This is an easy make-at-home version of the focaccia bread we made for the Farm 2 Fork Festival in Saranac Lake. Please enjoy!
- 1 3/4 cups warm water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 cups organic flour, unbleached
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/8 cup semolina flour for dusting sheet pan
Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes.
Forget the mixer, use your hands!
So many recipes jump straight to the mixer. I say use your hands. They are the best tools around especially when it comes to bread.
In a bowl combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 cup olive oil and the yeast mixture mixing slowly with your hands. Once the dough has come together, cover it and leave it to rest for another 15 minutes. Do this for a few rounds until the dough becomes smooth and soft. Don’t worry if it becomes really sticky and tacky – just coat your hands in a little olive oil. This bread loves olive oil.
After the dough is smooth, knead it gently by hand 1 or 2 more times.
Cover your bowl with a damp towel and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.
Drizzle a sheet pan with a little bit of the olive oil. On top of this place a piece of parchment paper. The olive oil keeps it from moving around.
Dust the parchment paper with the semolina flour. This gives the focaccia a tasty, textured bottom.
Put the dough onto the sheet pan and begin to gently stretch it out to fit the size of the pan. Don’t rush it! Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan.
Make some dimples
After the dough has filled the pan, spread your fingers out and make holes all the way through the dough. (Baker’s Note: This is what gives focaccia it’s well-known dimpled look.) Don’t over do it on the dimples though! Dip your fingers in olive oil so they don’t stick. See if you can press 6 fingers (3 from each hand) across in rows all the way down the pan. A half sheet pan should get 36-42 dimples this way.
Put the dough in the warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
From above your head, sprinkle the top of the focaccia with coarse sea salt and drizzle all the remaining olive oil on top. Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the sheet pan and onto the rack to for last 5-10 minutes to make sure the bottom gets firm. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely before cutting and serving.
Crusty and flaky with the combination of salt and aromatic sweetness from the olive oil makes this such a nice treat. Every family gathering we attend, they always want us to bring focaccia.[/two_third]