The act of eating focaccia is traditional and almost primal – tearing pieces from a large focaccia slab, dipping it into oil or gravy, and relishing the flavours both baked into the focaccia and those which adorn it at the table. For years our special family dinners included a large focaccia that sat in the centre of the large table, with family helping themselves during the meal. It is also great to take on picnics.
This recipe is from The Bread Bible, an amazingly accurate tome of bread and related recipes. The result is that the results are predictable, and very very good.
source: The Bread Bible
prep time: 5.5 hours including rising times
cooking time: 12 minutes
serves: 6 – 8 people, depending how you use it
2.75 cups flour
3/8 tspn yeast (1.2 grams) (!)
2 liquid cups minus 2 Tblspns slightly warm water (!)
0.75 tspn sugar
0.75 tspn salt
2 Tbslpn plus 2 tspn extra virgin olive oil
2 tspn fresh rosemary needles
0.25 tspn sea salt
In the mixer bowl, using a paddle or bread dough attachment, on low speed (#2) combine the yeast and the flour. Gradually add the water, mixing just till the dough comes together, about 3 minutes. It will be very soupy.
Increase the speed to medium (#4 speed) and beat until the dough is transformed into a smooth, shiny ball, about 20 minutes.
Add the sugar and salt, and beat until well combined, about 3 minutes.
The dough will look like melted mozzarella. Scrape it into a 2.5 litre bowl for rising, lightly greasing the top of the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Mark the side of the bowl at approx. twice the height of the dough (!!!) so you will know when the dough has risen sufficiently.
Allow to rise in a warm space for up to 4 hours.
Coat a sheet pan or oven tray with olive oil and some flour to avoid sticking. Pour the dough onto it. It will pour, but be very stretchy. Spread the dough as thin as possible without tearing (about 0.25″ – 0.5″). Let it relax for 10 minutes, then spread it to fill the tray. If it is still very elastic and not spreading, allow to rest for another 10 minutes.
When spread, cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Turn the oven on now, at 230 degrees C and heat for an hour with the rack at the lowest position. Use a baking stone if you have one. Heat for at least an hour.
Uncover the dough. Sprinkle olive oil evenly over the dough, sprinkle with rosemary salt or with crushed rosemary and sea salt.
Place it in the oven on the hot stone or on the lowest rack. Bake for 12 minutes or until the top is golden. Remove from the oven, drizzle some olive oil over if you desire, and serve immediately.
I slid it onto a large cutting board and took it to the table to cut.
Roast a whole head of garlic in the oven in the hour you are waiting for it to heat. Or cover the garlic with oil and confit in the oven. Use the garlic infused oil for the focaccia and the garlic cloves to stud the dough before baking.
- Try no knead “in an hour” focaccia as well.