Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Prep Time: 23 hours; with 25 minutes active time
Yield: 2 loaves of focaccia bread
Recipe inspired by:
Focaccia bread is a flat, oven-baked Italian loaf related to pizza and commonly topped with herbs and olive oil. Known throughout Europe as the best bread ancient Rome could produce (known back then as panis focacius), anyone who’s ever had a fresh loaf of focaccia bread can tell you it is one of the best breads for snacking, making sandwiches or just about anything you can think imagine.
This particular recipe was adapted from one of my newest favorite bread baking books, Maggie Glezer’s Artisan Baking. The recipe produces a different-style focaccia bread than most are accustomed. The loaves get flipped over after the first five minutes of baking which creates a nice golden crust on all sides of the loaves. The interior crumb is smooth and creamy with a final flavor hinting of butter…which is funny because there is no butter in this bread!
This is really one of the easiest (not to mention tastiest) focaccia bread recipes I’ve found. The most intimidating aspect of this recipe is on the surface it takes nearly 23 hours to make. However, you’re only doing something for about 25 minutes of this time. The rest of the time is spent waiting for the dough to rise, ferment, develop and otherwise turn into all sorts of amazing. If you enjoy focaccia bread or dipping things in olive oil I definitely recommend giving this loaf a try! It is well worth the time investment.
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup water, 110-115° F
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups water, lukewarm
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (+) 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (+) 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cup water, lukewarm
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Step-by-step Directions with Pictures:
Prepare the Poolish
1. Whisk together the yeast and the 110-115° water in a medium bowl and let it rest for 5 minutes.
2. Add 1/4 cup of the yeasted water to the flour; then mix in the lukewarm water. The batter will be very gloppy. Cover the poolish with plastic wrap and let it ferment overnight on the counter for 12 hours.
Preparing the Focaccia Dough
3. Add the 3/4 cup lukewarm water and oil to the poolish. Stir to loosen the poolish and slightly mix the ingredients together.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, rosemary and yeast.
5. Pour the poolish mixture into the bowl of flour. Stir the mixture with a mixing spoon until it forms a rough dough.
Kneading the Dough
6. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead for about 5 minutes. Cover the dough with a bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes. Continue kneading the dough without adding any extra flour until it is smooth; about 10 minutes.
7. Place the dough in a container or bowl at least twice its size and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough stand until light and doubled in size, about 6 hours. Give the dough a business letter turn 3 times in 20-minute intervals (after the first 20, 40 and 60 minutes of rising). After the last turn, let the dough rise undisturbed for the remaining time.
Shaping the Dough
8. Pour the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Cut dough in half. Round the pieces into discs and let them rest for 20 minutes.
9. Lightly press one piece of dough into a rectangle.
10. Loosely fold dough into thirds like a business letter by folding the bottom short edge up and the top down.
11. Place the dough seam side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray the dough with nonstick cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let bread rise for about 1-1/2 hours.
12. Use your hands to gently press each piece of dough into a 12 X 6-inch rectangle. Press your fingertips deeply into the dough. Recover loaves with plastic wrap and let them rise until very soft and expanded; about 2 more hours. The total rise time from steps 11 and 12 is 3-1/2 hours.
13. About 45 minutes before the bread is completely risen, preheat oven to 450° F. Poke the dough all over with a toothpick or bamboo skewer, pushing all the way through.
Baking the Dough
14. Bake the bread in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Carefully flip the breads over onto the pan and remove the parchment paper. Continue baking until they are well browned, about 20 minutes more, rotating after 10 minutes. Let backed focaccia loaves cool on a rack.
Check out more focaccia bread recipes on Yeast Spotting at wildyeastblog.com