I've tried a lot of different focaccia bread recipes over the years, but this one is my favorite. I found it years ago and I've made it so many times, I don't even need the recipe anymore. Don't let the length of the recipe discourage you. It's lengthy because it takes about 3.5 hours to make, not because it's hard. This recipe calls for three risings of the dough. It also begins with a "sponge", which gives the dough a boost. If you are not experienced with making breads, remember that it's important the dough be placed in a warm area to rise. (My oven has a "Proof" setting, just for this use, which is really helpful. Lots of new ovens have this setting now.)
Adapted from "Focaccia" by Carol Field
For a printable recipe, click here
for the Sponge
- 1 tsp. yeast (I use a rapid rise yeast)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
for the Dough
- 1 tsp. rapid rise yeast
- 1 cup water water
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- Sponge, above
- 3.25 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
for the Topping
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt
To make the sponge:
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl (I use the mixer bowl of my KitchenAid mixer) and stir in the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
To make the dough:
Add the yeast, water and the olive oil to the sponge in the mixer bowl. With the dough hook running, add just under 3 cups of the flour and salt and mix thoroughly. The dough should come together in a ball in the mixer bowl and then start sticking to the sides of the bowl. When this happens, add flour by the spoonful and mix again. Each time if you see the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, keep adding flour until the dough isn't real sticky anymore. Stop the mixer and touch the dough with your finger. When it is smooth and elastic and not too sticky, it's done. Place the dough in a clean bowl that you have drizzled with a little olive oil. Roll the dough to coat in the olive oil, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1.25 hours.
Punch dough down. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet and press out the dough on the sheet. Let the dough relax for a few minutes and finish stretching it until it reaches the edges. Cover with a towel and let rise again in a warm place for about 1 hour until the dough is doubled. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Just before baking, dimple the dough with your fingers, leaving indentations. Drizzle olive oil over the dough, brush lightly to coat, and sprinkle with salt.
Bake the bread til the crust is crisp and the top is golden, about 20 - 25 minutes. Slide the bread from the pan and slice.
Tip: You can actually make the dough, cover it and refrigerate it for use the next day.