It’s all about good cheese accentuated with delicate flavor of fresh herbs. I wouldn’t add anything else to the topping.
Obviously, it makes a great lunch paired with a big green salad.
Makes one 10×15-inch foccacia
For the dough:
- 1 ¼ cups warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
For the cheese topping:
- 5 oz (about 1 cup) coarsely grated fresh mozzarella
- 4 oz (½ cup) mild soft goat cheese
- 1 oz (¼ cup) Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
- 2 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
- 2 tbsp finely chopped basil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped thyme
- 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
- heaped¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup whipping cream, at room temperature
Pour the water into a bowl of the stand mixer, whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover with plastic and let stand in a warm place until foamy, about 15 minutes. Add the oil, flour, and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is combined. Attach the bowl to the mixer base fitted with a dough hook. Knead on medium speed for 4 minutes. Dough should clean the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough into a large oil-sprayed bowl, cover with plastic and put into a warm place until doubled, for about 40 minutes or so.
Center the oven rack and preheat the oven and a baking stone (if you have one) to 400F. Oil a 10×15-inch baking pan. Make sure it’s not a shallow jelly-roll pan. The sides need to be at least 1-inch tall or the filling will overflow. You can build up the sides by using heavy duty foil, folded several times.
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it or stretch it to fit into the bottom of the prepared pan. Make sure the dough fills the corners of the pan. If it resists, cover the dough with plastic and let it relax for 10 minutes, then stretch it further. Dock the dough all over with a fork, cover the pan with oiled plastic wrap and let the dough puff again in a warm place, for about 30 minutes.
When the final rise is almost finished, start working on the cheese topping. In a large bowl, combine the mozzarella and goat cheese. First, mash the cheeses with a fork, then switch to an electric mixer and beat until relatively smooth. Mix in the Parmesan, herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper and mix until combined. On low speed, mix in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the cream. Pour the cheese mixture over the risen crust and slide into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 400F, then reduce the oven temperature to 375F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is nicely brown and the crust is baked through. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes, then unmold, cool on the rack until warm, and serve. It’s terrific warm, but leftovers are quite good at room temperature the following day as well.