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When Onion Focaccia Is Art

Chef Paolo Griffa's soft, fluffy, and just-right-amount-of-greasy focaccia will blow you away. His rendition has a "homemade" texture and feel to it that bread, pizza, and focaccia don't often have.

Griffa is most known for revolutionising the cuisine of the Hotel Petit Royal in Courmayeur, an Alpine resort community in the Aosta Valley, northwest Italy, in Mont Blanc's slopes. His menu comprises 40 changing meals that combine his expert technique with the finest Aosta Valley products. During the March lockdown, he used Instagram Live to show people how to bake the ideal pizza at home.


For the poolish

6½ cups Manitoba flour

1 qt. water

½ tsp. brewer's yeast


Knead all the ingredients together and let the dough rise for 12 hours at 68°F.

Topping Ingredients:

13 large white onions (around 4 lbs.)


Peel and slice the onions coarsely, not too thin. In a pot, add a drizzle of oil and let the onions begin to wither, then add water to stew them. This will cook the onions, but keep them firm so they don’t fall apart later.

Focaccia dough Ingredients:

Poolish (made previously)

8 cups buratto flour

3⅔ cups manitoba flour

3⅔ cups durum wheat semolina

2¾ cup water

¼ cup/2 oz. yeast

¼ cup/2 oz. salt

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. malt

stewed onions


Knead all the ingredients together until combined. Let rest for 30 minutes. Make loaves of 28 to 30 oz. per each of the four baking sheets. Oil the surface of the loaves. Then let them rise again for 1 hour. Spread the dough to cover each baking sheet with your hands. Then let it rest until tripled in volume. Spread the stewed onions on the surface. Bake at 350°F at 100% humidity for 15 minutes. Then bake at 338°F with the fan on at 0% humidity for 3 more minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven, remove immediately from the baking sheet, and place on a wire rack.


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