In Maine a few weeks ago, I quickly developed a taste for focaccia. I'd made it before once or twice, but hadn't really put the time and effort into a real focaccia.
So, last week I decided it was time. It was the long Labor Day weekend and what I imagine will have been one of my last chances to spend the hours that focaccia requires for quite a while now. Classes are in full swing now and life has gotten nutty.
Only 13 weeks until Christmas break, right? After final exams, this will be the first bread I make. This is NOT a diet food, but it is absolutely delicious. If you can find the time, enjoy an afternoon filled with the smell of olive oil and yeast. You will not be disappointed.
Recipe adapted from Baking Boot Camp by The Culinary Institute of America and Goldstein
Makes 2 focaccia
- 2 c lukewarm water, divided
- 2 tsp dry yeast, divided
- 4 1/2 or 5 c all-purpose flour (or bread flour), divided
- 1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp sea salt
The night before baking the focaccia, prepare the biga by combining 3/4 c lukewarm water and 1/4 tsp yeast, stirring until dissolved. Add 1 1/2 c flour and mix everything until combined. Cover the biga and let it rise in a warm spot for at least 8 hours.
In the morning, it should be light and airy. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 3/4 tsp yeast and 1/4 c water, mixing until combined. Add the biga, 1 c water, 3 c flour and 3 tbsp olive oil. Mix dough on low for about 2 minutes then add 1 1/2 tsp salt and mix another 3 minutes. Add some extra flour if dough is too sticky.
Transfer dough to a large bowl coated with olive oil. Let it rise until double, about 45 minutes. Fold the dough over a couple of times and let it rise for about 45 minutes again until doubled.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare two 9" round cake pans by coating them with olive oil (about 1 tbsp). Place half of the dough in each cake pan, spreading it with your fingers until it is the size of the pan. Cover and let dough rise once more for about 45 minutes.
Poke indentations into the dough. Sprinkle each loaf with about 2 tbsp olive oil, partially filling in the dimples. Sprinkle the rosemary and sea salt over the two loaves. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely on wire racks before serving.