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Nothing tastes better than homemade focaccia bread, fresh out of the oven!
Unless it’s Italian Cream Cake, that is. Recently we shared our idea for more meaningful family-time by creating a bi-monthly Sunday Supper. Each of us actively participates in the preparing and cooking of the meal. Ideally this is a meal we have never prepared before. Included in this month’s Italian themed supper was homemade focaccia bread. Definitely something we have never dared try before. We are sorry it took us so long to discover that it wasn’t difficult at all.
- For the dough:
- 2½ cups lukewarm water
- ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2½ teaspoons honey
- 5 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal Kosher salt or 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan and finishing
- Flaky salt for finishing - we love Meldon
- For the brine:
- 1½ teaspoons Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
- ⅓ cup lukewarm water
- In a medium bowl, stir together water, yeast, and honey to dissolve. In a very large bowl, whisk flour and salt together to combine and then add yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated, then scrape the sides of the bowl clean and cover with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature to ferment for 12 to 14 hours until at least doubled in volume.
- Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons oil evenly onto a 18-by-13 inch rimmed baking sheet. When dough is ready, use a spatula or your hand to release it from the sides of the bowl and fold it onto itself gently, then pour out onto pan. Pour an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil over dough and gently spread across. Gently stretch the dough to the edge of the sheet by placing your hands underneath and pulling outward. The dough will shrink a bit, so repeat stretching once or twice over the course of 30 minutes to ensure dough remains stretched.
- Dimple the dough by pressing the pads of your first three fingers in at an angle. Make the brine by stirring together salt and water until salt is dissolved. Pour the brine over the dough to fill dimples. Proof focaccia for 45 minutes until the dough is light and bubbly.
- Thirty minutes into this final proof, adjust rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F. If you have a baking stone, place it on rack. Otherwise, invert another sturdy baking sheet and place on rack. Allow to preheat with the oven until very hot, before proceeding with baking.
- Sprinkle focaccia with flaky salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes directly on top of stone or inverted pan until bottom crust is crisp and golden brown when checked with a metal spatula. To finish browning top crust, place focaccia on upper rack and bake for 5 to 7 minutes more.
- Remove from oven and brush or douse with 2 to 3 tablespoons oil over the whole surface (don’t worry if the olive pools in pockets, it will absorb as it sits). Let cool for 5 minutes, then release focaccia from pan with metal spatula and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
To store, wrap in parchment and then keep in an airtight bag or container to preserve texture. Gently toast or reheat any leftover focaccia before serving. Alternatively, wrap tightly to freeze, then defrost and reheat before serving.
These dimples are like little pockets that hold olive oil and brine. By the way, it does seem strange to pour brine on top of bread dough, but we pinky-swear promise it works!
The focaccia baked to a beautiful golden brown. We were worried that the bread would be greasy or heavy from all of the olive oil.
There was no need for worry at all. This focaccia was slightly crunchy on the outside, while the inside was soft and perfectly doughy. Let’s not forget to mention it was very delicious!
Focaccia is easy to slice – almost like a sheet cake.
Our bread was perfectly scrumptious on its own, but even more so when we added homemade basil pesto. Fresh pesto is used in place of butter.
Nothing can compare or replace the fresh taste of all of our ingredients.
There truly is nothing difficult about this recipe. You just need to remember to mix your dough the night before so that it can rise overnight.
An added bonus is that this dough is fun to work with after you add the olive oil.
The only bread that we have ever made is English Muffin Bread. We are definitely very pleased with how our focaccia bread turned out. So much test-tasting was going on, we almost didn’t have room for supper when it was time LOL.
- Don’t be intimidated
- Give it a try
- Gather your family to assist
- Have fun
- Create memories
Let us know how it goes!
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