2000s Recipes + Menus

Thyme Duck Fat Focaccia

Makes1 (15- BY 10-INCH) LOAF
  • Active time:15 min
  • Start to finish:3 1/2 hr
May 2009
The Italian bread known as focaccia is traditionally made with olive oil and is often sprinkled with fresh rosemary and crunchy flakes of sea salt. This version draws inspiration from Italy’s Gallic neighbors to the north by replacing the oil with rendered duck or goose fat (left over from Pommes de Terre Sarladaise) and substituting thyme for rosemary. Serve it with pasta or a salad in the spring; in winter, it’s just the thing for mopping up a bowl of cassoulet or rich beef stew.
  • 1 2/3 cups lukewarm (105 to 115°F) water
  • 1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (about 2 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup rendered duck or goose fat plus more for greasing pan
  • 4 to 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for kneading
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons flaky sea salt such as Maldon
  • equipment:

    a stand mixer with paddle attachment and dough hook; a 15- by 10-inch shallow baking pan (at least 1 inch deep)
  • Stir together water and yeast in bowl of mixer and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.)
  • Heat duck fat to liquefy. Add 4 cups flour, 1/4 cup fat, and salt to yeast mixture and beat with paddle attachment at medium speed until mixture comes together.
  • Replace paddle with dough hook and knead dough at medium-high speed, adding enough flour (1/2 to 1 cup) to keep it from being too sticky, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes (dough will still be slightly sticky).
  • Let rise, covered with plastic wrap, in bowl in a draft-free place at warm room temperature, until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Generously grease baking pan with additional fat. Press dough evenly into pan. Let dough rise, covered completely with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) or plastic wrap, until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.
  • Reheat remaining fat to liquefy. Make shallow indentations at 1-inch intervals all over dough with your fingertips, then brush with remaining 1/4 cup fat, letting it pool in indentations. Sprinkle thyme and sea salt evenly over dough.
  • Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool focaccia in pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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