Go-to Focaccia Bread

Bread is always good, but oh my goodness is this focaccia delicious!  Nice and crispy on the outside thanks a coating of olive oil on the dough, it’s like a cloud of fluffy heaven inside with lots of nooks and crannies for anything you care to spread on it.  It’s also really easy to make, with most of the three hours spent waiting for two rises of the dough.

There are only seven ingredients, and if you have a standing mixer to do all the hard work of kneading for you there’s almost nothing you could do to screw this up.  Props to Anne Burrell for putting the recipe I based this on out into the world.  I’ve got big plans for this bread, so tune in tomorrow to see what I do with it.

I spent that rising time watching Law & Order SVU, which I am SO HAPPY is back on Netflix.  I’m a big crime procedural fan, but I particularly like SVU because I feel like it highlights so many important issues in an approachable way.  Plus, who doesn’t love a good ripped-from-the-headlines episode?  Team Benson for life!

Total Time:  3 hr 5 min
Active:  20 min
Yield:  8 to 10 servings

Focaccia 3

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon dried Herbs de Provence seasoning
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Directions

  • Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl.  Put the bowl in a warm, not hot or cool, place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the Herbs de Provence, and the yeast mixture on low speed.  Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft.  Give it a sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it by hand 1 or 2 times.  Again, give it another sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.
  • Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl.  Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.
  • Coat a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil.  This may seem excessive, but focaccia is an oily crusted bread – it should be swimming!
  • Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan.  Turn the dough over to coat the other side with the olive oil.  Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan.  As you are doing so, spread your fingers out and make finger holes all the way through the dough.  The holes will create the characteristic craggy look of focaccia.
  • Put the dough in the warm place until it has in size, about 1 hour.  While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Focaccia 1
Before and after the second rise – don’t be afraid of all the oil, it’s what makes this delicious!
  • Liberally sprinkle the top of the focaccia with some coarse sea salt and lightly drizzle a little 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 oven and let it cool before cutting and serving.

Focaccia 4

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