Oh, focaccia. I’m not sure anything better exists. Well, then there’s cake…but I digress. If you’ve never made anything with yeast I recommend starting with this bread. It is stupidly easy and I’m not sure you could mess it up. There isn’t really any forming to be done; you just stretch the dough out into a pan and even poke holes in it! It’s really fun, actually.
And the dough. This recipe makes the most beautiful dough…it’s smooth and pillowy and so easy to work with. I actually prefer to mix and knead this dough by hand, rather than use a mixer. It’s kind of therapeutic in a way. Try it, you’ll see what I mean.
This recipe is very versatile and you could throw pretty much anything on it and it would be good (I’ve listed a few variations down below). We usually just eat it as is but we’ve used it for sandwiches too and it’s delicious both ways. The fluffy interior and crusty, oily exterior make this bread a winner in every way. Make this dipping oil to go with it…just don’t blame me if you demolish more than your fair share.
Rosemary Parmesan Focaccia
serves a crowd
- 1 3/4 cups warm water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for coating the pan
- dried rosemary leaves
- freshly grated parmesan
Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Allow to sit until the yeast has bloomed and is bubbly, about 10-15 minutes. Add the flour, salt, and olive oil and mix until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5-8 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to keep it from sticking (be careful not to add too much additional flour as this results in dry bread; add it sparingly).
Wipe out your bowl and coat lightly with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover and set in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
Transfer the dough to a jelly roll pan coated generously with olive oil (I use my stone pan and it works perfectly). You want to use quite a bit so it soaks into the bread while baking to create a delicious oily crust. Anne’s recipe calls for 1/2 cup but I use a little less (probably about 1/3 cup). Stretch the dough out with your fingers to cover the whole pan and turn over to coat both sides with oil. As you’re spreading out the dough, poke holes with your fingers all over and all the way through to get the ‘craggy’ look of focaccia. Set in a warm place and allow to rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Lightly drizzle the top of the focaccia with more olive oil and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt, dried rosemary leaves, and parmesan cheese (just put as much as you like- I use about 2 teaspoons of rosemary and 1/2 cup parmesan). Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Topping variations: thinly sliced tomatoes & basil // sliced kalamata olives // cheese & garlic
Source: slightly adapted from Anne Burrell