I’ve shared the results of my focaccia baking adventures here a few times, but I’ve hesitated on posting a recipe for it until I felt like I got it right. Michael has commented that each attempt has yielded a better loaf than the one before, and now that I’ve gotten back into bread-baking mode as the weather has gotten cooler, I’ve finally solidified my method to the point where I feel comfortable sharing it with you. Baking is difficult; it’s been said time and time again that baking requires the level of precision that cooking does not, and I wanted to share something that, well, works.
This produces a sizable loaf that can easily serve 4, whether cut up into pieces to snack on, or to slice in half and use for sandwiches, depending on what toppings you feel like sprinkling on top. For this time around, I went simple: just some fresh rosemary needles. Cherry tomatoes work wonders here too, or tarragon, or even some hard cheese grated over the top.
So here it is: my focaccia recipe as adapted from an incomplete one by Emeril Lagasse:
Serves 2-4 with leftovers
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 packet instant dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1½ cups warm water (no hotter than 110 degrees—I microwaved my water for a minute to get this temperature
- 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for topping
- Olive oil
- Toppings of choice (cheese, herbs, etc.)
In a stand mixer bowl (with the mixer attached to a dough hook), combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and warm water and then stir slowly to combine. Bring the mixer up to medium speed and knead for about five minutes. Depending on the humidity, you may need to add more flour in order to turn it into a smooth ball. After five minutes, knead by hand a little more, adding flour if needed to reduce the stickiness.
Coat a bowl with olive oil and place the smooth ball of dough into it and cover with a towel. Let rise for three hours at room temperature. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×13 pan with olive oil and stretch the dough to fill the pan, press dimples into the dough, and then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle toppings evenly over the top of the bread, and place into the middle of the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Then set the oven to broil, and while monitoring every two minutes, brown the top of the bread to desired doneness.