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Courgette & Parmesan Focaccia

Courgette & Parmesan Focaccia

What makes bread even better? Cheese! Pro baker and Pizza Taste Tester Bryan Ford’s recipe uses plenty of grated Parmesan along with delicate courgette strips to pack this pillowy focaccia with extra punch.

Makes 4 loaves

500g (17.6oz) all purpose flour
300g (10.6oz) bread flour
200g (7oz) whole wheat flour
3 tsp instant yeast (or 20g (0.7oz) fresh yeast)
710g (25oz) water
100g (3.5oz) brown sugar
10g (0.4oz) honey
100g (3.5oz) olive oil
25g (0.9oz) salt
Sea salt
1 large courgette (zucchini), sliced into thin strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of rosemary, leaves removed
200g (7oz) Parmesan, grated


Reserve 60 grams of the water and set aside.

In a large bowl, add all the flours, yeast, brown sugar and honey. Add all the remaining water and mix together using your hands until there is no more dry flour and you have a sticky, elastic dough. Cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) or a cloth, and rest for 20 minutes.

Once the dough has rested, add the salt and slowly add the 60 grams of water that was set aside initially. Squeeze the salt and water into the dough using your hands. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and gently knead and fold the dough for about 10 minutes. Be careful not to tear the dough.

Once your dough is almost smooth, it’s ready for bulk fermentation. Oil a clean bowl and place the dough inside. Cover and leave to rise for 2 hours.

After 30 minutes, turn the dough onto your work surface and stretch and fold the dough 4-5 times, pulling the dough from the sides and folding into the middle. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to continue fermenting for the remaining 1.5 hours of bulk fermentation.

Flour your work surface, turn the dough out and divide it into 4 pieces that each weigh 500 grams.

Starting with the first piece of dough, pat it down and form it into a square shape. You can use extra flour to help with handling the sticky dough. Roll into a tight cylinder – with the longer side of the dough facing toward you, put your hands over the dough with your finger tips touching but your palms facing towards you. Use the outside of your pinky fingers to lift the long side of the rectangle and fold it into the dough. Tighten the dough and repeat until you have rolled it all the way. You want to try to add tension with your pinky fingers and use your hands to push down to create a seam. 

Repeat for the remaining 3 pieces of dough. Dust a proofing tray or large baking sheet with flour, place the dough pieces on top and cover each with olive oil and sea salt.

It's now time to proof the dough. Cover the dough pieces and leave to prove for 2-3 hours, or until the dough is extremely soft to the touch. You can also proof the dough overnight in the fridge; be sure to remove the dough from the fridge to bring it back up to room temperature before following the next steps.

Once your dough is almost ready, fire up your Ooni pizza oven. Aim for 315˚C (600˚F) on the stone baking board inside. You can check the temperature inside your oven quickly and easily using the Ooni Infrared Thermometer.

Drizzle a little olive oil onto a large baking sheet, and transfer the first piece of dough over to the baking sheet. Coat the dough with olive oil, and spread the dough into a rectangle shape by docking the dough – use your fingers to press into the dough using your fingertips and the length of your pinky fingers – until you have an even pattern of peaks and valleys in the dough. Be careful not to tear through the bottom of the dough, and keep the dough to a size that will fit your pizza peel.

Scatter the minced garlic over the dough and press with the courgette into the dough, leaving some space around the edge of the dough to form a crust. Sprinkle over some fresh parmesan and freshly cracked black pepper. Flour your pizza peel, transfer the dough to the peel and launch into your Ooni pizza oven.

Rotating rectangular dough can be a bit challenging, so make sure you keep an eye on it as it cooks. Cook each side for about 20-30 seconds, turning as each side begins to develop a nice colour  Check the bottom of the loaf to to test that the loaf is cooking evenly.

Once the focaccia is cooked, or when it has a nice dark brown and charred colour  top with some of the rosemary and more grated parmesan. Repeat for the remaining 3 pieces of dough.

Enjoy warm with olive oil and balsamic vinegar! Or by itself. Do your thing!

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