Italian focaccia bread is a fantastic gateway to the the world of bread making. This recipe simplifies the dough making process, step-by-step, in a way that’s easy to understand. The results are truly amazing.
|All-Purpose Flour||600g or 4 1/2 Cups|
|Warm Water||450g or 2 Cups|
|Sea Salt||6g or 3/4 tsp.|
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil||20g or 2 Tbsp.|
|Active Dry Yeast||1/4 tsp.|
Make the Dough & Bulk Fermentation
To start, combine the all-purpose flour and yeast in a large bowl. Mix the two ingredients to combine them thoroughly, then make a well in the center for the liquids. Place the bowl aside.
Next, add the salt to the warm water (the target temperature is 100-105°F) and let it totally dissolved, then add the water into the bowl with the flour and yeast. Drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil.
Use your hands to stir the mixture together. At first the dough is going to look kind of shaggy, but after a minute or two of mixing, it’ll come together into what seems like a fairly wet dough.
Transfer the dough to another lightly greased mixing bowl. Now, grab a quarter of the dough from underneath, then lift up and stretch it until the dough resists. Fold it over and onto itself, then press down to secure the dough in place. Repeat the process four times, working around the perimeter of the dough ball, until you’ve completed a full turn.
Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough let for 20 minutes. Repeat the process of folding and resting three or four more times or until the dough becomes silky smooth and resists a bit when poked. This step should take at least an hour to an hour and a half.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic film and bulk ferment the dough in your refrigerator overnight. I typically make dough in the evening and pull it the following morning so a timeframe of about 12 hours works well for this step.
Second Rise and Baking the Focaccia
Grease an 11×13 inch baking pan with a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil and transfer the focaccia dough into it. Gently press the dough and stretch it into each corner of the pan. If the dough it too tacky and sticks to your hands just wet your fingers a bit. That should solve the problem. Occasionally, I find that the dough can be stubborn so don’t force it. Spread the dough out as much as you can without fighting it, then cover the pan and try again in 10 minutes or so.
Next, cover the pan with a damp towel or plastic film, and leave it rise for an hour. It rise, but not quite double in size. Fill a small bowl with water. Dip your fingers into the water and begin dimpling the focaccia dough. Work from one side to the other and press straight down to the bottom of the pan.
Cover the dough again and let it rest for another hour. At this point, the dough should fill about 1/2 to 2/3 of the baking pan. There should also be bubbles that are visible on the surface of the dough, and if you shake the pan, it should jiggle a bit.
Top the focaccia with fresh rosemary leaves and garlic confit (garlic cloves that have been submerged and gently cooked in olive oil until tender) along with a hefty drizzle of the garlic infused oil. Press the garlic cloves into the dough a little bit. This will protect them from burning.
Finish the focaccia off with a few fat pinches of salt, then bake it in a pre-heated 450°F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. When the internal temperature hits 190°F, the focaccia is ready.
Transfer the bread to a wire rack and let it cool off for a few minutes before cutting into it.
If you enjoyed this recipe, take a look at my version of Detroit-Style Pan Pizza