play nicely against the salty-sweet topping on this airy, crusty focaccia. Totally addictive. —deensiebat

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: deensiebat works in public radio and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
WHAT: A gorgeous, tart, salty, sweet, and addictive flatbread.
HOW: Top an easy dough with thinly-sliced Meyer lemons, bake, and devour.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This is a kind of bread that makes us forget the doldrums of winter: it is bright, it is addictive, and it is deeply satisfying. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided (a coarse sugar, like demara, is nice for texture, but totally not critical)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided, plus additional for greasing the bowl
  • 10 ounces (aka 2 1/4 cups) flour
  • 1 large meyer lemon (or 2 smaller ones), washed and sliced as thinly as possible
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary needles
  1. Combine the water and yeast in a bowl, and let sit for a minute or two to allow the yeast to soften and bloom. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and the flour. Mix with a large spoon until fully blended, then cover and let sit for 5 minutes to fully hydrate. Mix for an additional minute or two, until the dough becomes smooth. Grease another bowl or container with a bit of oil, and, using a spatula, transfer the dough into the bowl. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  2. After the dough has rested, using wet or oiled hands, reach into the bowl under one end of the dough, and pull it gently to fold the dough in half. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough, then flip the whole doughball over. Let rest 10 minutes, then repeat 2-3 more times. After the last folding, cover the bowl, and refrigerate overnight, or up to two days. (These folds may seem a bit fussy, but achieve the dual purpose of incorporating some air pockets into the dough, and firming it up without using additional flour.)
  3. About 1 1/2 - 2 hours before you’d like to bake (depending on how warm your kitchen is), take the dough out of the refrigerator, and allow to come to room temperature for ~45 minutes to take the chill off. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or brush them heavily with olive oil. Gently divide the dough into two balls (they might be a bit more like blobs then balls), and place them on the prepared sheets. Let sit 10 minutes to relax, then, with oiled or wet hands, use your fingertips to sort of pat-and-push the dough out into 9” circles from the inside out, dimpling them without totally compressing them (if they resist, you can pat them out a little, let the dough rest ~5-10 minutes, then pat them out a little more and repeat as needed—it’s important you press the dough out to out least this diameter, otherwise it will be too thick to cook properly). Let rise for ~30-45 minutes (depending upon the heat of your kitchen, and how warm/risen the dough was when you started working). While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 500.
  4. When the dough has risen, scatter the lemon slices and rosemary needles over the top, and drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, and scatter on the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons coarse salt. (that's 1 Tbsp/tsp per focaccia). Place the trays in the oven, then turn down the heat to 450. Bake for ~20 minutes, until the focaccia has cooked to a golden brown (it may seem a little underdone in some parts, especially around the lemons, but as long as their are no large uncolored spots you'll be fine). Let cool slightly, then serve warm or at room temperature (ideally as soon as possible).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Tullyroan
  • SunBunny
  • Layla Corcoran
    Layla Corcoran
  • Tina Fruehauf
    Tina Fruehauf
  • DessertByCandy

