Focaccia with olives. Super soft and fluffy!

This delicious focaccia with olives have an amazingly soft and fluffy texture that will remains like that for days after baked. It also has a nice crunchy bottom and a wonderful smell that will make your kitchen and heart sings!

The focaccia with olives is perfect to accompany the aperitif, prepare it when you have guests at home and you will see how it disappears in a matter of minutes.

Italian focaccia is one of our favourite bread at home and we make it at least once every month and the recipe has never failed us. We also prepare it sometimes using sourdough starter.

About the yeast and resting times

Take in mind that this focaccia with olives use a very small amount of yeast, thus it needs long proofing times. Is not one of those quick-and-fast breads, so, if you want a fragrant and delicious focaccia, just follow the recipe.

But, if you want a more quick recipe, double the amount of yeast and lower the resting times, taking in mind though that the flavour will noticeable change.

Tip for the proofing

If you making this focaccia with olives when the weather is too cold we suggest to use your oven as a proofing box. Just turn the light inside about 30 minutes before you making the dough, then place the bowl with the dough inside and shut the door, but DON’T turn on the oven! The light will be enough to create the warmth need it for your dough to rise.

Otherwise: Place a container on the bottom of the oven and fill it with boiling water, this will create also a steamy environment which is perfect for proofing bread’s dough! Don’t forget to change the water every 30-40 minutes to keep the warmth going on.

The trick for the softest focaccia

Is simple, use potato flakes to give your focaccia that extra softness touch! Yes, the same potato flakes that are used to make instant mashed potatoes.

If you don’t have potato flakes at home you can boil a large potato until very tender, then peel it and mashed to obtain about 1 cup (100 gr) of potato pure. Let it cool down before using it in the recipe.

How much liquid to use?

The water used will depend on the strength of the flour you’re using or if you adding potato flakes or mashed potatoes that you boiled at home. So my recommendation is to set aside about 4 tablespoons (50ml) of the total water the recipe calls, and add it only if the dough is too dry when you’re kneading it.

Step By Step Recipe

Disclaimer: While I posted the measurements also in US cups, if you want better results, I strongly suggest to use a kitchen scale instead, specially for baking recipes.

make the poolish

In a medium bowl place 1 cup + 2 tbsp (200ml) of water, add the yeast, honey and 1 cup (about 120gr) of flour. Mix well until a runny mixture forms. This is called poolish or pre-ferment.

making the poolish.

Cover the bowl with cling film and let it sit for about 2 hours in a warm environment (see notes above).

the poolish after two hours.
Poolish after resting for 2 hours

Prepare the dough

Place about 3.4 fluid oz (100ml) of water in a cup, add the salt and mix throughly until disolved. Set aside.

Add the oil, potato flakes and the remaining flour to the bowl with the poolish, then pour the water with salt. Using a spatula mix the ingredients until combined, add the remaining water if the dough is too dry.

Making the dough in a bowl with the poolish and the rest of the ingredients.

Place the dough on a work surface and flour it lightly, knead for 2-3 minutes, just enough to to make a elastic and soft dough that will stick a little to your hands, if the dough is too dry add one or two tablespoons of water.

Form a ball and place it inside a bowl previously greased with a little bit of oil.

Kneading the dough and placing the dough ball in a bowl.

Cover the bowl and let the dough proof in a warm environment for about 3-4 hours, depending in the temperature. The dough should at least double in size after proofing.

The dough after proofing for four hours.
The dough after proofing

Flour lightly a work surface, place the dough and fold it a few times as shown in the video or the photos below. Form a small folded rectangle.

Folding the dough into a rectangle.

Lightly grease a baking tray of about 8,5 x 12,5 inches (22×32 cm) and place the dough on it. Gently press and flatten the dough with your hands until almost all the tray bottom is covered.

Cover the tray with cling film and let the dough rest for 1 hour in a warm place.

Placing the dough on the baking tray.

prepare the brine

While the dough is resting, prepare the brine: Place the water in a glass, add the salt and the olive oil mix throughly until combined. Set aside.

Drain the olives and place them in a bowl. Set aside.

Making the brine and placing the olives in a small bowl.

30 minutes before the focaccia finish the last proofing time, heat the oven at 440°F (225°C) with the steamer on. If your oven doesn’t have that option follow this suggestion:

Bring to a boil about 4 cups of water in a oven-proof sauce pan, as soon as it starts to boil and in the very moment you’re placing the focaccia inside the oven, place the sauce pan on the bottom, then follow the steps to bake the focaccia as indicated below.

Make the focaccia

After the last proofing you’ll notice that the dough have expanded reaching the borders of the baking tray.

The dough after proofing in the baking tray.
The dough after resting on the baking tray

Now, using your finger tips make the classic little dimples on the focaccia. If you have long nails and to avoid ripping the dough, use your knuckles instead. Flour lightly your fingers to prevent the dough sticking to your hands.

Making the small holes with our fingers to make the focaccia.

Pour the brine over the focaccia making sure all the surface is well soaked. Distribute the olives on top and sprinkle with dried oregano.

Pouring the brine on top the focaccia, then garnishing with olives and oregano.

