Caramelized Onion Focaccia Bread

This light and chewy Italian flatbread has a taste that lingers! Its really easy and practically bakes itself. Read my instructions if you’re scared of yeast and bake a perfect loaf at home!

Caramelized Onion Focaccia Bread

You have a frozen dough ball, what do you do with it? Something quick and satisfying? Focaccia bread is your answer. This Italian flatbread is really easy to make, much like a pizza minus the cheese. Its so versatile that you can top it with almost anything and everything and it will still be great.

My first attempt at bread making was a huge disaster. I was (and still am) an amateur baker. I had no clue of what I was doing and took upon the job of baking an onion bread. Let’s just say there’s not one thing I did right and I ended up wasting half a kilo of perfectly caramelized onions. That’s the bit that hurts me the most. My beautiful caramelized onions went to the trash and there was nothing I could do about it. I tried my best to savor that raw translucent piece of dough but to no avail. The onions were making it taste great but that bread wasn’t edible. It had to thrown away.

Caramelized Onion Focaccia Bread

That was 3 months back and for the past three months, or the major part of it at least, I didn’t revisit the idea of bread making. I was convinced that baking breads is a talent that people are born with and I just wasn’t one of those lucky people. As heartbreaking as it was, I accepted it and moved on with my life of baking cakes, cookies and cooking. I love baking cakes and cookies and it gives  me a sense of satisfaction but there was still a void in my heart that just wasn’t filling up and I knew exactly what I needed to satisfy my baking addiction. I had to bake bread, not just bread but a perfect one at that to gain my confidence back.

Caramelized Onion Focaccia Bread

I researched and researched like a maniac. My Google search history that entire day was only one thing “How to bake a perfect loaf?”. I read a lot of things on the internet and almost all of them were pointing to one really important fact of bread making: good quality YEAST and that’s when it struck me, my yeast wasn’t the best quality but how would I know that, it was my first time baking a bread. I was only following a recipe which didn’t say a word about high quality yeast. So after much self convincing I gathered the courage to bake garlic breadsticks, this time with the best quality of active dry yeast I could find and to my surprise, they turned out perfectly. I realized it’s really important to take care of three things while baking breads: High quality yeast, Kneading until the dough is springy and waiting until the dough doubles in size. If you ace these three things, you can bake just about any bread in the world. Many would argue and suggest you to make a simple loaf the first time your baking to avoid disappointment but I disagree. Bake what you want, as long as you take great of these three KEY factors, you cannot go wrong.

Caramelized Onion Focaccia

I’m glad that my baking disaster days are behind me because I bake edible breads now and they also taste  good great! My twisty garlic breadsticks and my veggie pizza are some of my experiments gone right and I can proudly say I bake great breads! My first experiment gone wrong was a caramelized onion bread, I loved the flavor so now that I knew the basics, I decided to bake that again. I was not disappointed. The flavor was like I remembered, I was glad that this time I could actually relish it, unlike last time. This caramelized onion focaccia bread has a taste that lingers long after you’re done eating it. This bread really, in all true forms and senses, celebrates the flavor of the onions. Your mouth doesn’t stink of onions so that’s another plus 😉 You can enjoy this bread before meals, as appetizers in bite sized pieces, with dinner or like I do..just about anytime, any day only to satisfy your cravings. If you have the dough frozen, you don’t really have to do anything, only bake it for 25 minutes and dig in! But if you’re making the dough fresh, fear not, its really not difficult. I will walk you through every step and as long as you follow them meticulously, you will not go wrong!

Caramelized Onion Focaccia Bread

Caramelized Onion Focaccia Bread

Ingredients:

Makes: 2 Focaccia Breads (10×6 inches)

Prep Time: 2 hours -2 hours 15 minutes (including dough resting time)

Baking Time: 20-25 minutes

For the dough:

  • Good Quality Active Dry Yeast, 2 1/2 teaspoons
  • Lukewarm Water, 1 1/3 cup* (or 360 ml)
  • All Purpose Flour, 3 1/2 cups (or 440 grams)
  • Olive Oil, 2 tablespoons** and extra for brushing
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar, 1 tablespoon for the dough + 1/2 teaspoon to activate yeast
  • Cornmeal for dusting (optional, You can use normal flour instead but cornmeal has a much better taste)

For the Caramelized Onion Topping (for 1 focaccia)

  • Red Onions, sliced, 2
  • Olive Oil, 1-2 tablespoons
  • Garlic, chopped, 4-5 cloves
  • Sugar, 1 teaspoon
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Process

