With our focaccia recipe, we followed a tradition from northern parts of Italy where lard is added to the dough to give it a soft, slightly flaky texture. We figured duck fat can do the same, and we were right; our duck fat makes deliciously rich focaccia bread. Topped with fresh herbs and flaky salt, it’s wonderful on its own, as a soup or salad accompaniment, or as the vehicle for your favorite sandwich fillings. If you have any leftovers, make croutons for an epic panzanella salad. Equally delicious warm from the oven or cold, focaccia is a great weekend baking project.
This yeasty bread is an Italian favorite but is also found in other Mediterranean cuisines. Similiar in style and texture to pizza, focaccia is rolled out or pressed by hand and baked in a hearth oven (if you have one!) or more likely in a sheet pan and a plain old kitchen oven. Bakers poke holes to relieve bubbling on the surface, which creates a dimpled surface just perfect for soaking up fine olive oils (try our exclusive Jean Reno olive oil from France for a treat).
Duck Fat Focaccia Bread with Herbs & Sea Salt
- 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1⅔ cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
- ½ cup Duck Fat, melted, divided use
- 2 cups bread flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, and/or oregano
- 1½ teaspoons Maldon salt, or Gros Sel
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, stir together yeast and warm water. Let stand about 5 minutes until foamy. Add 2 cups bread flour, 2 cups all-purpose flour, ¼ cup duck fat, and coarse salt. Beat until mixture comes together. Switch to dough hook attachment and knead on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic. Finished dough should be just slightly sticky, so add additional flour a little at a time, if needed.
- Gently round dough into a ball and place in a large bowl that’s been lightly greased with duck fat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm location until double in size, about 1½ hours.
- Generously grease a 14”x11” baking pan with duck fat. Press the dough evenly into the pan and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Allow to rise until doubled again, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F with rack in the center.
- Using the end of a wooden spoon greased with duck fat, press deep indents into the dough at 1” intervals. Brush with remaining duck fat, allowing the fat to pool into indentations. Sprinkle herbs evenly over the dough, then repeat with Maldon salt. Bake until bread is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan then slice and serve. Wrapped in plastic wrap, focaccia will keep for about 3 days.
A Few Ways to Enjoy Focaccia Bread
- Try it as your new sandwich bread
- Serve alongside your favorite soup
- Sop up sauces or flavored olive oil
- Use any spread you like – pesto, olive tapenade, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon jam, etc.
- Serve it with charcuterie like Wagyu bresaola or saucisson sec
- Top with cheese and fresh herbs and finish in the oven – like a pizza
Fun Fact: In Ancient Rome, panis focacius was a flatbread baked on the hearth. The word is derived from the Latin focus meaning “hearth, place for baking.”