Made some pizza bases? Ready to step up to a higher level? This focaccia is an easy and fun next step in bread making. With a satisfying crispy crust and moist, tasty crumb, this delicious bread goes great with soups and salads. Or, enjoy with a piece of prosciutto or canned sardines in olive oil.
I had been wanting to start my bread making journey for some time. I experimented with pizza bases. That evolved into some flatbreads, some of which were very successful. I wanted more…
Based on a review of the focaccia recipes I could find, focaccia bread was not significantly different from the flatbreads I had been making. The biggest difference? It has a lot more extra virgin olive oil! As a bread newbie at the time, I drew inspiration and guidance from more experienced bakers. In particular, this Bon Appétit recipe…
Note the special guest in this video. Samin Nosrat is the author of one of the essential cooking books, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. I highly recommend this book. She also hosts one of the better Netflix cooking programs – inspired by the book. Worth your time, I assure you.
Even my first attempt at baking focaccia was as good as any I had eaten in the past. Subsequent attempts confirmed it. It really is as easy to bake a Focaccia bread as good as anything you can buy in your local bakery. So bake we did. And so should you.
Perhaps the most fun part was poking your fingers into the uncooked dough to create the fissures for the extra virgin olive oil to fill.
Origin of Focaccia
Focaccia is of Italian origin and is often used as a side to the main dish or sandwich bread. Because of the amount of olive oil used, Focaccia makes a perfect host for salads. I have also served it as a side for soups and a host for a braised pork belly sandwich. It was popular with a wide range of guests, including Asian eaters who were not familiar with European food styles.
In the photograph above, the Focaccia accompanies a really delicious Speck and some canned sardines packed in olive oil. And rest assured, a glass of red wine was close at hand.
Easy and fun Focaccia
- 2 1/2 cup water luke warm
- 1 sachet active dry yeast about 2 1/2 tsp
- 3 tsp honey
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp rock salt for the topping
- Whisk together the warm water, yeast, and honey in a large bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes. Bubbles should be appearing.
- Add 3 cups of flour and stir to combine.
- Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. The dough should expand and bubbles be evident on the surface.
- Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and start kneading with one hand.
- Knead for around 3-4 minutes, adding sprinkles of flour as needed to stop it sticking to your hand or bowl.
- Fold in 1 Tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil, knead some more, then fold in another Tbsp.
- Knead another 3-4 minutes until you can form it into a ball with a smooth surface.
- Smear the inside of the bowl with the 1 Tbsp olive oil.
- Put the ball of dough in the middle of the bowl, cover and let sit at room temperature for 2 or 3 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degC.
- Punch down and massage to remove any remaining gas by folding the sides into the middle.
- Butter a baking tray and drizzle in some olive oil. You could use parchment paper to line the tray for extra non-stick insurance.
- Tip the dough into the tray and massage to distribute evenly. Don’t worry if it keeps retracting and not expanding to the corners.
- Allow to rest for 30 minutes. The dough should expand into the remaining gaps in the baking tray.
- Use your fingers to punch holes in the dough. It should look like this.
- That is a fun part you might like to share with others in your household.
- Drizzle over the remainder of the olive oil.
- Bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden brown.
- Server with extra virgin olive oil, prosciutto, sardines….