What is better than homemade bread? I love focaccia because one recipe makes a TON and it becomes a canvas for any flavors you wish to apply to it, like a pizza. I quarter each loaf and freeze half so that I usually have some bread on hand.
I kept this batch relatively simple with a just a sprinkling of dried thyme for demonstration purposes, but also love to add different toppings to focaccia that you add just before baking such as rosemary, julienned sundried tomatoes, chopped olives, red onion, basil, asiago… I adapted this recipe from the great Netflix series, Salt Fat Acid Heat. You can also adapt this recipe to use sourdough starter in place of yeast. Simply substitute 1 cup of fed starter for the yeast, and reduce the water by 120 grams (about 1/2 cup) and reduce the flour by 160 grams (about 1 cup). You will also need to increase the rise time by four hours or more, making sure the mixture has doubled in volume.
2½ cups (600 grams) water, lukewarm
½ teaspoon active dry yeast (or see recipe note above to substitute sourdough starter)
2½ teaspoons (15 grams) honey
5 1/3 cups (800 grams) flour, all-purpose
2 tablespoons (18 grams) Kosher salt
¼ cup (50 grams) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for pan and finishing
Flaky Sea Salt, for finishing (like Maldon)
1½ teaspoons (5 grams) Kosher salt
⅓ cup (80 grams) water, lukewarm
In a medium bowl stir together water, yeast and honey until dissolved. In a large bowl, whisk flour and salt, then add yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir until just combined making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Cover with plastic and allow to rise and ferment at room temperature for 12-14 hours (or more if using sourdough starter) until the dough has doubled in volume.
Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a baker’s half sheet and spread to cover. Once the dough is ready, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to release, and pour dough onto the oiled sheet. Pour about 2 more tablespoons of olive oil over the dough and spread across with your fingers. Gently stretch the dough by pulling it from underneath and outward. The dough will shrink back, but that’s ok. Over the course of the next 30 minutes, stretch the dough twice more to ensure it stretches to cover most of the pan.
Using your first three fingers, dimple the dough all over. Then make the brine and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Pour the brine over the dimpled dough. Proof the dough for 45 minutes; it will become bubbly.
While the dough is on its final proof, move your oven rack to the center and preheat to 450°F. If you have a baking stone, place it on the rack; otherwise invert a second baking pan to set the pan on.
Sprinkle the focaccia with flaky salt. If you are adding any other herbs or toppings, add these now. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. To finish browning the top, remove from oven and carefully move the oven rack and baking stone to the top rack and bake for 5 more minutes.
When done baking, pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over the whole surface. The olive oil will quickly soak in while it’s hot, even if it looks like it’s pooling at first. Allow to cool slightly, then move to a metal cooling rack. Serve while still warm or at room temperature.