Bread and chocolate are two of my all-time favorite foods. Then throw in the fact that I love all things Italian, including my husband (and my last name – Barcellona). Well, you’ll get two of my three favorites in this recipe. There’s nothing like fresh baked focaccia. It’s so easy to make, and so easy to make it personal. Top it with whatever combination of herbs and goodies you like. My daughters’ favorite is with rosemary, parmesean, salt and pepper. Make the dough the day before you’ll use it and just pop it in the oven about 40 minutes before service time. Baking is a science, so it is best to use a scale for your ingredients. Also, do use bread flour, not all-purpose flour.
2 cups, 5 oz water
.75 oz dry yeast
.5 oz sugar
.5 oz olive oil
.875 oz salt
2 lb bread flour
Various herbs, salt and pepper
Measure out all of your ingredients. Split the flour into two different bowls. Add the sugar to one of the bowls and the salt to the other. In a large, third bowl, pour in the water (between 70 and 90 degrees) and the yeast. Let the yeast bloom a bit. Add the flour and sugar mixture. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. (During cold days, I place it in front of the fireplace. On warm summer days, I set it outside.)
Uncover and mix in the flour/salt mixture and the olive oil. Cover again and let rise for another 45 minutes.
Rub olive oil all over a sheet pan. Pour the dough into the sheet pan and press out with your hands. Rub olive oil over the top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap again and place in the refridgerator over night.
When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap, make dimples in the dough randomly with your fingers and top with your favorite toppings (rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic, parmesean, etc.). Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until very lightly brown. Move to a baking stone for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from stone and cool on a rack. (Don’t worry if you don’t have a stone. It simply makes the bottom crispier. You can just cook it the entire time on the baking sheet.)