I've always wanted to try making focaccia, not only because fresh bread is one of life's simple pleasures but mostly because I really just want to press my fingers into soft, airy dough to make all those iconic dimples.
This recipe promises minimal effort and spectacular yield. A few minutes of mixing, then a nap in the fridge, a few more hours on the counter to rise and a quick bake in the oven. Boom! Soft, airy, addictive focaccia.
We ate ours fresh and warm with whipped maple butter, but I also love the idea of making a huge slab sandwich for when there are many mouths to feed.
A few notes
use two 9 inch pie plates if you want two loaves of bread or 1 9x13" plan for a larger rectangle loaf.
a digital scale for measuring ingredients is best, but you'll be fine if not.
plan ahead, as that second rise before baking takes 2-4 hours. I found mine took 4.
Check out this website for step-by-step images and a video.
4 cups (512 g) all-purpose flour or bread flour, see notes above
2 teaspoons (10 g) kosher salt
2 teaspoons (8 g) instant yeast, see notes above if using active dry
2 cups (455 g) lukewarm water, made by combining 1/2 cup boiling water with 1 1/2 cups cold water
butter for greasing
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
other toppings optional - we used dried rosemary
Make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and instant yeast. Add the water. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the liquid is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky dough ball. Rub the surface of the dough lightly with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator immediately for at least 12 hours.
Line two 8- or 9-inch pie plates or a 9×13-inch pan (see notes above) with parchment paper or grease with butter or coat with nonstick cooking spray. (Note: This greasing step may seem excessive, but with some pans, it is imperative to do so to prevent sticking. With my USA pans, I can get away with olive oil alone; with my glass baking dishes, butter is a must.)
Pour a tablespoon of oil into the center of each pan or 2 tablespoons of oil if using the 9×13-inch pan. Using two forks, deflate the dough by releasing it from the sides of the bowl and pulling it toward the center. Rotate the bowl in quarter turns as you deflate, turning the mass into a rough ball. Use the forks to split the dough into two equal pieces (or do not split if using the 9×13-inch pan). Place one piece into one of the prepared pans. Roll the dough ball in the oil to coat it all over, forming a rough ball. Repeat with the remaining piece. Let the dough balls rest for 3 to 4 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 425°F. Pour another tablespoon of oil over each round of dough. Rub your hands lightly in the oil to coat, then, using all of your fingers, press straight down to create deep dimples. If necessary, gently stretch the dough as you dimple to allow the dough to fill the pan. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt all over.
Transfer the pans to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the underside is golden and crisp. Remove the pans from the oven and transfer the focaccia to cooling racks. Let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving; let it cool completely if you are halving it with the intention of making a sandwich.