Focaccia = Heaven’s food. There is no other way to describe this Italian soft flatbread: airy, fluffy, that smells and tastes like olive oil. It’s addictive, be careful!
We loooove focaccia here. No doubt. Every time I bake a tray it’s literally inhaled by the kids and my hubby (and by me!!). I already shared with you a traditional focaccia recipe a while ago (check it out here), and today I want to share with you a new one that I’ve been testing and perfecting this Fall. It’s now ready to be shared: butternut squash focaccia.
This season I’ve been using a lot butternut squash and I really wanted to incorporate it into a loved recipe like focaccia. The first attempts came out too thick and moist, there was no air in the focaccia, up until I found that roasting the butternut squash ahead eliminated all the extra water from the dough and gave that lovely and delicate sweet background flavor that makes this focaccia unique.
The trick was to find the right balance between flour, butternut squash and water. I found it and it’s my pleasure to share.
Don’t be intimidated by a bread recipe. It’s not difficult. It just takes some time to let the dough proof.
Let’s start with the butternut squash. Peel it (I use a potato peeler, easier!), remove the seeds and chop in in 1 inch cubes.
Place the squash on a baking tray lined with some parchment paper and roast in the preheated oven to 425F for 25/35 min up until tender.
Let it cool down 5 min. Using an immersion blender or a food processor transform into a thick paste. Do not add any water, that’s important or it will mess up with the dough texture.
You can prepare the butternut squash paste way ahead. I usually roast one or two medium butternut squash, and freeze the puree divided in bags. The puree can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
For the focaccia recipe you will only need 400gr. of butternut squash puree. If you are looking for some ideas on how to use the remaining, check out at the end of the post.
Let’s continue with our focaccia. In a large bowl add the flour, active instant yeast, turmeric and sugar. Mix with a fork. Add the butternut squash puree and the salt. Mix.
Warm the water in the microwave for 20 sec, it should be lukewarm temperature. Slowly pour the water in the flour mix, a bit at the time. Mix with a fork. Add 2 Tbsp Olive oil.
Mix again this time using your clean hands. Work the dough for 5 minutes. You will obtain a sticky dough. Don’t worry, it’s totally fine.
Wash your hands and take a larger bowl. Add 3 Tbsp olive oil and grease it.
Dust a flat surface with some flour and transfer the dough on it. Knead the dough with your hands for few more minutes in order to obtain a super soft but not too sticky dough (look at the video). If your dough is too sticky, add some more flour, a bit at the time.
Transfer the dough in the large bowl you just greased, cover with a plastic wrap and a towel and store in a warm place (the switched off oven is my favorite place). Let it rest for 2-3 hours.
The dough will be ready when it will double its size. Transfer the dough in a baking sheet greased with 3 Tbsp olive oil and spread it out with your hands to cover the whole surface. Let it rest for 40 min on the countertop. This is called the second proof and will make the focaccia fluffier and more digestible.
Poke the focaccia with your fingers to leave that lovely dimples on the surface. Sprinkle minced rosemary on top and sea salt.
Bake in preheated oven to 400F for 30 minutes. Let it cool down 5 minutes, cut in cubes and enjoy!
WHAT CAN I DO WITH THE EXTRA BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE?
If you are looking for some ideas on how to use the extra butternut squash puree you just roasted, I have some recipes for you to check out!
- Turnip Apple Butternut Squash Puree
- Avocado Squash Persimmon Beet Pear Puree
- Turkey Red Potato Squash Puree
- Butternut Squash Blueberry Baby Puffs – egg free & gluten free +6M
- Butternut Squash and Kale Mac&CheeseButternut Squash Cheesy Balls
- Pasta with squash and spinach
HOW TO STORE FOCACCIA? AND HOW TO REHEAT IT?
Any focaccia leftovers can be stored in a plastic bag or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days/1 week. To enjoy it again, warm the focaccia up in the toaster for few minutes or in the oven to 350F for 10 min or in the AirFryer for 4 min.
CAN I GIVE FOCACCIA TO MY BABY?
Focaccia is very baby friendly both for the taste and texture. I suggested the recipe starting from 9 months of age: you can cut the focaccia in small cubes or sticks and offer to your baby/toddler. For little ones younger than 9 months I would suggest to reduce the salt amount. Skip the salt and rosemary on top of the focaccia and offer tiny pieces that your little one can enjoy and mash with his/her gums.
- 400 gr. roasted butternut squash puree
- 600 gr. all purpose flour (4 cups) + a bit more for dusting
- 2 tsp instant active yeast (7gr.)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 9 Tbsp olive oil (2 tbsp + 2 tbsp + 3 tbsp + 2 tbsp)
- 4 tsp sea salt (2 tsp in the dough + 2 tsp on top)
- 200 ml luke warm water (1 1/3 cup)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 Tbsp minced rosemary
Roast the butternut squash. Peel it and remove the seeds. Chop it in 1 inch cubes. Transfer on a baking sheet lined with parchemt paper. Roast in the oven preheated to 425F for 25-35 minutes. Let it cool down 10 min.
Using an immersion blender or food processor transform the roasted butternut squash into a thick puree.
In a bowl add the flour, instant yeast, turmeric and sugar. Mix with a fork.
Add the butternut squash puree and salt. Mix.
Slowly pour in the luke warm water, a bit at the time. Mix
Add 2 Tbsp olive oil. Mix.
Using your clean hands start combining the ingredients togehter in order to obtain a sticky dough. It should take 5 minutes. Wash your hands and take a larger bowl. Grease the bowl with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Set apart.
Dust a flat surface with some flour, transfer the dough and knead it a bit more to form a smooth ball. If the dough is too sticky, add some more flour, a bit at the time. Transfer the dough in the large bowl you just greased with oil.
Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let it rest 2-3 hours in a warm place. The switched-off oven will work. The dough will be ready when it will double the size.
Transfer the dough on a baking sheet greased with 3 Tbsp olive oil and spread it out with your clean hands to cover the whole surface. Let it rest for 40 minutes on the countertop uncovered.
Poke the focaccia with your fingers to leave that lovely dimples on the surface. Sprinkle the minced rosemary on top and 2 tsp sea salt too. Drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil on top.
Bake in preheated oven to 400F for 30min. Let it cool down 10 minutes, cut in cubes and enjoy!