Bake at 440°F (225°C) with the steam on -or use a container with water as suggested above- for about 12 minutes.

Turn the steam off (or take off the container with water), low the heat to 375°F (190°C) and keep baking until the focaccia is golden brown (between 10 and 15 minutes) and when you lift it a bit with a knife, it has the bottom dry and crunchy.

The focaccia with olives just out of the oven after baked.
Focaccia with olives just after baked

Sourdough Focaccia With Olives

If you want to make this focaccia with olives using sourdough starter instead of yeast, you don’t need to make the poolish.

Prepare the dough the night before (around 9-10 pm) using the flour, salt, potato flakes, 1 1/4 cup (300 ml) of water and 3 1/2 tablespoons (60 gr) of sourdough starter (100% hydration)

Knead for 3-4 minutes, then let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Knead again until you’ll have a soft and elastic dough as its shown on the video.

Place the dough in a plastic container with a lid and leave it to proof overnight at room temperature; if it’s too hot, place the container in the fridge, just remember to take it off the first thing in the morning and allow the dough to reach room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.

How To Store

Wrap your focaccia leftovers with cling film to prevent it from drying, it will keep the bread very soft. You can also place it (after you cut it) in an airtight container.

You can re-heat it for a few minutes in the oven at 375°F (190°C) or in a skillet on the stove, it will make it crunchy again on the bottom but still be soft in the middle.

Watch The Video

Focaccia with olives

This delicious focaccia with olives have an amazingly soft and fluffy texture that will remains like that for days after baked. It also has a nice crunchy bottom and a wonderful smell that will make your kitchen and heart sing!
PREP 30 minutes
COOK 25 minutes
resting time 7 hours
TOTAL 7 hours 55 minutes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 1
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 300 gr (2 cups + 6 tbsp) strong bread flour, with at least 11% of protein
  • 30 gr (5 tbsp) potato flakes (or 1 cup of plain mashed potatoes)
  • 300-350 ml (1 ½) cups water
  • 15 gr (3 tsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2,5 gr (1 tsp) dry yeast (or 8.5 gr fresh yeast)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 8 gr (½ tbsp) salt
  • 150 gr (⅔ cup) pitted green olives in brine ( drained)

For the brine

  • 50 ml (¼ cup) water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 20 gr (1 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

MAKE THE POOLISH

  • In a medium bowl place 1 cup + 2 tbsp (200ml) of water, add the yeast, honey and 1 cup (about 120gr) of flour. Mix well until a runny mixture forms.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film and let it sit for about 2 hours in a warm environment.

PREPARE THE DOUGH

  • Place about 3.4 fluid oz (100ml) of water in a cup, add the salt and mix throughly until disolved. Set aside.
  • Add the oil, potato flakes and the remaining flour to the bowl with the poolish, then pour the water with salt.
  • Using a spatula mix the ingredients until combined, add the remaining water if the dough is too dry.
  • Place the dough on a work surface and flour it lightly, knead for 2-3 minutes, just enough to to make a elastic and soft dough that will stick a little to your hands, if the dough is too dry add one or two tablespoons of water.
  • Form a ball and place it inside a bowl previously greased with a little bit of oil.
  • Cover the bowl and let the dough proof in a warm environment for about 3-4 hours, depending in the temperature. The dough should at least double in size after proofing.
  • Flour lightly a work surface, place the dough and fold it a few times as shown in the video or the photos below. Form a small folded rectangle.
  • Lightly grease a baking tray of about 8,5 x 12,5 inches (22×32 cm) and place the dough on it. Gently press and flatten the dough with your hands until almost all the tray bottom is covered.
  • Cover the tray with cling film and let the dough rest for 1 hour in a warm place.

PREPARE THE BRINE

  • While the dough is resting, prepare the brine: Place the water in a glass, add the salt and the olive oil mix throughly until combined. Set aside.
  • Drain the olives and place them in a bowl. Set aside.

MAKE THE FOCACCIA

  • After the last proofing you’ll notice that the dough have expanded reaching the borders of the baking tray.
  • Now, using your finger tips make the classic little dimples on the focaccia. If you have long nails and to avoid ripping the dough, use your knuckles instead. Flour lightly your fingers to prevent the dough sticking to your hands.
  • Pour the brine over the focaccia making sure all the surface is well soaked. Distribute the olives on top and sprinkle with dried oregano.

BAKE

  • Bake at 440°F (225°C) with the steam on -or use a container with water as suggested in the notes- for about 12 minutes.
  • Turn the steam off (or take off the container with water), low the heat to 375°F (190°C) and keep baking until the focaccia is golden brown (between 10 and 15 minutes) and when you lift it a bit with a knife, it has the bottom dry and crunchy.

NOTES

BAKING:
30 minutes before the focaccia finish the last proofing time, heat the oven at 440°F (225°C) with the steamer on. If your oven doesn’t have that option follow this suggestion:
Bring to a boil about 4 cups of water in a oven-proof sauce pan, as soon as it starts to boil and in the very moment you’re placing the focaccia inside the oven, place the sauce pan on the bottom, then follow the steps to bake the focaccia as indicated below.
Nutrition
Serving: 1grams
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