slices of focaccia stacked on a black plate. Each slice is topped with cheese, herbs, and a ring of pazazz apple slice.

Food Gals Cheese Focaccia with Pazazz


3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) bread flour
2 3/4 cups (about 1 pound) semolina flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons (about 15 grams) active dry yeast (about 2 packets)
2 1/2 cups warm water between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
1 1/2 cups finely grated Pecorino cheese, divided use
2 Pazazz apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thin rings
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Balsamic vinegar, for dunking (optional)


Make the dough: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the two flours with the salt, sugar, and yeast. Add the warm water and the olive oil, and knead on medium speed until the dough comes together, forms a ball on the hook, and develops a sheen, 12 to 15 minutes. Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the center. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside at room temperature to rise until it has tripled in volume, 2 to 3 hours.

Second proofing: Grease a half sheet pan (about 18-by-13 inches) with a little olive oil and press the dough into it as best you can. It will shrink back and only fill about half of the pan. Let it rest for 20 minutes, and then sprinkle 1 cup of the Pecorino over the dough and press it in, stretching the dough to cover the whole pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set it aside at room temperature until the dough rises nearly to the plastic wrap, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Position a rack in the center of the oven.

Bake: Remove the plastic wrap from the pan and use your index finger to press rows of dimples into the dough, spacing them a few inches apart. Arrange apple rings evenly over the top in one layer, then sprinkle over the rosemary. Place the pan in the oven on the center rack and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the focaccia is golden brown, about another 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Pecorino — or less — over the focaccia, to your taste. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes in the pan before cutting it into squares. Serve the focaccia with more olive oil or balsamic for dunking if you like.

Store leftover focaccia in an airtight container for up to 3 days on the countertop or in the refrigerator. Reheat in a toaster oven to enjoy.

Amount: 16 to 20 squares

By:  Carolyn Jung with The Food Gal

Adapted from “Cook with Me”‘ by Alex Guarnaschelli