Savory Pumpkin Focaccia
If you are a firm believer in not changing the classics, or if you hate unique combinations/culinary experimentation/pumpkin season, then this pumpkin focaccia with pumpkin seeds, shallots and fresh herbs isn’t for you. If you like pumpkin spice lattes, gluten, and trying new, fun baked goods that are different than anything you’ve ever had before…then this IS for you!
When I was developing this recipe, I could never put my finger on *why* I love this focaccia. It’s one of those things that I can’t stop eating whenever it’s in front of me, but I can’t figure out which part of it is my favorite. Is it the nutty, spongy dough that’s soaked in floral olive oil? Is it that combination of pumpkin seeds, shallots and herbs WITH the dough? Is it the sea salt on top? WHY do I love this so much?!?! I still don’t know the answer, but maybe you can figure it out for me.
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Before I get to the steps so you can make this yourself, I want to highlight that this pumpkin focaccia would be a very impressive and seasonal side dish at a dinner party, Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving. It’s a BREAD for god’s sake…so making that from scratch and making something no one has ever had before is impressive x 92103802384 (as long as your friends are the type to appreciate a fun dining experience.) Along with being an impressive side, it’s also a great bread to make for the week. I prep this on Sunday night, and then I eat a piece with some fried eggs for lunch. Or I have a slice with olive oil as a snack.
What type of olive oil did you use?
When making focaccia, it’s important to use a flavorful extra virgin olive oil. When I say flavorful, I really mean great quality cold pressed olive oil that naturally has flavor. I’m not talking about infused olive oil or anything of that nature. The brand of olive oil I used is California Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Can I make this on a thin sheet pan instead of a casserole dish?
Yes, you can but I don’t think you should. In my opinion, a thicker pan is best for the texture/flavor of this particular focaccia. I tried a thin, crunchy version and it didn’t hit the same. I’m not sure why, but that’s my personal opinion.
|For the focaccia:|
|3 1/2cups bread flour|
|2tsp diamond kosher salt|
|2 1/4tsp Fleischmanns instant yeast|
|2tsp pumpkin spice (optional, you can also use cinnamon and nutmeg to taste)|
|1 1/4cups water that's heated to 125-130 degrees F|
|3/4cup plain pumpkin puree (*if using spiced pumpkin purée, skip the pumpkin spice)|
|1/2cup extra virgin olive oil|
|For the toppings - use as much or as little as you want:|
|Thinly sliced shallots|
|unsalted pumpkin seeds|
|Chopped fresh sage|
|Finely chopped fresh rosemary|
|9 x 13 baking dish|
|Standing mixer with kneading attachment|
In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the flour, kosher salt, instant yeast and pumpkin spice until combined.
Measure your water and use an internal thermometor to ensure the temp is 125-135 degrees F (or according to yeast packaging.) Pour the 2 tbsp of honey into the water and stir until combined. Pour the honey water into the flour mixture.
Using the hook (kneading) attachment, knead on low speed as the water incorporates into the flour. Add the pumpkin puree 1/4 cup at a time, until combined. Adjust the speed to medium high. Knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough is combined and very sticky. It will look like a yeasty batter - that's totally fine! You don't wait it too thick or you might as well be making a loaf of bread (trust me, I tested that too.)
Adjust the speed to medium low. Slowly 1/4 cup of olive oil around the edges of the bowl, as the dough is kneading, and it will slowly begin to separate the dough from the bowl. Turn off the mixer. If you still have pieces of sticky dough that's stuck to the bowl and not incorporated, use oiled hands to fold it into the large ball of dough. Try your best to form this dough into a ball or a cohesive round shape (it's very wet and sticky so do your best here.)
Lightly oil a large mixing bowl. Transfer the ball of dough to the mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Add a generous splash of olive oil to the center of a 9x13 baking dish. Spread it out all over the pan to make it non-stick. Lightly punch the air out of the dough and transfer to the baking dish.
Push each corner of dough out to fill the baking dish. If you're feeling resistance and the dough won't stretch, let it rest for 2-3 minutes, then return to stretching it out until it's in the shape of the rectangular pan.
Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise again, until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Leave the baking dish on the stovetop. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Use this rising time to prep the toppings.
Using oiled hands, dimple the focaccia to your liking. Drizzle remaining olive oil on top. Add the toppings to your taste. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and puffed on top.
Wait at least 10 minutes before slicing it up and serving. Enjoy the same day if possible! Or it will keep for 1-2 more days at room temp.