Semolina Fig Focaccia
Sweet pockets of soft fig dot this bread, making it a great partner with hard, salty cheeses such as aged pecorino and a selection of charcuterie, including silky prosciutto. I like to serve it cut into individual squares to frame whatever I’m serving with it.
Rehydrate the figs by soaking them in hot water for about 20 minutes; drain. Cut off the stems, and chop coarsely.
Add the yeast and honey to the warm water. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast dissolves and bubbles. In the bowl of a standing mixer (or a large mixing bowl if making by hand), mix together the bread flour, semolina, and salt. Add the yeast mixture and olive oil, and mix well.
In a stand mixer with dough hook attachment, knead for about 5 minutes (or 8 to 10 minutes by hand). The dough should be soft and supple but not sticky. Add more water if it is too dry. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop, and shape it into a rectangle. Press the figs on top. Fold one-third of the dough down from the top and one-third up from the bottom to encase the figs in a letter fold. Knead briefly to work the figs throughout.
Form the dough into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rest about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Stretch or roll out the dough to fit an oiled 12" by 17" pan. When it is arranged in the pan, loosely cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 450ºF.
Remove the plastic wrap. Use your fingertips to make small indentations all over the top of the dough. Drizzle with additional olive oil; sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on top. The focaccia should be warm or cool before you cut it.
Written by Emily Gold
Photography by John Gruen