Do you have a favorite focaccia recipe? This fig focaccia with gruyere cheese by Cook’s Country is the kind of bread you could bring onto a cheese plate, serve up as appetizers, or dunk into soup. You could even make sandwiches with sliced pieces of it for something different.
Baking with Biga
If this is your first time baking with a biga starter, you’re in for a treat. This simple act of combining the yeast with warm water and flour and then letting it ferment for 8-24 hours helps your bread build structure and flavor. It does require a little bit of planning for the biga to rest, but offers a different way to bake bread than using a sourdough starter or just yeast in a single day bake.
For this fig focaccia recipe, we use our Sun-Maid or Orchard Choice California Mission Dried Figs for that familiar sweet fig flavor. You could also use our Golden Dried Figs for a more delicate sweetness and nutty taste. Either way the figs pair well with the nuttiness of the Gruyere cheese, the cheese melts with the figs and crisp on top.
Baking Tips for Better Focaccia
If you don’t have a baking stone, bake the bread on an overturned, preheated rimmed baking sheet set on the middle oven rack.
By pouring the olive oil into the pan and then sprinkling in the salt, when sliding the dough—both sides—is a more fool-proof way to make sure the bread gets nicely coated in oil and salt.
Poking the holes with a fork is a great way to deflate the bubbles so the crumb of the fig focaccia is more uniform, but still has the bounce inside that is beloved in focaccia.
The bread can be kept for up to 2 days well wrapped at room temperature or frozen for 2 months wrapped in foil and placed in a zipper-lock bag.
Focaccia with California Figs and Gruyere Cheese
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour unbleached
- 1/3 cup warm water 100-110°F
- 1 tsp yeast instant or rapid-rise
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour unbleached, plus extra for shaping
- 1 1/4 cups warm water 100-110°F
- 1 tsp yeast instant or rapid-rise
- Kosher salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil extra-virgin
- 1 1/2 cup Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs stemmed and chopped into 1/4" pieces
- 3 ounces Gruyere cheese shredded
- Combine flour, water, and yeast in large bowl and stir with wooden spoon until uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains, about 1 minute. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature (about 70 degrees) overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.) Use immediately or store in refrigerator for up to 3 days (allow to stand at room temperature 30 minutes before proceeding with recipe.)
- Stir flour, water, and yeast into biga with wooden spoon until uniform mass forms and no dry flour remains, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle 2 teaspoons salt over dough; stir into dough until thoroughly incorporated, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 30 minutes. Spray rubber spatula or bowl scraper with nonstick cooking spray; fold partially risen dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. Turn bowl 90 degrees; fold again. Turn bowl and fold dough 6 more times (total of 8 turns). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat folding, turning, and rising 2 more times, for total of three 30-minute rises. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position, place baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees at least 30 minutes before baking.
- Gently transfer dough to lightly floured counter. Lightly dust top of dough with flour and divide in half. Shape each piece of dough into 5-inch round by gently tucking under edges. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Sprinkle each pan with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Place round of dough in pan, topside down; slide dough around pan to coat bottom and sides, then flip over. Repeat with second piece of dough. Cover pans with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Using fingertips, press dough out toward edges of pan. (If dough resists stretching, let it relax for 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.) Using dinner fork, poke surface of dough 25 to 30 times, popping any large bubbles. Sprinkle figs and Gruyere evenly over top of dough. Let dough rest until slightly bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Place pans on baking stone. Bake until tops are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, switching placement of pans halfway through baking. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pan and return to wire rack. Brush tops with any oil remaining in pan. Let cool 30 minutes before serving.