This Italian focaccia with vegan melted cheese is thin, crisp, melty, stringy and packed with flavour. It's the perfect meal to share with friends, and you can eat it as a starter, main, or as an indulgent Sunday brunch.
Course: Appetizer, Breads, Main Course, Snack
Keyword: Plant-Based, Vegan
Baking trays to cook the focaccia: we used a round one that is 28 cm or 11 inches, and a rectangular one that is 40cm x 30 cm or 16 x 12 inches.
In a bowl, add the flour, water, oil and salt, and mix with a fork until the water is absorbed by the flour.
Transfer the dough onto a worktopandknead vigorously with your hand for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smoothandelastic. You can use a kitchen aid if you prefer. Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.While the dough rests, make the vegan melted cheese.
Making the melted vegan cheese
In a pot, add soymilk, potatostarch, cornstarch, oliveoil, nutritionalyeast, and salt. Stir with a whisk till there are no lumps. Then on medium heat bring the liquid to a boil while stirring continuously. Keep stirring until the liquid becomes thick and very stringy.
Take off the heat, keep stirring vigorously for another minute, then add the soyyogurt and stir very well.
You should see the ingredients relax and turn into a smooth, lightly stringy consistency. Your vegan melted cheese is ready. Set aside.
Building the focaccia
First, preheat the oven to 230C or 450F. Now you need to make two very thin sheets of dough that fit your baking tray. With this recipe we were able to fill a round tray that is 28 cm (11 inches), and a rectangular one that is 40cm x 30 cm (16 x 12 inches). You can use different shapes and sizes.
First, take half of the dough and roll it as thin as you can with a rollingpin. Dust with flour if the dough sticks to the worktop or to the rolling pin.
Then, when you are not able to make it any thinner, take it with your hands and stretch it. It's hard to explain so have a look at the short clip below. It's actually very easy to do. Ideally, the sheet of dough should be almost see-through.
Put the first sheet of dough on a well oiled baking tray.
With the help of two spoons, add the vegan melted cheese.
Roll another sheet of dough like you did before and put it on top of the baking tray, covering it completely. Cut off the dough in excess and push push down the edges to create a sealed rim.
Pinch some holes on the top layer, where the dough meets the cheese. Then add add a mixture made with 2tbsp of water + 2 tbsp of olive oil + pinch of salt. Alternatively you can just drizzle with some olive oil.
Bake in a preheated oven at 230C or 450F for a total of about 16 minutes. Bake the first 13 minutes with the tray touching the bottomoftheoven. Finish the last 3 minutes on the middlerack.Depending on how thin you rolled the dough, it can take a minute or two longer to cook. In any case, it should be very crispy on top and the crust should be golden with some brownish spots.
Variation with spinach
The process is exactly the same as above. You just need to first cook the spinach on a pan with a pinch of salt. For one tray of focaccia you'll need about 500 grams (17.5 oz) of fresh spinach. Cook them until the loose all the water and are completely dry. Then add them on top of the vegan cheese and follow the same steps as above.
This one might take a few more minutes to cook. My advice is to bake the first 13 minutes with tray touching the bottom of the oven, then finish on the middle rack for the remaining 4 to 5 minutes.
Nutritional values are approximated for 1 serving out of 8.If you serve this as a main you can serve about 3 to 4 people. If you serve it as a starter or as part of a brunch with other dishes, then you can serve up to 8 people.