Impress your friends or partner with this deceptively simple recipe for smoked duck fat focaccia — one of the best ways I know of to put that delicious reserve of duck fat to good use.
Focaccia is an Italian bread that’s been adapted around the world. It’s traditionally made with a generous amount of olive oil, which gives it flavor and texture. In the U.S., focaccia is commonly served alongside soups and pastas, sliced thin for sandwich bread, or topped with fresh ingredients.
In our recipe, we’ll be substituting duck fat for the olive oil to give the bread a unique flavor. We’ll be topping the focaccia with duck prosciutto from your latest hunt, burrata cheese and arugula for fresh ingredients with complementary flavors. It makes for a great shareable appetizer or an indulgent meal for two.
You’ll need a stand mixer with a dough hook to make the process a little easier. If you don’t have a mixer and dough hook, you can still knead your dough the old-fashioned way. Roll up your sleeves, sprinkle flour across your work surface and use the heel of your hand to work the dough. Your goal is to activate the gluten so the bread is ready to hit the smoker. You know you’ve nailed it when you can stretch a small piece of dough so it’s thin enough to see through, like a windowpane, without tearing.
After you’ve kneaded, the focaccia dough will need an hour in a warm spot to rise — aka proofing the dough. Be sure to build in plenty of time so you don’t rush the proofing process. You’ll proof your bread twice: the first time for an hour, and the second time for 20 minutes. That’ll make sure you get a good rise from the focaccia as it bakes, so you end up with a thick bread that’s soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.
For a classy drink pairing, check your local wine shop’s selection of American wines. You’re looking for a pinot noir from Willamette Valley, a wine-production hot spot in Oregon. Think of it as Napa Valley’s little sister. Willamette Valley is protected from the coastal and desert climates on either side by a pair of mountain ranges, giving it the ideal climate for vineyards. They’ve been perfecting pinot noirs there for more than half a century.
Show us your focaccia!