Focaccia is a flat oven-baked rustic Italian bread which may be topped with herbs, onion, cheese etc. Focaccia dough is typically rolled out or pressed with hand to form a thick dough which is then baked in an oven. Focaccia can be used as a side to many meals, as an accompaniment to soups and salads, as an appetizer served with dipping oil or even with hummus, as a base for pizza, or as sandwich bread.
1. All purpose flour / bread flour – 2 cups plus a little more for kneading
Salt – 1 tsp
Olive oil – 1 + 1 tbsp
2. Active dry yeast – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Warm water – Around 1/2 – 3/4 cup or as required
3. Extra virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp
Fresh or dried rosemary – 1/2 tsp
Coarse sea salt – 1 pinch
1) In a large bowl, proof the yeast by combining it with the sugar and warm water. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand 2- 3 minutes until foam appears.
2) Add the flour, salt and 1 tbsp olive oil to the bowl. Now either start kneading, or if you have a stand mixer, put in the dough hook and let it do the work.( If the dough seems stickily wet, add a little more flour.) Add 1 tbsp olive oil and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 7 – 10 minutes.
4) Form the dough into a round ball and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn’t form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size about 1.5 – 2 hrs.
5) Coat a round or square 9 or 10 inch pan or a sheet pan with olive oil. Once the dough is doubled, turn it out onto the prepared pan. Stretch the dough to fit the prepared pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 45 minutes.
6) Drizzle some olive oil on top of the dough and gently spread it all over. Use the tips of your fingers to dimple the entire top of the focaccia. Cover with a plastic wrap and let it rise again in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
6) Combine 1.5 – 2 tbsp olive oil with 1/2 tsp rosemary. Pour it over the top allowing the oil to roll into the indendations and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt.
7) Preheat oven at 425 F.
8) Bake on the middle rack for 14 – 15 minutes, or until its golden brown.
9) After a few minutes remove the focaccia from the pans and transfer them to a wire rack. You can drizzle a tsp or two of olive oil over the focaccia if you wish. Let it cool for at least 15 mts before slicing. These loaves are best served warm.