parmesan & onion focaccia.

I love lazy Saturday mornings.

It’s the one day of the week that I can just roll out of bed at 10am and bake to my heart’s content.

I wanted to make something special for my little brother who was coming to visit from college, and I’ve been really inspired to do something with this bottle of balsamic vinegar I splurged on at L’Appetito, my favorite Italian deli in Chicago.

Once I settled on making a rustic focaccia, I went back and forth between an elegant sea salt & rosemary focaccia or a cheesy parmesan focaccia.

I separately asked Mr. Peaches and my brother which variation they would prefer.

Both responded with “Just the cheese, please!”

Story of my life.

Cheese is always a #1 seller in my house.

I’m sure it is in yours too.

Focaccia bread is awesome because it stays really moist, which is due in part to the practice of dotting the dough and then spreading olive oil over it before rising and baking.

And the Parmesan topping gives it a nice salty bite — a heavenly snack, I’d say.

We served this focaccia dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a snack, but you could also serve it as a side for your next Italian dinner, as a base for pizza, or as sandwich bread.


ciao bella,
peaches & cake

Parmesan & Onion Focaccia
Recipe from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook: The Essential Recipe Collection for Today’s Home Cook
Makes 1 large oval focaccia

Printer-friendly version

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. + 2 tsp. sugar
  • ½ cup + another 1 cup warm water (about 105 to 115 degrees)
  • ¼ cup olive oil + another ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups flour, plus extra as needed (I used unbleached bread flour, but all-purpose flour will work as well)
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, Asiago, or Bella Vitano
  • For herb focaccia (optional variation): Course sea or kosher salt for sprinkling and about 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or oregano (omit the cheese)
  • For serving: good-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil


  • Stand mixer with a paddle and dough hook attachment
  • Parchment paper
  • Plastic wrap
  • Heavy-rimmed baking sheet
  • Pastry brush
  • Baking stone (If available. It’s okay if you don’t have one.)

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sprinkle the yeast and a teaspoon of the sugar over ½ cup of the warm water and stir to dissolve. Let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 6-7 minutes.

Add the remaining water, sugar, ¼ cup of the olive oil, salt, and 1 cup of the flour. Beat on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the onion.

Switch to the dough hook. On low speed, beat in the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, until a soft, shaggy dough forms that starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on low speed, adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough sticks, until moist, soft, and slightly sticky, about 4 minutes. Place dough in a bowl greased with a tiny bit of olive oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let rest for 20 minutes.

Line a heavy-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the paper lightly with oil. Turn the dough out onto the prepared sheet. With oiled fingers, press and flatten the dough into an oval 1-inch thick. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. It will be at least 2 inches thick.

With your fingertips, make deep indentations 1 inch apart all over the surface of the dough, almost to the bottom of the pan. Brush with the remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425˚F. If available, place a baking stone on the bottom oven rack. If you don’t have a stone, just proceed with the recipe as directed.

Sprinkle the bread lightly with the freshly grated cheese. (If making herb focaccia, omit the cheese and sprinkle all over with kosher or sea salt, then about 1 ½ tablespoons of herbs.)

Place the pan on top of the stone (or directly on the lower oven rack if you’re not using a stone) and bake until the bread is lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes (this may take longer if you’re not using a stone), or until a thermometer inserted into the loaf registers about 210 degrees. Check the bottom and bake a few extra minutes if it is pale.

Serve warm or at room temperature cut into squares, long rectangles, or wedges with good-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or slice in half width-wise and use as sandwich bread.

3 responses to “parmesan & onion focaccia.

  1. Kathy

    Ooh! That looks (almost) too pretty to eat!

  2. Pingback: rosemary & garlic focaccia. « peaches & cake


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