Intermediate Level 2: Savory Modern Focaccia at Home Online Bread Class – Class 1 of 2



*Slow Rise Pizza On-Demand courses may be viewed as many times as you’d like for 60 days, starting from the time you sign up.*

Savory Modern Focaccia at Home Online Bread Class with Baker, Chef & Author Chester Hastings – Intermediate Level 2 (Class 1 of 2)

In this first of two on-demand, Intermediate level bread making class, Chef, Author, & “Buon GustaioChester Hastings  joins Noel to explore not only the the techniques and traditional ingredients of regional Italian focaccia but also the context and role these iconic flatbreads hold in various regions of Italy. “We judge a dish,” claims Hastings, “not only by its flavors, but by the story that it tells us.”    

Taking a basic dough for focaccia used by “nonnas” throughout Italy for a same-day quick hearth bread and adding a one-day fermentation as well as a couple of modern techniques, the kaleidoscope of focaccia Chester creates are like eating clouds, filled with all those sexy air holes and tender croissant-like textures we love in modern breads while carrying the classic flavors of traditional, regional Italian cuisine. 

Special emphasis will be given to olive oil and its place both in today’s kitchen and at the heart of truly great focaccia.

The Dough

  • Made with Malted American Bread Flour, not too strong
  • Well Hydrated Compared with Many Doughs, about 75%
  • Lots and lots of high quality extra virgin olive oil, about 10%
  • Bulk Retarded and Fermented Overnight for Outstanding Crumb Structure
  • Gentle Shaping for that Open, Airy Crumb and Maximum Crunch on the Crust


The Toppings

  • Focaccia Puddica with Cherry Tomatoes and Oregano
  • Focaccia Cippola with Onions and Fresh Rosemary Flowers
  • Focaccia with Black Olives and Orange Zest
  • Focaccia Genovese – A Classic!

 The next class in this series of two classes will feature all sweet or “dolce” toppings instead of savory.  

Chester Hastings is a chef, writer, and expert on Italian cuisine. He is the author of two cookbooks (links below) and has worked in San Francisco, London, Los Angeles and throughout Italy. He was the founding chef along with Joan McNamara of the iconic Los Angeles eatery Joan’s on Third and has worked in the food industry for over 30 years.  Chester is known as a chef’s chef and a baker’s baker by professionals and advanced home bakers for years. He currently consults for some of the country’s top chefs. 

So many people message him for recipes and tips, he recently started a monthly substack to save time and energy from his busy schedule.  

Hastings entered the culinary world working for James Beard winning chef  Carlo Middione at his famous Vivande Porta Via in San Francisco. Middione’s traditional Southern Italian cooking (revolutionary, at the time) left an Old World influence on Chester and his approach to cooking. . 

Reflecting on his time with chef Middione, Hasting remembers:

“Before I could even peel an onion he put me in the basement offices and made me read Italo Calvino, study the art of Caravaggio, and architecture of Borromini and Bernini. He took me to the opera, convinced that before I could learn how to cook the traditional foods of Italy I had to understand the culture from whence they came. We weren’t artists creating something new, we were anthropologists, keeping the ancient traditions alive!”

Savory Modern Focaccia Online Bread Baking Class Hosted by Noel Brohner of Slow Rise Pizza

A young Chester Hastings with his mentor, Chef Carlo Middone

Cookbook Links:

The Cheesemongers Kitchen: Celebrating Cheese in 90 Recipes

The Cheesemonger’s Seasons: Recipes for Enjoying Cheese with Ripe Fruits and Vegetables

Noel Brohner is a Los Angeles based pizza consultant who offers both Live Zoom and Video On-Demand online pizza classes for professionals and home bakers alike. These online pizza classes will allow you to progress to Neapolitan, New York Pizza, Detroit-Style Pizza, and even Sourdough and high hydration pizzas.

After you Register:

We will send you an email with a link to login to our site and access your dashboard. All class materials and recipes are available on the video page, and you can begin watching immediately after registration.

Suggested Pizza Class Prerequisites: Beginner Level 1 and Intermediate Level 1

Don’t hesitate to email us at if you have any questions.


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