Focaccia is one of my favourite things to bake because it’s great on its own or with other things, you can easily riff on it (turn it into pizza! use different flavours!) and it lasts for a while in the fridge. Plus, I almost always already have the ingredients on hand. Here’s the recipe I’ve used over and over:
Keep in mind that this recipe needs to be started about 10h in advance (I usually start it at night and then finish it in the morning, OR start in the early morning and finish after dinner). There is a long 8h rest that will definitely trip you up if you start 45 minutes before you want to eat!
You will have the most success if you weigh your ingredients. We use a really simple kitchen scale (ours is old, but this one is similar), which makes all the difference.
A stand mixer (this one is a really good price!) is also helpful, mostly for your biceps! It’s also ok if you don’t have one.
850 g flour (you can use white or whole wheat- sometimes I do a blend of whatever I have, and I find this recipe pretty forgiving. In this batch I used entirely whole wheat!)
750 mL water
Yeast (active dry yeast from a package is my go-to!)
Olive oil (Try to find good stuff! I’m currently going through a bottle a patient made for me, and the flavour is amazing)
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a big, sturdy bowl), combine 850g of flour with 625mL of room temperature water. Mix for 4-5 minutes at low speed with the dough hook.
While that’s mixing, combine 6g (1 package) of yeast with 125 mL of water and a pinch of white sugar. This part is important- the water should be 40 deg C (about 104F)- not much warmer but also not much cooler. Typically this feels to me like something a bit warmer than bathwater, but I also love using our trusty thermometer to get it right. Whisk gently together and let stand for about 5 minutes. You will know your yeast are active if the surface becomes bubbly.
Add the bowl of sugar-yeast-water mix to the flour-water mix. Mix with stand mixer for another few minutes, until combined. Halfway through, add 1-2 tablespoons (17-34g) of coarse salt.
Take a large, clean bowl and coat it really well with olive oil. Dump the dough into this bowl and cover it tightly with saran wrap. Leave on the counter for 2h to rise. It should about double in size.
Next, generously oil a large 13×18″ baking sheet. You can also use 2 sheets that are 13×9″. We have a set like this, which I love. Turn the dough out of the bowl and onto the oiled sheet. Spread it out to the edges of the sheet, by pushing it gently. Use your fingertips to make dimples in the surface of the dough. Lightly coat the top with a little more olive oil, cover it with saran wrap (doesn’t have to be too tight!) and place it in the fridge for 8h (this is what I do overnight).
Finally, take the dough out of the fridge. Sprinkle it with whatever toppings you’d like. Our favourites are dried rosemary and coarse salt, but you could also use crushed red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes, or caramelized onions and goat cheese, or whatever suits your fancy! Rest the finished dough on the counter while you heat the oven. Set it to 400F/200C/Gas 6 and let it warm up for at least 30 minutes.
Put the dough in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your sheet. Try not to open the oven during baking! Take it out when the edges are golden and the texture is springy but not soft. I usually bake my large sheet for about 26-27 minutes.
And- voila! You made focaccia. I like to cut it up with kitchen shears and keep it in a tupperware on the counter. After a day or so you should move it to the fridge because it is very moist and would be prone to mould at room temp. We eat it plain, as a sandwich (tomato, mozarella, spinach, basil, leftover rotisserie chicken, be still my heart), or dipped in hummus or tzaziki. It also freezes well in an airtight container!
Did you try it? How did it turn out? I’d love to hear!