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A Culinary Journey with Za’atar Focaccia: A Bread Lover’s Delight

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Welcome to the savory world of Za’atar Focaccia, where the aromatic blend of herbs meets the soft, pillowy texture of perfectly baked bread. In this culinary escapade, we embark on a journey to discover the magic of Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that transforms a simple focaccia into a flavor-packed masterpiece. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to indulge your taste buds in a symphony of herbs and spices!

The Essence of Za’atar:

Za’atar is a versatile spice blend that typically includes dried thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt. Its distinct aroma and earthy flavor make it a star in Middle Eastern cuisine. As we delve into the world of Za’atar Focaccia, the blend of these ingredients creates a symphony of tastes that dance on your palate with each bite.

Crafting the Perfect Focaccia:

The foundation of any great focaccia lies in the dough, and Za’atar Focaccia is no exception. A simple mix of flour, water, yeast, and olive oil creates the base, but it’s the addition of Za’atar that elevates it to a whole new level. The dough, when allowed to rise and rest, becomes airy and light, creating the perfect canvas for the rich flavors to unfold. However, it’s the fermentation process that transforms this simple mixture into a flavorful masterpiece. Allowing the dough to rest and rise not only enhances its texture but also develops complex flavors that make your focaccia unforgettable.

Timing is Everything:

Fermentation is a patient game, and timing is everything. Rushing this process might result in flat and uninspiring bread. To achieve the ideal fermentation proof, give your focaccia dough sufficient time to rise. This often involves allowing the dough to rest for an extended period, allowing the yeast to work its magic, and imparting the signature taste and texture to your bread.

The Visual Clues:

As your focaccia dough ferments, observe the visual clues that indicate successful proofing. The dough should visibly increase in size, doubling or even tripling in volume. Look for a bubbly texture on the surface, a sign that the yeast has been actively producing carbon dioxide. These visual cues are your indicators that the fermentation process is unfolding as it should.

Flavor Development:

Fermentation isn’t just about creating air pockets; it’s about flavor development. The longer the fermentation, the more time the yeast has to break down complex sugars into flavorful compounds. This results in a focaccia with a nuanced taste profile, featuring notes of sweetness and complexity that you won’t achieve with a quick proof.

Experimentation and Fine-Tuning:

Perfecting the fermentation proof for your focaccia is a journey of experimentation and fine-tuning. It involves getting to know your dough, understanding the environmental factors that influence fermentation, and finding the balance between time, temperature, and ingredients.

Za’atar Infusion:

The key to making the best Za’atar focaccia is to infuse the dough with the spice blend. Generously sprinkle Za’atar over the dough, allowing the herbs and seeds to embed themselves into the nooks and crannies. This step not only imparts a beautiful visual appeal but also ensures that every bite is packed with the aromatic essence of Za’atar.

The Art of Baking:

As the Za’atar-infused dough rises to perfection, it’s time to bake this creation to golden-brown glory. The oven transforms the kitchen into a fragrant haven as the Za’atar melds with the olive oil, creating a heavenly aroma that will have your senses tingling with anticipation.

Serving Suggestions:

Za’atar focaccia is a versatile delight that can be enjoyed in various ways. Serve it as an appetizer, paired with a luscious olive oil and balsamic dip. Alternatively, slice it horizontally and create a Za’atar Focaccia sandwich filled with fresh vegetables, vega feta cheese, and a drizzle of tahini for a Middle Eastern twist.

In the realm of bread lovers, Za’atar focaccia stands as a testament to the power of simple ingredients and thoughtful preparation. The fusion of the humble focaccia with the Za’atar spice blend creates a culinary experience that is both comforting and adventurous. So, roll up your sleeves, preheat that oven, and embark on a journey of flavor with Za’atar focaccia – a bread that transcends boundaries and brings the warmth of the Middle East to your kitchen.

Za’atar Focaccia Bread

In this culinary escapade, we embark on a journey to discover the magic of Za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that transforms a simple focaccia into a flavor-packed masterpiece.
Servings 8 people
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Proofing Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes

Equipment

  • large mixing bowl
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • 2 9" x 13" baking sheet

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp agave
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling on the dough
  • 3 cups bread flour with preferably 12% protein content or higher
  • 2 Tbsp Za’atar
  • Flaky salt to taste

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl stir together the yeast, warm water, agave, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and salt until combined.
  • Add the bread flour and mix with a spoon until all dry ingredients are blended and cover with a cloth and let rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  • Stretch and fold the dough from the top upwards and then down toward the bottom of the dough. Repeat this action on all sides of the dough until it feels like you have created tension and you cannot stretch the dough up and over anymore.
  • Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and repeat the fold action one more time.
  • Wet hands gather dough and place seam side down in a bowl so that the top is smooth. Give the dough a generous drizzle of olive oil and rub over the top of the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 24-48 hours (the longer the more flavor).
  • Prepare a 9” x 13” baking sheet with oil and parchment paper and drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil on the parchment paper and spread evenly.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on the tray. Oil hands and fold one side of the dough towards the middle and repeat with the other side; like folding a piece of paper into thirds.
  • Flip the dough so that the seam side is down and cover using another tray flipped upside down (do not use plastic wrap or a towel because the dough will stick). Let sit for 2 ¼ hours or until the dough fills the tray.
  • Preheat oven to 425 °F.
  • Once dough is jiggly drizzle top with olive oil and press fingers into the dough, gently touching the bottom of the tray until the entire surface is dimpled. Sprinkle the top of the dough with Za’atar and flakey salt.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes on the lowest rack; remove from oven once it is golden brown.
  • Let the bread cool for a couple of minutes and move it to a cooling rack so it stays crisp and then continue to cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting.
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American-Italian Inspired
Keyword: Bakery, Bread, picnic, vegan
Za’atar Focaccia Bread

Do you want more focaccia recipes?

Get inspired by these yummy options: Italian Herb, Garlic, and Vegan Parmesan Focaccia Bread, Vegan Whole Wheat Oregano, Feta, Garlic, and Apple Honey Focaccia Bread, Pumpkin Focaccia with Garlic Chili Oil, and Sun-Dried Tomato Focaccia.

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This is the best focaccia recipe you will ever make!
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Vegan Whole Wheat Oregano, Feta, Garlic, and Apple Honey Focaccia Bread
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This recipe is a whole wheat version of my original focaccia.
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Pumpkin Focaccia with Garlic Chili Oil
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This is my favorite focaccia bread recipe that I have made so far! The garlic chili oil is a lovely pairing with the sweetness of the roasted pumpkin. Crispy sage leaves and shallots add a pop of color and extra flavor.
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Sundried Tomato Focaccia
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This is my favorite focaccia recipe I have ever made. It is full of flavor and is quite simple even though the steps may look daunting. This bread takes a few days to make but the majority of that time the bread is proofing. Try this recipe! You will not regret it!!!
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Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @anothervegan.foodblog on Instagram and hashtag it #anothervegan.foodblog.

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