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May 28, 2013

Pain à l’Ancienne Focaccia

Pain à l’Ancienne Focaccia

This pain à l’ancienne focaccia is made from a high hydration dough that ferments up to four days in the refrigerator to develop flavor. It is actually the same dough formula that I used for this ciabatta, but the dough is shaped very differently. 

While I sprinkled the top of this bread with King Arthur Flour's pizza seasoning, you can use any combination of herbs, spices, salt, and infused olive oil. You can use this dough as a base for pizza. You can also add additional flavor by pushing chunks of cheese, cherry tomatoes, onions, or anything else that sounds tasty into the dough. 

Pain à l’Ancienne Focaccia

We enjoyed this focaccia dipped into olive oil and balsamic sprinkled with a few crushed red pepper. 

Look at those holes!

Pain à l’Ancienne Focaccia

Pain à l’Ancienne Focaccia


4 1/2 C / 20 oz / 567 g unbleached bread flour
1 3/4 tsp salt, or 2 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 C chilled water (about 55 degrees F)
1 T olive oil
Extra oil for baking
Herbs, spices, and salt


  1. Combine everything except the olive oil in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix for about one minute with the paddle attachment, or mix with a large spoon until the ingredients are well blended, about a minute.
  2. Let the dough rest for five minutes.
  3. Add the olive oil, and mix for one minute more. 
  4. Using a wet scraper, scrape the dough into a new lightly oiled bowl. Rest for 10 minutes. 
  5. Scrape the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and stretch and fold it from all four "sides." Turn the dough over and shape it into a ball. 
  6. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Repeat three more times, every ten minutes, for a total of four "stretch-and-folds."
  7. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover it with plastic, and refrigerate the dough for one to four days.
  8. On baking day, remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 to 3 hours ahead of the time you plan to bake the bread.
  9. Line a rimmed half-sheet pan with parchment and oil it with about 2 T of olive oil. 
  10. Gently place the dough into the pan and drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil over the top of the dough. 
  11. With your fingertips, begin dimpling the dough while pushing it lightly toward the edges of the pan. It should cover about half of the pan when you are done. Cover it and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
  12. Drizzle a little more oil onto the bread and continue to dimple it to spread it out a little farther in the pan. Once it has covered about 3/4 of the pan, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest another 30 minutes. 
  13. Repeat the process every 30 minutes until the dough covers the entire pan. You can speed up this process by placing the dough into a warmed and then turned off oven between dimplings. I happen to have a warming drawer, so I used it on the "proof" setting and dimpled the dough every 10 to 15 minutes. 
  14. Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 1 to 2 hours, until it reaches a height of one inch. 
  15. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F and sprinkle the dough with the herbs and spices of your choice. 
  16. Place the pan in the oven and lower the temperature to 450 degrees F. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown on top and on the bottom.
  17. Place the focaccia, parchment and all, on a cooling rack. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. What a great idea to make a focaccia with that dough. I've only made Peter's Ciabatta once and it turned out wonderful (it restored my Ciabatta baking ability) :o)

    1. Mine too. It is the best for ciabatta ever.


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