Focaccia Bread

This is one of my favorite recipes! It was the first bread recipe I attempted, and it is by far the easiest bread recipe I've ever used. Trust me, it is almost impossible to mess this one up. The directions are wordy, but don't let that stop you!

Focaccia Bread

4 to 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water (105 degrees Fahrenheit to 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (same temp)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt

1. Start by making a "sponge," which is the starter for the bread: In a bowl combine 1/2 cup of the flour, the 1/2 cup warm water, and the yeast. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand overnight (or 8 hours) at room temperature to ferment.

2. Gradually stir in the 1 cup warm water, the 2 teaspoons salt, and just enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).

3. Turn dough out onto a greased baking sheet. Place an extra large bowl upside down over the dough to cover it; let rest 30 minutes...this will help form a stiffness to the dough. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Shape dough on the baking sheet into a circle about 11 inches in diameter by pulling and pressing with your fingertips. (Try not to stretch dough too roughly or it will deflate; you want to keep air bubbles intact.)

4. Make 1/2-inch-deep indentations every 2 inches in dough. Brush dough with olive oil; sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden, checking after 8 minutes and popping any large air bubbles with a sharp knife. Remove focaccia from sheet with large spatulas. Cool on a wire rack about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

We LOVE ripping it apart and dipping it in olive oil and vinegar. You can also use it for sandwiches.


Amy said...

Yummy! This looks really good... maybe even I could do it. Bread and I haven't had the greatest experiences together in the past :)

ashleybecar said...

Mmmm!! I made this and we had it with the tortellini soup recipe. Sooo yummy!