  1. Make the Dough: Activate the yeast. To activate the yeast, add in the ½ teaspoon of sugar to the lukewarm water in a jar and mix until dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, sprinkle the yeast and mix until somewhat dissolved. At this point, cover the jar with plastic wrap or cling film tightly and let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes you will notice that the surface of the water will appear foamy and the yeast will be completely dissolved. If none of these happen, it is possible that you killed the yeast (water too hot) or the yeast didn’t wake up (water too cold). Read the post above to learn how to deal with yeast.
  2. In a bowl, sift together flour, salt and add in the olive oil and 1 tablespoon sugar and mix. Now add in the foamy yeast water and make it into a ball of dough.
  3. Toss this ball onto a floured surface and start kneading by hand (7-10 minutes) or mixer (7 minutes). I normally set a timer for 7-8 minutes; by that time my dough is normally smooth and springy. If it’s I knead until it is, which could take another couple of minutes. To learn about kneading dough, read the post above.
  4. Once the dough is nice and springy, lightly oil it and place it in a large bowl that has been lightly oiled too for about 1-2 hours until your dough doubles up in size. Mine usually take 1 hour 10 minutes but it is normal for the dough to take up to 2 hours depending upon the quality of your yeast.
  5. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it a few times to release air. Divide the dough into two balls and place them in separate bowls, lightly covered for 10 minutes. At this point you can freeze the balls to be used later. Freezing and thawing details are given at the end of the post.
  6. After the 10 minutes are up, the dough is ready to be used.  Flatten the ball out with a rolling pin until about ½ an inch thick. Transfer the dough to your baking tray sprinkled with olive oil and cornmeal. Brush a little olive oil all over the surface and poke the dough using your fingers to prevent bubbling and let it rest for 15 minutes before you apply the toppings. Caramalized onion focaccia bread
  7. Make the topping :Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 10-15 minutes and simultaneously cook your onions. Heat oil in a pan and add in the onions. Lower the heat, add in the sugar and let the onions cook for about 15 minutes until the onions have browned a little, stir occasionally to avoid sticking. Season with salt and pepper and add in the garlic and mix.
  8. Assemble :Once the 15 minutes are up spread the onion topping evenly over the surface and bake on a lower rack for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius, until the base and top has browned a little.Caramalized onion focaccia bread

Season a little with salt and pepper and enjoy hot!

Freezing : If you decide to save half of the dough to be enjoyed later, simply coat it with oil lightly and place it in a ziplock or airtight bag and freeze until required.

Thawing: When you’re ready to use the dough, Transfer the frozen dough ball bag from the freezer to the refrigerator and keep it there overnight or for 12 hours. When you’re ready to bake the bread, place the dough outside on the kitchen counter 30 minutes before baking or until it reaches room temp. Continue with step 6. The dough balls freezes well for 3 months.

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28 thoughts on “Caramelized Onion Focaccia Bread

  1. I love focaccia bread! But i don’t have the confidence to make it yet, coz i am bad at kneading. I have been putting ideas in my husbands head to get me a kitchen aide for our anniversary. If i get that, this might be the first thing i will try. 🙂

    • Sadia trust me, kneading isn’t difficult at all! If you feel like you can’t do it, see a few videos on YouTube and maybe you’ll get an idea of how the strokes are supposed to be..but I can’t blame you for wanting Kitchen Aid.. I have that on my wish list too 😊 in the meantime, why don’t you knead smaller batches of normal dough.. Maybe wheat and then go on to bread making. It’s really easy!

      • I do make chapathis n puris. Being an indian cant live without making those. But i get all doubtful when making breads or pizza doughs, coz i am not sure if how long i should knead it, or should the dough be hard or soft etc etc.

      • If you make chapatis and puris then you know exactly what the dough should be like. Only knead it with hands for 7-8 minutes. The key is to knead until the dough is springy, so when you poke it with your finger, it should spring back slowly.
        Try it once ! If you can make dough for chapatis you can make dough for any sort of bread! Trust me, it’s easy! I was scared of it too but not anymore 🙂

      • Hmmm kk. I think i am convinced. I will try my hands on making breads. Actually to be frank, i had made a pizza for a party two years back. I was overconfident and i made the pizza dough also by myself coz i had made it before and it had turned out pretty ok. And oh my God, that was the worst crust ever. It was actually the hardest thing on earth. Hehe! I was so embarrassed in front of my guests. Thats when i stopped this business of bread making. Will definitely start again. Maybe with pizza dough itself. Thanks a loot dear. 🙂 🙂 ❤ ❤

      • Haha,. Everyone has at least one embarrassing story! I once baked a cake as hard as a stone, I literally had to use two hands to cut it! I didn’t stop making cakes..You should totally go back to bread making. I’m sure you’ll be great with it! 🙂 best luck!

  2. I know what you mean about being scared with bread making. I tried a few times and was never as good as my mom, so I switched into more sweet stuff. It turns out I also just had to learn some patience. 🙂 I wouldn’t say all bread recipes are easy now, but at least I have a bit more confidence than before. This bread looks really tasty. I love caramelized onions on flatbreads, pizzas, focaccia.

    • That’s what I did! I was sure that I didn’t have it in me to bake breads so I switched to sweet stuff too, but quite honestly I’m enjoying making breads now that I’ve learnt the technique.
      I agree with you.. It’s about the confidence really! I’m a little intimidated with cakes too because they fall apart and I’m not a perfect baker. But who is?!
      I too adore the flavour of Caramelized onions.. Iike another blogger commented.. There’s nothing wrong with them! 🙂
      Thanks for commenting and visiting my page! 🙂

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