Inspired by a salad I had years ago and never stopped thinking about, this Blood Orange Olive and Shallot Focaccia features vibrant ingredients with complimentary flavors. That enchanting combo of blood oranges, green olives and shallots has stuck with me. So, I finally married up the ingredients and developed this gorgeous and simple focaccia recipe.Jump to Recipe
You may be familiar with my Leek Lemon and Thyme Skillet Focaccia. It immediately became one of the most craveable recipes on this blog, and in my household. Here, I took the stems of that focaccia recipe and riffed up this Blood Orange Olive and Shallot Focaccia. It’s similar. But oh so different, in the best possible way.
Blood orange, olive and shallot = a flavor forward trifecta.
- Blood orange brings the brightness to this rustic focaccia bread. Not only does the citrus add a sweet and tart flavor, but it also looks like a million bucks.
- Castelvetrano olives add a mildly briney, almost buttery flavor to the mix. These meaty olives burst with well rounded flavor and add a punchy pop to the focaccia. You can sub in other olives but I highly recommend these salty gems.
- Shallots give depth to the focaccia. As they cook, the natural sweet and savoriness is coaxed out of the shallots, creating a rich earthy element.
- Fresh cracked black pepper goes so well with citrus because it pairs warmth with the brightness. Just like sunshine.
- Sesame seeds bring a light nutty crunch and lightheartedness to the focaccia. Think of them like sprinkles on a cake.
Yes! This Blood Orange Olive and Shallot Focaccia makes the most of the blood oranges by slicing them into paper thin slices using a mandoline slicer. While the focaccia bakes, the thinly sliced oranges, along with their peels, basically melt into the focaccia bread. The orange slices bake up and leave behind thin and slightly chewy, sunny orange half moons. Adding sweetness and an essence of barely bitter orange to every bite. A delightful flavor combo! But, you can adapt. If you don’t have a mandoline, carefully use a knife to cut the thinest slices you can. And if you aren’t jazzed on the idea of eating the peel, simply remove it.
If you’ve never made bread before, focaccia is a great place to start!
I promise you, focaccia really is easy to make. You don’t need a bread machine, a sourdough starter or a culinary degree to make it. I like to use my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment to do the kneading for me. But, you can absolutely knead focaccia dough by hand. Just know going in that it will be sticky!
Focaccia is a wet dough, meaning there is a high percentage of water in the dough.
Because of this, it can be a bit messy to work with. Just go with it. Focaccia is one of the simplest homemade breads to make. It’s a very forgiving dough without complicated shaping techniques. Plus, focaccia bread is super fun to make. And, this Blood Orange Olive and Shallot Focaccia is a beauty to boot!
What are the key ingredients to a good focaccia recipe?
- Bread flour will give your focaccia that desirable chewy texture, like a good pizza crust! All purpose flour works too but bread flour really amps up the chewiness.
- Yeast is what gives your focaccia its fluffy rise. This recipe uses a simple Active Dry Yeast to quickly get the action going. But you can absolutely use your sourdough starter, if that’s your jam.
- Olive oil is a key ingredient in focaccia bread. It really makes focaccia what it is and gives it that delectably crisp bottom crust and rich, buttery flavor. It may feel like more olive oil than you’re comfortable but it truly is what makes the best focaccia recipes.
- Salt allows the others ingredients to shine and gives the focaccia bread itself a whole lot of personality. I like to add sea salt flakes to the top for crunch and bursty bites of flavor enhancers!
No. But kinda yes. Both focaccia and pizza are a simple, flat style of bread with strong Italian roots. But the main difference is volume. Focaccia recipes tend to use more of a leavening agent, aka yeast, so it’s fluffier, airy and spongier than typical pizza dough.
If you are looking for a solid pizza dough recipe, this 72 Hour Pizza Dough from Baking Steel has been my go-to for years. I know what you’re thinking, 72 hours? But it comes together in just a few minutes and there is no kneading involved. The rest is literally just rest. Over those 72 hours the dough develops its flavor while chilling in the fridge.
This Blood Orange Olive and Shallot Focaccia is a very simple recipe but it does require some light babysitting.
Focaccia is one of those recipes that works well on days when you are bumming around the house. The dough needs to rest and rise a couple of times, so it requires some light babysitting. But it’s just for couple of hours and doesn’t demand constant attention. The actual hands on work is only a few minutes!
Focaccia needs to a double rise for it to reach it’s fluffiest & spongiest baking potential!
