This simple, homemade Brie and Caramelized Onion Focaccia is perfectly soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Topped with brie and caramelized onions, this makes a great appetizer!
Focaccia is my favourite type of bread. It's so simple to make and extremely satisfying! I've been trying to perfect this recipe for some time now and finally here it is; soft and chewy on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside. This brie and caramelized onion focaccia is perfect as an appetizer or as a meal on its own. Sliced into small bites, this makes a great finger food for guests.
Focaccia consists of an olive-oil rich and salted dough. It can be baked on its own or topped with herbs, cheese, vegetables, or anything you want really! This particular focaccia is topped with slow caramelized onions and slices of brie cheese.
Why this Recipe Works
This Brie and Caramelized Onion Focaccia is a must-try because:
- The focaccia is thick and soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
- Topped with a slightly sweet caramelized onion mixture and slices of brie cheese that melt to perfection on baking.
- Can be made ahead
- Is a great starter/appetizer, or even as finger food
Ingredients for Brie and Caramelized Onion Focaccia
A great focaccia is made with extra-virgin olive oil, which gives this bread base its particular delicious taste. For the base, you will also need all-purpose, type 00, or bread flour, lukewarm water, salt, and yeast, which helps the bread rise. I like using instant yeast but you can also use active dry yeast. If using active dry yeast, this needs to be proofed in lukewarm water for 5-10 minutes before using.
For the topping, you will need onions (I like using purple onions), butter, some brown sugar which will help with the caramelization process, and a few slices of brie. You will also need an olive oil mixture (made with olive oil, salt, and water) to brush the top of the bread before baking.
How to Make the Best Brie and Caramelized Onion Focaccia (Step by Step + Tips)
The whole process for making focaccia is a very simple one. The focaccia base in this recipe can be made using a kitchen stand mixer which will spare you the tiresome kneading by hand process.
First, dissolve the yeast into some lukewarm water. Then, start by adding some flour in a bowl of a stand mixer fixed with the bread hook attachment. Add the salt, olive oil, and the yeast mixture and start mixing on low to medium speed. Gradually, continue adding flour alternating with water until the dough is formed.
The dough should be manageable; it must be soft, but not too sticky. You may not use all of the water and/or flour and this highly depends on altitude and weather conditions. On a dry day, you may need less flour and more water, and the opposite on a rainy, damp day. You will need to mix the dough for at least 10 minutes for adequate kneading (do not compromise on time). Then, form into a ball.
Next comes the proofing process. I like to place the dough on the baking dish (10x14" or equivalent) I will be using to bake the focaccia, brushed with some olive oil. Cover the dough with a damp tea cloth and proof in a warm place for at least 1.5 to 2 hours. You need to make sure the dough has doubled in size. Remember, the longer you proof the dough, the more it will rise, and the tastier the final result will be. I highly suggest you prepare this step a day ahead and allow the dough to proof at least overnight.
Once the dough has doubled in size, stretch the dough so that it evenly covers the whole baking dish. Cover the baking dish with a damp tea towel and proof the dough for a further 30-45 minutes. In the meantime, caramelize the onions.
To caramelize onions, begin by heating some butter in a large skillet. Then, add finely sliced onions. Caramelization needs to be done on medium heat. Stir the onions frequently (every 4 to 5 minutes) and scrape the skillet as you go along. If onions appear as if they're about the start burning, lower down the heat. If they begin to dry out, add some olive oil.
Ten minutes into the sauteeing process, add 1-2 tsp. of brown sugar. This will help with caramelization. The whole process should take 30-45 minutes and can be done whilst the dough is proofing for the second time. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 230°C (350F).
Right before baking your focaccia, use your fingers to poke the focaccia dough to create small "dimples" all over. Then, use a pastry brush to brush the surface with a mixture of olive oil and some water. Sprinkle with some salt. Finally, add your caramelized onions and a few slices of brie cheese.
Bake the focaccia for 14 minutes. Then, turn the baking dish around, lower the oven temperature to 220°C (430F) and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes until the dough is crispy and golden brown. Cool slightly, slice, serve, and enjoy!
Variations and Serving
One of the great things about focaccia is its versatility. You can top the focaccia base with anything imaginable. Some ideal variations include fresh rosemary, roasted garlic, sundried tomatoes, black olives, bacon, and smoked ham!
This Brie and Caramelized Onion Focaccia is great on its own as a snack or light lunch/dinner. Slice into small bite-sized pieces and serve as an appetizer or as holiday finger food. It's also a great starter to a meal, followed by a meat or fish main course!
Making Ahead and Storing
This recipe is great to begin a day ahead of time. The dough can be allowed to proof for the first time overnight. Leftover focaccia can be chilled in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to a month.
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If you've tried this amazing Brie and Caramelized Onion Focaccia, let me know your thoughts in the comments below and don't forget to rate the recipe! Also, don't forget to follow me on Pinterest, and Instagram to stay updated with any new recipes!
Brie and Caramelized Onion Focaccia
- 4 g instant yeast
- 250 mL water lukewarm (1 cup)
- 400 g flour all-purpose or Type 00 (3¼ cup)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil + extra for greasing baking sheet
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 medium sized purple onions thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- 50 g brie cut into bite sized squares
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. water
- Dissolve yeast in ½ cup of water (lukewarm) in a medium-sized bowl.
- Place half of the flour (sifted) into a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer fixed with the bread hook attachment. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and the water and yeast mixture. Mix on a medium-low speed for 2-3 minutes until well combined.
- Gradually, add remaining flour (sifted) and water and continue mixing until the dough is soft but not sticky. You may not need to use all of the flour and/or water. If the dough is too sticky, add some flour. If the dough is too dry, add some water (1 tsp. at a time). Once a manageable dough is formed, continue mixing with the bread hook attachment on medium-low speed for 10 minutes. Then form into a ball.
- Use a pastry brush to grease a 10x14 inch (or equivalent) baking dish with some olive oil. Place the kneaded dough ball onto the baking dish. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to proof for 1½ to 2 hours (up to overnight) in a warm place or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, stretch the dough out to both ends to cover the whole baking dish. Cover the dish with a damp tea towel and allow to rise for another 30-45 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the topping and preheat the oven to 230°C (350F).
- Topping: Thinly slice onions. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet on medium heat, place sliced onions, coat well, and sauté for around 30 minutes, until caramelized to a rich brown color. Stir and scrape frequently (every 4-5 minutes) using a wooden spoon. Ten minutes into sautéing, add 2 tsp. brown sugar and mix. You may need to lower down the heat if onions begin to burn. If onions start to dry out, add 1 tbsp. of olive oil.
- After rising time has elapsed, poke the focaccia dough using your fingers to create tiny "dimples".
- Mix 2 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. water in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush olive oil mixture over focaccia. Oil mixture will pool into the little "dimples".
- Top focaccia with sliced brie and caramelized onions and bake for 14 minutes in a preheated oven. Turn the oven temperature down to 220°C (430F), turn baking dish around, and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Transfer out of baking dish, and slice into squares using a pizza cutter. Serve warm.