Old School Middle Eastern Recipes with Some Modern Day Twists

Sumac and Grilled Onion Focaccia

Sumac and Grilled Onion Focaccia

There is nothing like biting into soft, crunchy focaccia bread fresh from the oven. I love this homestyle bread, and it’s not a difficult one to make. We even added a muskhan twist to this Italian classic by topping with grilled onions and sumac. The sumac gives this bread such a lovely tangy flavor and would pair nicely with any Middle Eastern classic like kebab or bamia.

Bread making can definitely be a daunting task, so I thought I would help out with some tips for those taking this on for the first time:

  • Add flour to your dough slowly. I like to add about a half cup at a time to ensure that all the flour is fully incorporated.
  • Do not over add flour. Each brand of flour and water from different sources impact the dough. If you add flour and your dough is looking fully saturated, then don’t worry about starting to knead your dough 1/2-1 cups of flour earlier than kneaded (get it? 🙂 )
  • Knead your dough to get the bounce back. Kneading is important to allow the gluten to form in your dough. Kneading fully (along with oil) will give your dough a light fluffy texture inside and a nice crisp on the outside.
  • Dough needs time to rest. I have baked dough right after it has finished rising but it doesn’t get as fluffy or full of flavor. If you have time try to make the dough a day in advance before baking.

Sumac and Grilled Onion Focaccia Bread

Prep Time 14 hrs
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Appetizer, Bread, dinner
Cuisine Italian, Middle Eastern
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients
  

Bread

  • 2 cups warm water 100 F
  • 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp instant active yeast
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 5 1/4 cups flour

Topping

  • 1 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small onions
  • 4-5 heads of garlic
  • 4 tbsp sumac

Instructions
 

Focaccia Bread

  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk 1 cup of warm water, sugar and yeast
  • Let bowl sit for about 5 minutes until top of water mixture is frothy (activating the yeast)
  • Add remaining 1 cup of warm water, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 cup of flour. Whisk until until all flour lumps are removed
  • Add each additional cup of flour one at a time and mix with a wooden spoon until each cup of flour is incorporated into the dough
  • All flour should be incorporated into dough. Use hand and knead in bowl if not all flour is part of dough
  • Once all flour is incorporated to the dough, and dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl, knead dough on floured surface for about 5-7 minutes. You are done kneading if you press on the dough and it bounces back
  • Split dough into 3 equal parts (I like to do this so I can freeze some of the focaccia and save for later)
  • Lightly cover 3 medium sized bowls with olive oil
  • Place one dough ball into a bowl and move the ball around the bowl to coat the dough with oil. Repeat with each ball of dough in each separate bowl
  • To allow the dough to rise, cover each bowl with saran wrap and place in a sunny or well lit spot. Dough should not be in a cool area. Try to find a warmer humid environment, but in light should work well, too
  • Allow the dough to rise to be about double in size, about 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Prepare 3 round 8 inch baking pans by coating with olive oil (about 2 tsp)
  • Once dough has risen to double in size, add each to a baking pan. Stretch the dough to reach the sides of the pan, but be careful not to tear the dough. Cover the pan and dough with saran wrap and let rest in the fridge for 8-12 hours
  • After dough has completed resting in the fridge, remove from fridge. Turn oven on to 450 F and let dough rest outside of the fridge while the oven warms up (about 10 minutes)
  • Remove saran wrap from dough. Dimple your dough using your fingertips. Split topping into 3 equal parts and add on top of your dough, evenly distributing toppings and oil over dough's surface. Topping recipe below
  • Place all pans in oven in middle rack for 25-30 minutes. Pull out from oven when top is golden and slightly browned. Let cool and enjoy!

Sumac and Onion Topping

  • Add olive oil to medium saucepan
  • Thinly slice 2 small yellow onions
  • Turn heat on medium and add onions to olive oil
  • While onions are cooking, thinly slice 4-5 heads of garlic
  • Once onions have started to soften, add garlic slices to olive oil and turn heat on low. Allow pot to heat on low for about 5 minutes
  • Remove from heat, wait 10 minutes and add to storage container. Mix in 4 tbsp of sumac and store olive oil mixture (not refrigerated) until focaccia is ready for topping

Notes

I used 3 baking dishes because I like to freeze 2 cooked focaccias and save for a later date. You can use a large or XL baking pan if you want to serve all at once.



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