Focaccia is an absolutely delicious, Italian bread. It bakes in with a lot of olive oil, so the crust is very very crispy and the inside is soft. I top mine with garlic and kosher salt, and it basically replaces chips for a week or two. It’s a snack for me, but you can easily cut it in half and use it as sandwich bread. This is also an awesome and absorbent bread to have with sauces or soups. It keeps fairly well, but as with any homemade bread, it will start getting tough after about a week and within a week and a half it usually goes bad. Fortunately, it is so delicious that it is never a problem to finish the pan off before it goes bad!
After you make this and let it cool, it definitely needs to be stored in an airtight bag or container so that it doesn’t go stale! This recipe is super easy and not very time consuming. As always, it doesn’t require any special equipment.
1 3/4 cups of warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp if you use a jar like me)
1 tbs sugar
5 cups of AP flour (and a little more for kneading)
1 tbs kosher salt
1 cup olive oil
Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl and let rest in a warm place for 15 minutes. I usually cover the bowl with a cloth or paper towel soaked in hot water so that it stays warm. You want the yeast to get bubbly and start emitting that delicious bready smell!
Add in the flour, salt, and half of the olive oil (1/2 cup). Mix everything together with a rubber spatula until it comes together. Then knead it for about 5 minutes. The dough might be very sticky and a little extra flour can be used to bring it all together and keep from making a huge mess. Once the dough has come together, coat the bowl and the dough in a little olive oil. Let the dough rest for at least one hour to rise. I usually cover it with a warm cloth here as well.
In a jelly roll pan (or any 9×13 one inch deep pan) pour in the entire remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Yes, all of it. I promise it is what makes this bread amazing. Spread the dough out into the pan. Flip the dough over so that the other side is also covered in the olive oil. Using the pads of your fingers and your palms, push the dough out to fill up the pan, using your fingers to make deep holes in the dough. This makes that dimpled texture that is so typical of focaccia bread.
Let the dough rest for another hour at least, to rise again. Then preheat the oven to 425°F. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little more olive oil and some kosher salt or sea salt. Then place it in the oven for 20 minutes. While it is cooking, mince or chop one or two large cloves of garlic (or whatever other herb topping you want for your bread). After 20 minutes, cover the bread with your topping(s), and let it cook for 5 more minutes. The bread should be crisp and golden, even dark in a few spots.