FOCACCIA

Focaccia is another of those breads well suited to personal adaptations.  The most difficult part about making it is handling the soft dough but if you can make pizza you can make focaccia. Start with a poolish, which is just a wet mix of flour, water and yeast.  For focaccia I like to mix garlic (minced fresh or mashed roasted) and fresh rosemary with the poolish.  The overnight rise infuses the dough with those flavors.  Basil, oregano or an Italian pre-mixed herb blend, are all good choices.  Use fresh if possible for the best flavor.

Kalamata olives and parmesan are my favorite toppings.  Some other suggestions:  sautéed mushrooms, thinly sliced fresh or caramelized onions, julienned dried tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes, feta or mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts, or pretty much anything you’d put on pizza.  If you use meat, cook it first.  I stay away from any meat that’s not cured because I don’t want to refrigerate leftover focaccia.  Not that you’re likely to have that anyway. If you’re a dipper kind of person, this stuff is OMG good dipped in a little balsamic vinegar and/or flavored olive oil, or drizzled with balsamic reduction.

Double this recipe for a 12″x18″ jelly roll pan.

— Joan, 8 April 2016

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FOCACCIA

POOLISH

  • poolish3/4 cup (170 grams) lukewarm water
  • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons (166 grams) bread flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic, or 1 generous tablespoon roasted, mashed garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or other herbs

Mix all together in a bowl. Cover tightly and let sit at cool room temperature (around 60-65°F) overnight, or refrigerate for up to 18 hours.  If refrigerated, bring to room temperature before using.

FINAL DOUGH

  • 3/8 cup (80 grams) lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) olive oil
  • all of the poolish
  • 1½ cups minus 1 tablespoon (200 grams) bread flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix the water, olive oil and poolish in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Mix on low just to combine.  Add the flour, yeast and salt, mixing on low until all of the flour is incorporated.  Turn to medium high and knead for 5-7 minutes.  Turn dough out onto a surface sprayed with oil.  Stretch and flatten into a rectangle roughly the size of your baking pan.  Cover with an inverted pan or large container and let rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, stretch the dough out and back onto itself on all four sides, turn it over and pat back into a  rectangle, then cover and let rest another 30 minutes. Turn the oven on to 500°F at this point so it has an hour to get hot. Repeat the stretching and folding of the dough one more time, cover and rest another 30 minutes.

doughLightly oil a 9″x13″ pan with low sides, cookie sheet or pizza pan. Move the dough to the pan and stretch to fit.  You may need to let it rest for 10-20 minutes midway to relax so it will stretch. Place in a large container with a lid and set aside to rise till it’s about doubled and puffy-looking.  Poke the surface with your fingers, place the toppings, and drizzle it all with olive oil.  Cover again and let it rest for 20 minutes.Turn the oven down to 450ºF and bake for about 10-15 minutes, till top is golden brown.

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