Pumpkin and Smoked Gouda Focaccia has a slightly sweet pumpkin flavor and delicious smokiness from the Gouda. It’s perfect paired with pumpkin gnocchi.
I am thrilled with how this focaccia recipe turned out. If you’re a regular, you know that I will struggle more often than not with yeast breads. They don’t always turn out the way I want them. Or they’re such a pain because I haven’t done something right that I struggle finishing the recipe.
This recipe turned out just like I hoped it would. I think I fail in the kneading process. Or I fail in not adding enough flour. I think the latter is more often the case. Or maybe both. Who knows? We are not big bread bakers in my family. My parents didn’t make bread that didn’t come out of a bread machine. The same with pasta, but I hoped to remedy that at some point.
No matter how crappy bread turns out for me, I keep trying. I don’t think there’s anything that has been completely inedible. I have only struggled with getting it to the point of cooking that’s been a struggle. Though I do have a vague memory of too much salt in a dough. I can’t remember which one, but I do remember too much salt. Which is funny because I usually forget the salt.
What is focaccia?
Focaccia, in a nutshell, is a flat, oven-baked bread. It’s like a pan pizza crust without the toppings. At least that’s what it reminds me of. And you can totally make focaccia in a cast iron skillet if you want. I’ve seen those recipes.
Originating in the Mediterranean, focaccia spread throughout Greece and Rome where it was very popular and widely used. Of course, the conquering armies brought the bread with them because it was a simple bread that doesn’t require special ingredients. Read it can feed masses without breaking the bank. It’s flour, water, a little sugar, yeast, and lots of olive oil.
Here in the US, we like to dip our focaccia in a delicious mix of good olive oil, garlic and Parmesan, and a little crushed red pepper. At least I like the crushed red pepper. We typically eat as an appetizer. However, some places use it as a sandwich bread. Because of this, I kept most of the loaf I made and sliced it for sandwiches. Certainly I am excited to make some focaccia bread sandwiches in the near future. You’ll have to stay tuned for those.
Why does focaccia have dimples?
The best focaccia recipes proof the dough overnight. This allows the yeast to really do it’s thing and, therefore, give the dough an almost sourdough like flavor. The longer the focaccia proves the better the flavor in the bread. The same is true with pizza crust, too.
As a result of proving overnight, the dough will expand. Those air bubbles need releasing or they will cause the dough to expand too quickly. This expansion break the surface of the bread. The dimples serve two purposes. They prevent the dough from rising too quickly and creating large bubbles.
And they create little pockets for the olive oil to pool and make the top crispy. They grab all the extra toppings and let them party in the dimples. So, not only are they decorative but they’re also functional. And they’re fun to make.
What is the difference between focaccia and pizza dough?
The biggest difference is the amount of yeast. Focaccia has more yeast or leavening in there than pizza crust. If you think about it, that makes sense. You don’t want your pizza dough to be like sandwich dough. Well, maybe if you’re making pan pizza but that’s another topic all together.
Focaccia has lots of bread with a few toppings. It should be about 3/4 of an inch if not thicker. This holds up to using it for sandwiches or to wipe that last bit of Bolognese off your plate. Some even make focaccia that they dip into coffee.
However, pizza has lots of toppings with little bread. Again, this excludes pan pizzas. They are a different category. But think about the best pizza you’ve had. The crust is thin and crispy with a chewy edge. If you added more yeast, it wouldn’t be as chewy and crispy.
I used fresh pumpkin so this pumpkin and smoked gouda focaccia isn’t orange like you would think. The fresh flavor of the pumpkin combined with the smoky gouda is a delicious combination. The pepitas and sage on top bring a earthy flavor that brings out of the sweet pumpkin and smokey flavor of the cheese. I cannot wait to turn the leftovers into sandwiches!
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 3 to 4 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1 tablespoon chiffonade fresh sage
- Combine first three ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir with a whisk and let sit 5 minutes or until frothy.
- Stir in the pumpkin, olive oil, and salt.
- Using the dough hook, start with 3 cups of bread flour. Continue adding flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Knead in the stand mixer 5 minutes or until the dough springs back when touched.
- Scoop the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead lightly to form a smooth ball.
- Oil a large mixing bowl. Toss the dough in the bowl to coat with olive oil.
- Cover with a clean towel and proof for 1 hour or until double in size.
- Scoop the dough out of the bowl and punch down.
- Oil a baking sheet and spread the dough out into the pan.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and proof in the fridge 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 500.
- Remove dough from the fridge. Using your fingers punch down the dough and press your fingers into the dough to make dimples.
- Drizzle with the 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with the sage and pepitas.
- Bake at 450 for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the edge.
- Cool slightly in the pan before slicing and serving with olive oil dipping sauce.
This makes two loaves. You can freeze the second loaf in a zip top plastic bag to use for later.
Nutrition InformationYield 24 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 303Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 4mgSodium 163mgCarbohydrates 51gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 10g
Pumpkin season is here, and we are celebrating our love of pumpkin with #PumpkinWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. All week-long 13 bloggers will be sharing over 40 pumpkin-filled recipes for all your Autumn celebrations, including breakfasts, baked goods, savory pumpkin recipes, desserts, and drinks.
More #PumpkinWeek Recipes Below:
- Pumpkin and Smoked Gouda Focaccia from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes from The Redhead Baker
- Pumpkin Spice Baked Brie with Almonds from For the Love of Food Blog
Did you miss a recipe? Head to the Pinterest board to find all the #PumpkinWeek recipes shared this week.