46 Reviews

Jim March 15, 2016
Saying coarse salt for mixing in the dough seems like asking for a disaster. How are supposed to know which coarse salt to use? They are so different in volume that we could easily have way too much or way too little salt. Am I missing something? Is there a Food52 default for coarse salt?
Tullyroan December 24, 2014
Pure heaven, my guests rant about this focaccia!
SunBunny September 4, 2014
Never tried eating lemon rinds before. I guess it's all possible, yes?
lisabu January 9, 2014
Why the sugar?
Layla C. January 8, 2014
Would including a quarter cup of almond flour change the texture/flavor any?
Tina F. June 16, 2013
Several questions: bread or all purpose flour? Aldo after resting the dough in the fridge, could one possibly freeze it?
Victoria D. July 5, 2013
Tina . . . I*m an experienced bread maker. Of all kinds.
Pizza dough is bread, so definitely use bread flour.
Sipa March 17, 2014
If the recipe doesn't specify bread flour use all-purpose flour.
DessertByCandy May 2, 2013
Great chewy texture with plenty of irregular holes in the crumb. I forgot to add rosemary. Even with just the Meyer lemon, sugar, and Maldon sea salt topping, it tasted awesome.
SuzinSantaCruz April 6, 2013
Absolutely fabulous. I served it to my cousin and partner from Glasgow, my 90 yr old uncle from D.C. and my pizza hating husband and got rave reviews. Such a creative combination of tastes & textures. This inspires me to be more adventurous in my own dishes. Thanks so much.
bread A. March 22, 2013
This is a wonderful recipe and I highly recommend it, especially for people who don't know what to do with yeast. We are having an amazing lemon harvest this year, so I didn't use Meyer lemons. I did use very ripe lemons, so they were juicy. I agree with others about the salt. I mixed about 1 teaspoon of sea salt with the olive oil and spread it on with a brush. Sugar on top and bake according to instructions. Highly recommend this recipe.
micook March 18, 2013
Ok, to answer my own question: I partially cooked these and reheated and finished ones for guests. There were only four of us, but I could have made both-- delicious! I'm making another batch for the freezer and upcoming dinners.
Weasel8 March 14, 2013
Made a double batch of this today. Wow, delicious. My husband and I will probably have it gone before the day is done. We don't consume a lot of salt so I halved it and thought that was perfect. @Kitchen Butterfly, if you can get your hands on Concord grapes, Concord rosemary focaccia is to die for.
Kitchen B. April 5, 2013
Thanks Weasel8, I'll look out for concord grapes!
Victoria D. July 5, 2013
Concord grapes are hard to find, but I will look because I love them.
micook March 14, 2013
Has anyone tried partially cooking these, then freezing and finishing the baking when you want to serve them?
Sugartoast March 4, 2013
Is it necessary to let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight? Can you go immediately to Step 4, where you divide the dough and stretch it out on parchment, without the intervening rise?
bread A. March 22, 2013
I baked it the same day I made it and it was excellent.
Victoria D. July 5, 2013
The more often it rises, the better the bread.
jean L. February 9, 2013
Did anyone else feel like the final product was too salty? Next time I make this, will cut the salt by about half.
smslaw February 10, 2013
I always reduce the salt in recipes. I used much less than a tablespoon.
amyjk February 8, 2013
I doubled the recipe, cut it up, and brought it into the office today. All 4 loaves worth were gone before 10am and I saw people going back to look longingly into the empty container. Mind you there are very few employees here so that's a lot of bread eating. Huge hit!! The bread is absolutely delicious and I will absolutely be making this again soon, my coworkers may revolt if I don't.
Littlebluesiren January 28, 2013
I also loved this recipe. What a great way to highlight Meyer lemons. You are a great recipe writer and I appreciated your directions. I did substitute 2 oz whole wheat flour and it still turned out great.
Victoria D. July 5, 2013
If you use some whole wheat flour, it helps a lot to add a little gluten flour. This way your dough will be chewy as it is supposed to be.
EmilyC January 27, 2013
Made this focaccia tonight -- addictive is right! The topping is inspired, especially the liberal amount of salt and sugar scattered over the lemons and rosemary. This is crazy good stuff. Congrats on your well-deserved WC win!
smslaw January 26, 2013
I made this last night. It was delicious. Although time from start to finish is substantial, it is easy and doesn't require much attention. My rosemary bushes are indoors for the winter and in bloom, so the purple flowers added a nice visual touch.
Kitchen B. January 24, 2013
Made this today - a HUGE hit. Bitter, sweet, savoury, floral, fragrant, chewy. PERFECT! Thank you for the introduction!!
Panfusine January 24, 2013
Chomping on the one I made right now, at a loss for words to describe the bread accurately.. We need to petition Food52 to reclassify it as a genius recipe.. it evokes the same exhilarating emotions!
Kitchen B. January 24, 2013
Absolutely. I'll sign the petition :-). It is a keeper! It was a struggle between this recipe and lemon bars - in the end, this won, with no regrets. I still have some meyer lemon-sugar puree to make the bars happen!
Midge January 24, 2013
Totally agree. I've got seven more lemons on my tree and I think I know where they're all headed.
robinorig January 23, 2013
Looks, good, I've made a similar recipe from Canal House, their Lemon & Sea Salt Focaccia, Volume 3. Love anything with lemon, glad it's citrus season! Makes the cold a little more bearable!