This focaccia is inspired by the “pizza” focaccia I worship from Liguria Bakery. The one that's topped with tomato sauce and chopped green onions, and despite its name, lacks cheese of any kind. When I moved to New York nine years ago, I felt its loss keenly, thinking of it sometimes twice a day. This version is my attempt to pay homage. To that thin layer of jammy tomato sauce across its top that lends it an almost doughy texture that, when coupled with the crunch of the crisp bottom and the uniquely tight, yet light crumb of the interior, makes for the world's most perfect bite. To heavy-handed scallion application that infuses it with an indispensable savoriness that's at once gentle and intense. It's impossible for me to see bakery twine and not crave it. You wouldn't be doing anyone a disservice by topping this, warm from the oven, with a big spoonful of ricotta. —Ella Quittner
Test Kitchen Notes
An old-school yeasted flatbread, focaccia is considered “an early prototype of modern pizza,” according to the exhaustive foodtimeline.org by Lynne Olver, “thought by some to have originated with the Etruscans or Ancient Greeks.” Over these many years, unsurprisingly, it has had innumerable iterations. It is typically savory but could also be sweet. Toppings range from sage to rosemary, garlic to onion, tomatoes to grapes, and then some. Even the shape could be round or square or rectangular. Nowadays, finger-dimpled focaccia is all but synonymous with an immodest amount of olive oil, which yields a delightfully crisp, practically fried crust. As Marc Vetri notes in *Mastering Pizza*, “many people think that focaccia is basically naked pizza.” This is sort of, but not completely, accurate. He continues, “Pizza al taglio is more like a small meal. But focaccia is more like bread. It’s simpler.” In this recipe from Ella Quittner, however, it is not. Savory tomato sauce and bright scallions make it much closer to a pizza. And, of course, the world is your oyster (or, uh, pepperoni?) to play around. Use what you have on hand or what you’re craving. Is there another green you want to show off instead of scallions? A grated cheese you want to sprinkle on top before baking, like mozzarella? And what about spooning on some burrata just before serving? Why not? The result would not be traditional focaccia or traditional pizza—but an untraditional focaccia pizza to bring a lot of people a lot of joy.
Read more here: The Saucy Tomato Bread I've Thought About Every Day for 16 Years. —The Editors
- Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
- Cook time 20 minutes
- Makes 1 9x13-inch sheet
slightly warm water (222 grams) (it should feel just a tiny bit warmer than your body temperature to the touch)
active dry yeast (7 grams)
2 1/2 cups
bread flour (300 grams), plus about 1/3 cup more for kneading
kosher salt (7 grams), plus more for sprinkling on top
olive oil (28 grams), plus 3 tablespoons olive oil (42 grams), plus 1/2 cup olive oil (110 grams)
chopped scallions (the green part), divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
canned crushed or pureed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- Add water to a large bowl, then add the yeast and gently stir. Let sit for 5 minutes, until little bubbles start to appear at the top of the water. Add the flour, salt, and olive oil, and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until a shaggy, wet dough forms. Lightly cover a surface with about 1/3 cup flour, and pour the dough onto floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth, homogenous, and sticky. If you poke it gently, it will spring back in about 5 seconds to fill the poke mark. (Note: You can make the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook instead, if you prefer—do the yeast dissolution in the stand mixer, and add the flour, salt, and oil, then mix with the dough hook for 3 to 4 minutes. Be sure to sprinkle in another 1/3 cup or so of flour gradually as you mix to get the same texture as you would by hand-kneading on a floured surface.)
- Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a clean bowl, and swirl the bowl around to ensure the sides are greased. Form a loose ball of your dough, and transfer it to the oiled bowl, then gently flip it so both sides are covered in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, until it roughly doubles in size.
- Add 1/2 cup olive oil to the bottom of a 9x13-inch cake pan. (This will feel like a lot of oil, but it gets absorbed by the dough as it cooks and makes the most amazing crust.) Transfer your dough to the pan and gently stretch it to fit the dimensions. It will feel like the consistency of soft chewing gum. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of green onions and a large pinch of salt across the top. On top of the green onions, use your fingers to slather the tomato puree, avoiding the edges where the dough meets pan (the sauce will burn). Loosely cover and let the dough proof in the pan for 30 minutes, until it’s puffed up.
- Meanwhile, heat your oven to 475° F. Once the dough has puffed up, it's time for the most fun part of making focaccia: poking it all over with your fingertips to make dimples. Do this, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the un-sauced edges are a toasty color where they touch the pan, and the pizza-like bubbles that have puffed up across the surface are tinged dark brown in the centers.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining green onion, a drizzle of olive oil, and more salt to taste. You can slice and eat it as soon as it cools a bit. Refrigerate to store.