There are always some plans for weekends, and cooking is seldom the first priority unless we are having people over. So, having pizza or filled focaccia on our weekend menu is a good choice since most of work – making the dough – is done in advance. All I need to do the following day is to fix a quick salad while this thing is baking.

This focaccia is doubled-baked. First, it’s baked in a pan, then split horizontally, generously brushed with extra-virgin olive oil, filled, and baked again until the cheese is melted. If you are a happy owner of a panini grill, I definitely recommend to use it here. Unfortunately, I had to follow a more conventional way of cooking.

Serves about 4

For the dough:

  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 225g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt + some coarse salt for sprinkling over top before baking

For the filling:

  • About ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz good quality prosciutto, thinly sliced

Make the dough:

The dough can be prepared in advance and kept refrigerated for a couple of days.

In the mixer bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Cover the bowl; place it into a warm place for 10 minutes, until the yeast mixture is foamy. Stir in the olive oil. Whisk together the flour and salt and then gradually add to the yeast mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined. Attach the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead at medium speed for 4 minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl, be soft and slightly sticky. Transfer the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place into a warm place to rise, for about 1 ½ hours or until doubled. After this, you can punch the dough down and keep it covered in the refrigerator for 2 days. Bring to room temperature before forming.

Bake the focaccia, fill it, and bake again:

Oil 9 or 10-inch round springform pan. Transfer the dough into the pan and stretch it with your hands until it covers the bottom of the pan completely. If the dough resists, cover the pan with plastic wrap or dish towel and let the gluten to relax. Then, continue stretching. Cover the pan with oiled plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until the dough is almost doubled, for about 1hr.

Meanwhile, place a baking stone (if you have it) on the middle rack and preheat the oven to 450F.

Dimple the top of the focaccia with your fingers, brush or drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with the coarse salt (don’t overdo the salt since the prosciutto is very salty itself). Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Unmold the focaccia and cool on a rack before slicing and filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 375F.

Slice the focaccia in half horizontally, brush both halves (insides) with the oil, fill with the mozzarella and prosciutto. Bake again until the cheese is melting, about 15 minutes. Serve at once.
It might be easier to cut the “lid” into wedges first, and then replace them again over the filling, place the focaccia onto a serving platter and serve. This way the filling won’t ooze out as you slice and it will look more presentable.