Hey – did you happen to see yesterday’s post? If so, then you might have noticed that wonderful Focaccia bread we dipped into our delicious Herb-Infused Oil? The good news is, that homemade Focaccia is easy to make and oh-so-good!
Focaccia is an Italian, oven-baked bread – similar to a pizza dough in appearance but it bakes up thicker and higher. Sometimes, Focaccia is baked with lots of toppings like a pizza – but we simply top ours with some of that herb-infused oil before baking, then a sprinkle of Romano and Asiago cheese on top just before it comes out of the oven.
Like any homemade bread, there is some waiting time involved when making Focaccia as the yeast needs to proof, the dough rises and the gluten develops as it rests. But really – with some time and patience, homemade Focaccia isn’t difficult at all, and the aroma as it bakes is out of this world!
Like many of our other bread recipes, this Focaccia recipe is adapted from The Breadbaker’s Apprentice – a great cookbook to buy for your collection if you love freshly baked bread. We reduced the amount of herb-infused oil in our recipe, saving the rest for dipping.
- 5 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 cups room temperature water
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup Herb-Infused Oil, plus more for dipping, see recipe here
- Olive oil to brush the sheet pan
- ¼ cup grated Romano cheese or Asiago cheese (or both combined)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, sift flour with salt and yeast.
- Turn on low and slowly add water and oil to form a sticky mass.
- Switch to the dough hook and increase speed to medium and work the dough for six minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides but stick to the bottom with the mixer on. If it pulls away from the bottom, add a small amount of water, if it sticks to the sides, add a small amount of flour.
- Generously dust counter and with a wet bowl scraper, scrape the very soft dough onto the flour. Coat your hands with flour and shape into a triangle about 8X4. Let sit untouched for five minutes.
- Spray the top with pan spray and dust with flour, then cover with plastic and let sit 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, stretch the dough with your hands by pulling to the left and right so it is three times as long, then fold each over onto the middle so it is roughly the same size before you stretched. Again mist with pan spray and dust with flour and cover with plastic.
- After 30 minutes repeat the process. Each time, maintain a rectangle shape.
- After 30 more minutes repeat the process again only this time let it sit for one hour.
- While the dough rests make the Herb-Infused Oil.
- Cover a 12×17-inch sheet pan with parchment paper then brush just enough olive oil to coat the paper.
- Gently lift the dough into the pan with a bench scraper and start pushing it to the edges with the tips of your fingers. When you are done, the dough should have finger marks all throughout (called dimpling) and should not be perfectly even and flat. Also don’t worry if it doesn’t fit exactly into the corners. A rustic look is what we are going for here.
- Spoon ¼ cup of Herb-Infused Oil onto the top and spread to the edges (but not over the edge), letting the oil pool in the finger marks. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight and up to three days.
- The next day three hours before baking, pull the foccaia dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for three hours. Remove and discard the plastic wrap after the three hours.
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F with the rack in the center of the oven.
- Place focaccia into oven and reduce temperature to 450 degrees F.
- Bake ten minutes, turn pan and bake five minutes more. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the grated cheese and place back in the oven for five more minutes.
- Remove from oven and slide the bread out of the hot pan onto a rack to cool.
- Note: We found that as soon as it comes out of the oven, if you place another sheet pan on top and weight it down with something heavy, the focaccia will be more dense after it cools and have an even thickness. After 10-15 minutes, remove pan and weight and slide the bread onto a cooling rack.
- If you cool without the weight, it will be high in the center and shallow on the edges. We made two and tried both ways and like the one that we weighted down better. It just had a better mouth feel but totally up to you.
- Once cool enough to handle, cut into however many pieces you wish (we did 3×5 for 15 slices).
- Serve with Herb-Infused Oil for dipping.
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