Focaccia is a chewy, salty flat but soft Italian bread, that derives its flavor from good olive oil. Herbs and Parmesan cheese are often added to make it sing! It is SO delicious when done right. So take your time. If you don’t succeed at first, try, try again. That is the mantra for baking any bread.
Mix warm water, yeast and sugar in a big bowl or bowl of the mixture. Stir to combine. Let it sit for 10 minutes till the mixture is bubbly and creamy.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flour, kosher salt, 3 tablespoons olive oil and the yeast. Mix on low speed till the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium and continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft. The dough will still be a little wet and sticky. It will be a loose dough not firm.
Mix in the flour, kosher salt, 3 tablespoons olive oil with the yeast mixture. Turn out the dough on the counter. Knead by hand till the dough is smooth and soft but a little wet and sticky. About 10-12 minutes. It will be a loose dough not firm.
Coat the inside of a big bowl with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place (top of the refrigerator, in the oven with oven light on or in a warm sunny spot) until the dough has doubled in size, could take an hour or more.
Coat a half sheet pan with the remaining olive oil liberally. Dust lightly with cornmeal. Deflate the dough and turn it out on the sheet pan. Press and push the dough till it is roughly even across the pan. (Alternatively, you can shape smaller portions of the dough, like I did, about 4 ounces per loaf on the pan). Brush olive oil across the top. Let the dough rise again for 30-45minutes till it’s doubled in size
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Gently poke holes all over the dough taking care not to deflate it. This gives the bread its characteristic look. Brush again with olive oil and sprinkle fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme (optional). Finish with a sprinkling of sea salt.
Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is dark brown, about 30 - 45 minutes. It should sound hollow when you tap on the top. Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool completely (VERY IMPORTANT) before cutting and serving.
My Roots My Rambles explores food that showcases my journey from South of India (My Roots) to the United States (My Rambles). I am a Professional Chef, who likes to make unique and original recipes inspired by my travel and life experiences. The ability to have fun and enjoy making fresh, healthy family dinners is the key focus of this website.