Enjoy this flavorful herbed focaccia bread recipe!
- 5 cups unbleached high-gluten flour plus more for rolling (or bread flour)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 6 tablespoons olive oil plus ¼ to ½ cup oil, for misting and pressing into the surface of dough
- 2 cups water, room temperature
- Caramelized onions, for topping (optional)
- Fresh chopped herbs, for topping (optional)
In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, and yeast. Gently stir together. Add 6 tablespoons oil and water. Repeatedly dip one of your hands (or metal spoon) into cold water and use like a dough hook to work the dough vigorously into a smooth dough mass, while rotating the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand. (To develop the gluten further, reverse the circular motion a few times.) Continue this process for 3 to 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and ingredients are evenly distributed. (See Cook’s Note below for alternative method using an electric mixer.)
Dust a countertop with enough flour to make a “bed” about 6-inches square. Using a scraper (or spatula) dipped in water, transfer the sticky dough to the bed of flour and dust the top liberally with flour. Using your fingers, pat the dough into a rectangle and set aside to relax for 5 minutes. After coating hands with flour, stretch dough from each end until it reaches twice its size. Fold it, letter style, over itself to return to a rectangular shape. Mist top of dough with dough with spray oil and dust again with flour. Loosely cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough again, mist with spray oil, and dust with flour. Recover with plastic wrap and let relax 30 minutes. Repeat this process one more time but allow dough to relax (or “ferment”) for 1 hour. (It should swell, but not double in size.)
Coat a 17-x 12-inch baking sheet with oil and transfer dough. Using your fingers, shape the dough to fit the pan and loosely cover entire pan with a sheet of plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator overnight (or up to 3 days).
One hour before you are ready to bake the focaccia, remove the pan from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and position the rack in the middle of the oven. Drizzle remaining oil over the surface of the dough. (You can use all that you want as the dough will absorb it, even though it looks like a lot.) Dough should be about ½-inch in thickness when filling the pan completely. (Gently add any toppings on top of the dough, if desired.) Place in oven and bake for 12 to 18 minutes or until dough is golden brown and reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, rotating pan from front to back halfway through for even baking. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack for 2 hours before cutting to cool and to allow the bottom to dry out a little. Serve immediately (preferred) or at room temperature.
Makes 1 focaccia.
If preparing with an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until dough takes on a smooth, sticky texture. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. Additional flour may be needed to firm up the dough enough to clear sides of bowl while keeping the dough soft and sticky in texture.) Then continue with resting and baking process as outlined above.
We served our focaccia bread at Tuesday Lunch at The Culinary Center along with Lemon Basil Chicken, a Caesar Salad, and Ganache Brownies with Toasted Pecans. (Click here for the Ganache Brownies with Toasted Pecans recipe).