Once the focaccia base dough is mixed together, there is an initial rise of the dough. It slowly rises in a bowl on the counter for 90 minutes to 2 hours until it doubles in size. The temperature in your kitchen will determine how long the dough needs to rise. The warmer your space is, the faster the dough will rise. So be sure to check in on it periodically.
The second rise takes place in the skillet or on a baking sheet. This transformation is where you really see the dough turn into the magic that is focaccia. At this stage it will bubble up and get nice and puffy. Fair warning, there is a lot of slippery olive oil involved so it’s gonna get messy. But, you get to play with the dough and do that Focaccia dough dimpling thing with your fingertips. Which is like straight up therapy, if you ask me.
Focaccia is a flatter type of bread. Dimpling the focaccia helps keep the dough from rising too high. Those little dimples create the perfect moisture channels for the olive oil slowly seep into your focaccia bread, infusing it with flavor!
This Blood Orange Olive and Shallot Focaccia recipe makes enough for a large 12″ skillet but it can be easily adapted to work for you.
Since focaccia is such a forgiving dough, you can bake in all types of baking vessels. I personally prefer a cast iron skillet because I love the way the bottom crust browns up in the skillet.
- 10″ or 12″ cast iron skillet – stretching the dough to the edges of the skillet.
- 1/4 sized rimmed baking sheet – stretching the dough to the edges to fill the entire sheet.
- 1/2 sized rimmed baking sheet – stretching the free-form style about 13″ x 9″.
- 13″ x 9″ baking dish – stretching the dough to the edges to fill the dish.
This recipe can be doubled and baked in a standard 1/2 size rimmed baking sheet. You know, the baking sheet you use to bake your cookies.
It’s hard for me to put into words just how incredible this Blood Orange Olive and Shallot Focaccia is. But I will tell you that during the development process of this focaccia recipe, I made at least 7 iterations and it got better with every version. Every single time I made this focaccia, it was inhaled by me, my hubs and all the lucky friends and neighbors who got to taste the prototypes! I think this Blood Orange Olive and Shallot Focaccia is the best focaccia recipe I’ve ever made or even tasted. That is all. Happy baking, friends!
Blood Orange Olive and Shallot Focaccia
- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water at around 110°F
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 8 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil – divided
- 2 1/2 cups +1-2 Tablespoons bread flour – or all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 medium shallots – thinly sliced
- 1 medium blood orange – zested
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives – such as Castelvetrano
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- sea salt flakes – to taste
- Combine warm water at around 110°F with sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast begins to bloom and bubble up.
- Add 2 1/2 cups of the bread flour, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, orange zest, sea salt and pepper.
- With the dough hook attached, turn the mixer on a low speed to mix until the ingredients come together, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes. If after 5 minutes dough is still very sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of bread flour, until the dough starts to amass around the dough hook and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Gather the dough into a rough ball shape, then transfer the dough to large, lightly greased bowl. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel or greased plastic wrap. Let rise for 90 minutes up to 2 hours in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size. *The colder the room is, the longer it will take for the dough to rise.
- While the dough is resting, prepare the toppings. Use a Mandoline or a sharp knife to slice the blood orange into very thing slices, then cut the slices into half moons and remove any seeds. *I like to place the orange slices on a paper towel to soak up any excess juice so that they don't bleed into the focaccia.
- Combine the thinly sliced shallots, olives and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt flakes and some fresh cracked pepper, stir to combine. The flavors will marinate together as the dough rises. *for a deeper more concentrated flavor, brown the shallots in a skillet first.
- Once the focaccia dough has doubled in size, coat a 12" cast iron skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet and slide the dough around to coat with oil. Stretch the dough to edges of the skillet. Then use your fingertips to dimple the entire surface of the dough, creating little indentions. Place in the warm area until the dough puffs up and bubbles, about 45 minutes – 1 hour.
- Sprinkle the dough with sesame seeds. Then add the shallots, olives and blood orange slices, gently pressing them into the dough. Add a liberal sprinkle of sea salt flakes. Preheat the oven to 500° F and allow the dough to rise for 10-15 more minutes while the oven preheats.
- Just before baking, drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Then turn the oven temperature down to 475°F and bake the focaccia in the lower half of the oven for 22-25 minutes until the bread has a warm golden crust. *By first bringing the oven up to 500° F and turning it down to 475° just before baking gets the interior oven temperature good and hot, which helps the focaccia attain its signature crusty edges and airy interior without burning the toppings to a crisp.
- Once you remove the Blood Orange Olive and Shallot Focaccia from the oven, drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil for a rich and glossy finish. Add sea salt flakes and a fresh crack of black pepper to taste. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes, then slice and serve warm or at room temperature.