I cannot explain the joy and simplicity of focaccia any better than Claire Saffitz did in her YouTube video detailing how to make the focaccia recipe from her cookbook, Dessert Person. You can watch the video below and buy her cookbook here.
Makes: One 18×13 loaf
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 4 hours
- 1 envelope/.25 oz/7g active dry yeast
- 6 cups/24oz/780 bread flour
- 2 tablespoons/.6oz/17g kosher salt
- 1/2 cup/5oz/110g extra-virgin olive oil plus 1/4 cup/2.5oz/55g for topping plain focaccia and more for oiling hands (we used alla vita’s Rosemary Olive Oil or Tuscan Herb Olive Oil)
- Optional toppings
- Flaky salt, for sprinkling the top
- Instant-read thermometer
- Stand mixer with dough hook attachment
- Standard half-sheet pan (18×13 inches)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk yeast into 1/2 cup warm water. Let proof for 5 minutes or until bubbly.
- Add 2-2.5 more cups of water, the flour, and salt to the yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook attachment on low until the flour and water have combined before turning to medium high and mixing until dough comes together (5 minutes).
- Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Remove the towel and mix on medium high until the dough pulls away from the side (10-15 minutes).
- In a clean bowl, add 1/4 cup olive oil and swirl to coat the sides. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl and work the olive oil around the dough so the dough is thoroughly coated. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Oil the sheet tray with 1/4 cup olive oil.
- Pick the dough up from the middle and stretch the middle upward while leaving the edges in the bowl. Turn bowl 90 degrees and repeat until you’ve gone around the bowl twice stretching the dough.
- Transfer the dough to the oiled sheet tray and do your best to quickly stretch to dough out to the corners of the pan. It will bounce back, so it won’t be perfect.
- Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- If you are using toppings, slice them to a desired size and let them infuse in 1/4 cup of olive oil while your bread rests.
- Carefully uncover the bread and stretch the dough to the edges. Cover again and let rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 450 with one rack on the bottom and one rack on the top.
- Uncover the dough and “dimple” the dough by repeatedly pressing olive oiled fingers into the dough, all the way down to the pan.
- Drizzle olive oil topping on the top of the bread and sprinkle with salt. Place into the oven on the bottom rack for 20-25 minutes or until the focaccia starts to pull away from the edges of the pan.
- Transfer to the upper rack and bake for 5-10 minutes more or until desired brownness has been achieved.
- Let cool and separate from the pan with a spatula. Cut into pieces with kitchen shears and serve. Keeps well for a week, if it lasts that long!