Focaccia bread is a flat Italian yeast bread, usually topped with generous amount of olive oil, salt, herbs & cheese. It has a crisp outside with a soft porous tender inside crumb. A perfect accompaniment to any meal, or even as a snack!
½tsp Instant Yeast
1/3cupExtra Virgin Olive Oil
1-½tspfine Sea Salt
1/2cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2tspCoarse Sea Salt
2tbspFresh Rosemarycoarsely chopped
1/2cupgrated Mozzarella Cheese
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, instant yeast and water.
Stir them with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until combined. Beat them for a minute to properly incorporate everything.
Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set it aside at room temperature for 6-8 hours to ferment.
Use immediately or refrigerate to use within 24 hours for best results.
Make the dough
Add water to your poolish bowl and mix to loosen it a little. Transfer it to a larger bowl.
In a large bowl, add your poolish, olive oil and yeast and mix. Add half of the flour and mix well with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon till you get a smooth pancake-like batter. Add the remaining flour and salt and mix to combine.
Continue mixing until you get a shaggy dough. Scrape down the bowl and turn it onto a clean work surface.
Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes until the dough gets strong and elastic. DO NOT ADD extra flour when it gets sticky in beginning.
Form a round ball of dough and put in an oiled bowl. Cover it with cling wrap and allow it to proof for 1 hour (or little more) at room temperature till it almost doubles in volume.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly oiled surface and punch it to degas it. Stretch and fold the dough over itself like an envelope ( stretching and folding left and right edges to the centre and then top and bottom edges to centre).
Place the folded dough back to the bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let the dough ferment again for 1 hour at room temperature.
Shape & Bake Focaccia
Preheat the oven and the 9"x13" pan to 220C. If using a baking stone, preheat it as well.
When the dough is proofed, take it out on a lightly oiled surface. Degas it and press it into a rectangle roughly 8"x12" in size.
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle some cornmeal (optional). Place the dough on the baking sheet and brush the top with olive oil. Use your fingertips to gently press and dimple the surface of the dough.
Use your fingertips to gently press and dimple the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the top of the focaccia with coarse sea salt and grated cheese. Scatter the toppings you are planning to use - I've used sliced onions, tomatoes and dried herbs.
Bake the focaccia bread at 220C for 20-24 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Remove the focaccia from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Brush the top with some olive oil with a pastry brush. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
The focaccia bread is best eaten within 3 days when stored at room temperature.
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