Zucchini Focaccia with Levain Pizza Dough

The first dish I posted on this blog was a roasted vegetables focaccia less than a year ago. It’s the summer season. Zucchini of different colors and shapes are gorgeous and plentiful in the farmers’ market once again. I couldn’t help but going back to the vegetable focaccia. This time with a versatile pure levain pizza dough without added baker’s yeast. A full character dough that can be used for both pizza and focaccia.

The dough needs an overnight rest, but the resulting complex flavor of the focaccia is worthy of the extra time and finesse. This artisanal focaccia written by Ken Forkish was inspired by the Neapolitan or New York-style pizza. Focaccia like this one is here and here to stay in my kitchen.

Despite the hot summer weather, my oven continues to burn radiant hot. My pizza crust is getting thinner over time as I gain experience in tossing and shaping the dough. Other than pizzas baked in the inferno of wood-fired ovens, this focaccia is as good as any artisanal one. Fortunately, I have a dual-fuel oven that can be cranked up to 550°F. The oven temperature has to be very high (or at the highest temperature setting of your oven) so that the top, the bottom and the rim of the crust all turn golden brown with a slight char. This combination of look and texture is harder to achieve than just a good-tasting pie. Go for these structural characteristics, it’s a beautiful thing!



Next time I’d consider raising the oven temperature to 550°F

I especially like making focaccia for a crowd; it’s more forgiving than making pizza. It’s good served at room temperature. Hence you can bake it up to an hour ahead of time. Focaccia can be baked in a cast-iron skillet or on a sheet pan, much less intimidating than transferring a pizza on a peel and onto the pizza stone.

Overproofing the dough is not an issue with focaccia since you’re not looking for optimal oven spring. In fact, overproofing allows the dough to spread out and hold the finger dents where you want them. A great convenience when it comes to flexibility of dough development. Top the focaccia with whatever you like or whatever you have on hand. Or, if you so desire, keep it minimalist. Simply drizzle extra-virgin olive oil and some small-flake sea salt. You have a wonderful focaccia made!


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