Focaccia Bread Recipe
Fast food in Italy is made with a traditional focaccia bread recipe. The Italians know just how we crave a delicious focaccia bread . Chewy, soft, with a light crust infused with olive oil and fresh herbs. As a meal with salad or enhanced as a pizza this focaccia bread recipe is a winner. I make traditional pizza or add a flare of flavor with onions, potatoes with dollops of mascarpone. Mama Mia it is the bomb.
Focaccia can be used for sandwiches as well. If you can’t eat it all, just cut in half and freeze. It can be popped in a hot oven frozen and it will be like you just baked it.
Extra virgin olive oil for brushing on bowl and focaccia
3 1/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus for shaping
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fast acting yeast
2 tablespoons sourdough (optional)
2 cups room temperature water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, extra for top of bread
Handful fresh rosemary (optional)
Lightly oil a very large mixing bowl and set aside. Fit a stand mixer with a pastry paddle. Mix the flour, sugar, kosher salt, and yeast in the mixer bowl on the slowest speed until they are just combined. Add the water, mix slowly for 30 seconds, then turn to the highest speed and mix for 2 1/2 to 4 minutes, until the dough comes together. You’ll know when the dough is ready because it will suddenly come off the sides of the bowl and wrap itself around the pasty paddle and star to slap the bowl. It will look as though the dough is trying to climb the paddle and start to slap the bowl. The texture will be stringy and elastic. Gently peel the dough from the paddle and scrape the dough into the oiled mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the dough proof at room temperature until it doubles in size and is wonderfully bubbly, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Dust flour over two 12 by 16 inch pieces of parchment paper. Dust a little flour over the risen dough in the bowl. Lightly flour your hands. Using a dough scraper or a knife, divide the dough in half. Pinch off one half of the dough and, with gravity’s help, form the dough into a loose ball on one piece of the floured parchment. Dust a bit more flour on the paper, if needed, so that there is a coating of flour on the paper all around the dough. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Use a pastry brush to coat the centers of the tops of each round of dough with olive oil. Sprinkle the kosher salt on top of the oil Let the dough rounds sit, uncovered, at room temperature until they have doubled in size, 1-3 hours. When they are ready, the doughs will be large, bubbly, expansive, and clearly full of gas.
Place a pizza stone in the middle of the oven and heat it to 500 degrees. If not using pizza stone, place the dough on the parchment directly on a baking sheet.
Dust the tops of the dough lightly with flour and gently pull the dough outward with both hands so that it stretches to about 8 inches in diameter. I call this movement “opening the dough.” Now for 10 seconds using your fingers pocking dimples in the tops of the each dough.
Place one dough parchment per baking sheet. Oil the top of the dough and reinforce the dimples with your fingertips to pull the dough outward all around, it should stretch evenly to make a rough circle that nearly reaches the edges of the parchment and is about 12 inches in diameter.
Open oven, line slide the dough off of the peel if using a pizza stone. Otherwise place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 7 minutes.
Brush the baked warm focaccia with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary needles and serve.