I recently watched the TV show "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" on Netflix and was immediately impressed with the quality and substance of the show. I am quite picky when it comes to food shows, but this is, by far, one of my favorites. In the first episode, Chef Samin visits Italy to explain foods that deliver fat to a dish. She prepares Ligurian focaccia bread, carefully bathing the dough in oil and baking it to golden brown perfection. I was amazed at how much I was doing wrong! I had to try this authentic Italian method at home. Using my favorite focaccia recipe, I incorporated Samin's techniques to make one beautiful bread. And then, of course, being me, I went one step further to make an egg in a hole with the focaccia. This is the ultimate breakfast that will make you excited about eggs and bread again.
Egg in a Hole with Focaccia Bread
- 1 cup lukewarm water, between 100-110 degrees F (250 ml)
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (10 grams)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (370 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2-3 tablespoon pizza sauce
- 1 teaspoon flaky salt
- 6 large eggs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- 2 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- In a small bowl, combine water, yeast, and sugar to dissolve. Let sit about 5 minutes or until yeast is activated and the mixture becomes foamy.
- In a large bowl, combine flour with salt, 2 tablespoon olive oil, garlic powder, and dried Italian seasoning. Add yeast mixture and stir to combine. Knead dough for 8-10 minutes or until smooth. Coat a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil and place dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let proof in a warm area for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spread 2-3 tablespoon olive oil in a 9x13 inch sheet pan. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and gently stretch the dough to the edge of the sheet using your hands. Use your first three fingers to make indentations in the dough.
- Spread pizza sauce evenly on the dough. Drizzle 2 tablespoon olive oil on top and sprinkle flaky salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
- Cut bread into 3x4 inch pieces for a total of 6 portions. Use a 2 ½ inch biscuit cutter to cut out holes in the center of each focaccia. Heat a non-stick saute pan over low heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil and place the bread with the hole in the pan. Crack an egg in the center and cook until egg has set about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and season the egg with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, grated parmesan, and fresh chives. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
For many years, I was making focaccia bread incorrectly. It was too fat, lacked deep indentations and the crust was too soft. After studying how it should properly be made, I am now the master of focaccia bread (okay, maybe not a master but definitely wiser).
First things first, prepare the dough. This focaccia recipe is actually very similar to my pizza dough recipe except for the higher amount of yeast and the addition of herbs and seasonings. Mix the ingredients for the dough and knead until smooth. Cover the dough in 1 tablespoon of oil and let it proof for 30 minutes.
Next, spread 2-3 tablespoon on a quarter baking sheet and gently stretch the dough to the edge of the sheet. No need for a rolling pin here - just get in there and use your hands! Gently press your index, middle, and ring finger into the dough to make the indentations. You want deep indentations to allow the olive oil to soak into the deep grooves. Then, spread the pizza sauce, drizzle more olive oil, sprinkle flaky salt, and bake!
About 20 minutes later and behold, beautiful golden brown focaccia. The bottom of the bread is oh so crispy and crunchy while the inside is still soft and moist. Of course, we can stop there and gorge on this delicious focaccia bread. However, to make it appropriate for breakfast, we're going to turn it into an egg in a hole.
Cut the bread into 3x4 inch portions. Use a 2-½ inch biscuit cutter to cut out the hole in the middle. Lightly oil a nonstick saute pan over low heat and place the bread in the pan. Crack an egg in the middle and let the bread sit for about 2-3 minutes or until the whites have set. Cook the egg on low heat to prevent the bread from burning.
If you prefer your eggs well done, finish baking the egg in the hole in the oven. Pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes or until the desired degree of doneness.
Finish the egg with salt, pepper, parmesan, chives, and red chili flakes. Dip your bread in the center and dig in!
Egg in a hole is such a classic breakfast but this focaccia version is 10x fancier and might I say, much tastier. It's almost like a pizza with a runny egg! Good thing this recipe makes a large batch because it will run out quickly!
For more breakfast inspiration check out this breakfast pasta!