Spelt Focaccia with Balsamic Onions

Happy new year everyone! We are back from the holidays, and it feels great to be baking and cooking and blogging from our little kitchen again.

Focaccia is one of my favorite homemade breads, mainly because I lack the patience of a true bread maker and it’s so simple! I used to always make it with white wheat flour, which results in lusciously soft and fluffy bread. Nothing wrong with that, but baking with whole spelt flour does add nice texture and makes the bread a lot more satisfying as a part of a meal, even if it doesn’t make a focaccia quite as tender and airy.


I always add onions in my focaccia, but olives, rosemary, red bell pepper, and eggplant are very nice as well. Frying the onions with balsamic vinegar makes them all caramelized and lovely, but when I don’t feel like any extra work, I just spread the raw onions over the bread and bake it a little longer to make sure they cook in the oven.

The Dough:

  • 4 dl (300 grams) whole spelt flour
  • 2 tablespoons gluten flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 sleeve (12 grams) dry yeast
  • 2 and 1/2 dl warm water (approximately 42 degrees Celsius)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

First I stirred together the flour, gluten flour, salt, sugar, and dry yeast. Then I made a well in the center of the dry ingredients and poured in the water and the olive oil, and mixed with a wooden spoon until the dough came together. It ends up still a little sticky.

Now I let the dough rise in a warm place, covered with a plastic wrap, for about half an hour – or until doubled in size.

The Topping:

  • 4 small onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of sugar and salt
  • (a few kalamata olives)
  • more olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper

I fried the onions in the olive oil until they started to soften, and then added the balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt to the pan. Now, I continued to fry them on medium-low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions were very soft and dark brown from the balsamico. Then I spread the onions on a wide plate to cool down a bit.

When the dough was well risen, I covered a baking sheet with baking parchment, and sprayed the parchment with olive oil (brushing is fine too). Then I formed the dough into an oval shaped log and placed it on the baking sheet, and flattened it until about 1 and 1/2 centimeters thick. Then I poked it with my finger to make wells, sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper, pressed a few kalamata olives here and there in the dough, and spread the onions over it all. Now I sprayed some more olive oil over the bread and let it rise in a warm place for about a half an hour more.

I set the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. When the bread had risen, I sprayed it with some more olive oil, sprinkled with some more sea salt, and baked it for 20 minutes on the lower rack of the oven. I took the bread out of the oven and sprayed it once more with olive oil, and let it cool down a little before enjoying with a bowl of soup.


  1. Posted January 13, 2009 at 16:48 | Permalink

    Wow, gorgeous photos! The recipe sounds fantastic, as well.

  2. Posted January 13, 2009 at 16:56 | Permalink

    Homemade focaccia – what a treat! Balsamic onions sound like a welcome addition as well.

    I do have one question though: what does the gluten flour do and can it be omitted? I don’t recall seeing it in the supermarket and it would be the only thing preventing me from making this scrumptious-looking bread.

  3. Posted January 13, 2009 at 17:44 | Permalink

    Welcome back to blogosphere :-)
    Täytyypä tuollaista joskus kokeilla…

  4. Posted January 13, 2009 at 18:18 | Permalink

    Did you enjoy your holidays in Barcelona? I hope so!
    I love focaccia but have never made it. You make it sound super easy!

  5. Anni
    Posted January 13, 2009 at 19:44 | Permalink

    Nicole – thanks!

    Chris – I use gluten flour (which is called vital wheat gluten in the US) in combination with whole flours for better, lighter, not as crumbly texture. I think replacing one fourth of the spelt flour and the gluten flour with wheat flour would probably do the trick as well!

    Yaelian – kiitos kiitos!

    Alice – we did have a wonderful time in Barcelona! And we managed to find a bunch of new veggie restaurants as well. Making focaccia is really easy, at least the way I do it (there are some much more elaborate recipes out there…).

  6. Posted January 13, 2009 at 22:28 | Permalink

    Oh wow. This looks so good!

  7. Posted January 14, 2009 at 08:00 | Permalink

    Wow, that looks lovely!

  8. Posted January 14, 2009 at 10:31 | Permalink

    Ihana blogi, kivoja resepti-ideoita ja kauniita kuvia! Fanitan :).

  9. Posted January 14, 2009 at 18:33 | Permalink

    That looks delicious! Nice to have you back! I hope you had great holidays!

  10. Posted January 14, 2009 at 19:54 | Permalink

    How great to see you back. And to see you back with such a delicious recipe!

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