Stuffed Croque Monsieur Focaccia with Ricotta and Swiss

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Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal KneadingHave you ever tried a croque monsieur? It’s a crisp, buttery, fried ham and cheese sandwich popular in French bistros. Here, thin slices of ham and Swiss are layered between focaccia dough for the ultimate stuffed sourdough sandwich. The surface is painted with piquant Dijon mustard and dolloped generously with creamy ricotta to finish. Serve warm, and invite everyone you know to gather round for a thick-cut wedge straight from the oven. This, my friends, is sourdough heaven.

About the Dough: The trick to making stuffed focaccia is all in the sandwich-style shaping. For best results, as you layer the dough, make sure to stretch and dimple as evenly as you can. This will avoid any large, cavernous air pockets and promote even cooking throughout the dough.

  • Yield: 1 Large Focaccia

Ingredients

Dough
  • 50 g (¼ cup) bubbly, active starter
  • 400 g (1⅔ cups) cool water
  • 20 g (1⅔ cups) cool water
  • 450 g (3¾ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 50 g (⅓ cup plus 1 tbsp) whole wheat flour
  • 9 g (1½ tsp) fine sea salt
  • 45 g (3 tbsp) olive oil, divided, for coating
Topping
  • 8 slices of Swiss cheese, divided
  • 8 slices of good-quality ham or prosciutto, divided
  • 20 g (1 tbsp) Dijon mustard
  • 250 g (2 cups) whole milk ricotta
How to Make It
  1. A few days before baking, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready to use.
  2. Make the Dough
  3. In the evening, whisk the starter, water, and honey together in a large bowl with a fork. Add the flours and salt. Mix to combine, then finish by hand to form a rough, shaggy dough. Replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and store according to preference.
  4. Bulk Rise
  5. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise overnight at room temperature, 70°F (21°C), about 12 to 18 hours. The dough is ready when it has doubled or tripled in size.
  6. Divide
  7. Remove the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half using a wet knife or bench scraper. Coat a rimmed sheet pan with 30 grams (2 tbsp) of olive oil. Pour the remaining 15 grams (1 tbsp) onto a large plate no need for an additional sheet pan. Place one piece of dough on the sheet pan and the other on the plate.
  8. Second Rise
  9. Cover each piece of dough with a damp towel. Let rest for about 1 to 2 hours or until noticeably puffy.
  10. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  11. Assemble the Focaccia
  12. Working with the dough on the sheet pan, gently stretch into a large rectangular shape, about 14 × 9 inches (36 × 23 cm) or larger. Evenly arrange 4 slices of Swiss and 4 slices of ham on top. Lift and stretch the remaining piece of dough and place it over the toppings to create a sandwich. Stretch and dimple the surface, docking the sides with your fingertips to seal the dough and to evenly distribute the weight.
  13. Brush the dough generously with Dijon mustard. Tear the remaining slices of Swiss and ham and arrange over the top. Dimple the toppings into the dough so they do not pop out when baked. Dollop with the ricotta cheese.
  14. Bake
  15. Bake the focaccia for 30 to 40 minutes, or until deep golden brown. The cheese will bubble, the ham will get slightly crisp, and the ricotta will become warm and creamy. It will smell amazing. Cut into wedges or squares. Serve warm.
  16. This focaccia will last up to 2 days, wrapped in foil at room temperature. Reheat to serve or enjoy at room temperature.
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