Guest post: baking barrister?s spinach & cheese stuffed focaccia

4 servings
15 min
25 min
Very Easy




  • Make the Starter. Dissolve yeast in water and mix together with flour. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 14 hours. Sponge will have grown significantly and be bubbly.
  • Make the Dough. In the bowl of a mixer, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Add in the entirety of the starter and the olive oil. Mix for 30 seconds to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and nonfat dry milk. Turning your mixer onto low-medium, slowly add the dry ingredients.
  • Once incorporated, you have two choices. One, you can remove dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand. Or two, you can attach your dough hook to your mixer and mix on medium for about 7 minutes until dough cleans the sides. Dough is ready when smooth, soft and slightly tacky to the touch.
  • Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let rise for 1 hour, until doubled. Using your knuckles, gently push down to deflate the dough. Cover back up and allow to rise for another hour until doubled.
  • After deflating the dough, make the Filling. Add a pool of 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the middle of a large pan. Place minced garlic in the olive oil, allowing to sit for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and soft. Spread around pan and add spinach. Using tongs, toss the spinach with the olive oil and garlic.
  • Allow spinach to cook all the way down, occasionally pressing with the back of a spatula to remove as much excess liquid as possible. Set aside to cool.
  • When dough has risen, split in half. Pat each half into a 12″ x 8″ rectangle. Spread spinach mixture evenly amongst the two pieces, taking care to leave about an inch barrier around the edges. Add cheese.
  • Fold two opposite edges of the rectangle to the center and pat down. Take the other two edges and repeat, kind of like folding an envelope. You will end up with a thick square. Gently press to flatten.
  • Spray two 9″ x 13″ pans, or a large sheet pan, then brush with olive oil. Place breads into the pans, and gently flatten, lightly pushing out towards the edges. When the dough starts to spring back, wait 15 minutes and press more. Try hard not to expose the filling. Dough should almost fill the pan.
  • Cover and allow to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until bread is puffy. It will be extremely puffy, almost billowy. Near the end of the rise time, preheat oven to 425F.
  • Using your fingers, gently dimple the focaccia, trying not to deflate it as much as possible. Spray heavily with warm water, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and basil.
  • Bake focaccia for 8 minutes and then rotate pans in oven. Bake for another 5 minutes, sprinkle with asiago or parmesan, and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes until golden. Remove from pan and allow to cool before cutting. Warm in oven to before serving.


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