Focaccia Bread

Focaccia+Bread

Zora Hesselberth, Writer

One weekend, my dad made really yummy bread, called Focaccia Bread. He got it from a cookbook called “Desert Person,” by Claire Saffitz. I thought it was really good so I’m going to share the recipe with you! It’s a sheet of bread meaning you don’t make it into a loaf but a sheet. This makes the top crunchy but chewy in the middle. Here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1(¼ oz / 7g) envelope active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • 6 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoon diamond crystal kosher salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin oil plus ¼ cup for topping focaccia and for more oiling hands

Special Equipment:

  • Instant-read thermometer, stand mixer, standard half sheet pan, (18×13 inches)

Instructions:

Dissolve the yeast: In a small saucepan, gently warm ½ cup water over low heat, swirling the pan, just until lukewarm about 105°F for an instant-read thermometer. Carefully pour the water into a bowl of the stand mixer, and whisk in the yeast to dissolve. Set the mixture aside until cloudy and slightly puffed about 5 min.

Mix the dough: Place the bowl on the mixer and attach the dough hook. Add 2 ½ cups water, room temperature, to the yeast mixture, then add the flour and kosher salt. Mix on the very lowest speed until a loose dough forms, about 1 min. Then increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is smooth and wrapping around the hook, about 5 min. Turn off the mixer, cover the bowl with a damp towel, and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Turn the mixer back on and continue stirring on medium-high until the dough is very smooth, extremely elastic, and pulling away from the sides of the bowl, another 10 to 15 minutes. It will be very sticky but don’t add more flour. 

Let the dough rise once: Pour ¼ cup of oil into a large separate bowl and swirl to coat. Use a flexible spatula or dough scraper to scrape the dough into the oiled bowl.  Use your fingertips to dab some of the pooling oil onto the dough’s surface. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it sit at room temperature until the dough doubles in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. 

Fold the dough and transfer it to the pan: Drizzle ¼ cup oil onto the standard half sheet pan, rubbing with your finger to coat the entire bottom and sides. Loosen the sides of the dough with your oiled hands, Pull one side of the dough from the bowl letting the weight of the dough pull itself downward. Drop the dough letting it fold then turn the bowl and do it to the other side. Repeat this 2 more times, place it in the pan instead of the bowl the last folding time. Stretch the dough in all directions to fill the pan then cover with an oiled plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes. 

Proof the dough a second time: Uncover the plastic and make sure the dough is covered the full way all the way into the corners. Put in the fridge until it has doubled in size. If you are going to bake the bread right away let it sit at room temperature for it to double in height. While the dough is rising, arrange two oven racks in the highest and lowest positions and preheat the oven to 450°F.

Dimple the dough: Uncover the risen dough with oiled hands or fingertips presses the dough through to the bottom of the dough creating many dimples.

Bake the Focaccia: Bake the focaccia on the lower rack until the corners of the dough are pulling away from the pan for 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the focaccia to the top rack and continue to bake until the top is very well browned, about 5 minutes longer. 

Cool: Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then use a spatula to loosen the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the focaccia completely cool on a wire rack.