As promised yesterday, here’s a yummy focaccia recipe.
I’ll let you all in on a secret – this focaccia is epic. Making focaccia from scratch started out as a fun kitchen experiment almost two years ago and has turned into a fairly regular endeavor that has been an easy addition to dinner parties and tricks my friends into thinking I’m magical.
Luckily, this isn’t an exact science – I’ve used a variety of measurements for the ingredients and this bread has still turned out very well almost every time. It works best if you mix the dough ahead of time and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. But, in a pinch, I’ve been known to make this only a couple hours in advance, and it still turns out just fine. (Just pour a couple extra rounds of wine, and everything’s just fine!)
I have served this focaccia at many gatherings – to accompany an earthy soup (like this one) for a small group; or as a hearty appetizer for a larger party next to platters of good cheese, olives, marcona almonds, and fresh seasonal fruit.
- 2 cups of lukewarm water
- 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 3 cups all-purpose organic flour (plus extra for kneading)
- 2 tsp of fine sea salt
- ½ cup olive oil (plus extra for drizzling and coating the pan)
- Bushel of roughly chopped scallions (about ½ – 1 cup)
- 1 Tbsp finely ground rosemary
- Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Pour ½ cup of the warm water into a mixing bowl and add the yeast and 3 Tbsp of flour. Stir together. Wait about 5 minutes until the mixture gets bubbly (this is the yeast eating the starch in the flour … a very active process!)
Add the remaining 1 ½ cups of water, the almost-3-cups of flour, salt, and the olive oil. Stir in circular motions until the mixture gathers into a sticky mass of dough. Sprinkle the dough with several pinches of flour and knead in the bowl for a few minutes.
*The kneading is the best step. Don’t skip out on it. Get in there, and get your hands sticky. It’s the more socially-acceptable version of playing with play-doh when you’re an adult, and I’ve found this part can be a great form of stress relief. *
Coat a large bowl with a thin layer of olive oil. Make sure that there’s a bit of extra space in the bowl as the dough will rise a bit in the refrigerator. Sprinkle the dough with a smattering of rosemary and some sea salt. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for several hours.
Several hours later/the next day – Remove the dough from the refrigerator and pat and knead it on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes. While the dough is still cold, press it into an oiled (olive oil) banking sheet, patiently spreading the dough to all corners of the baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Using a mortar and pestle (or a bowl and the bottom of a coffee cup if you don’t have one), grind the dried rosemary to release the flavors and aroma of the herb.
Distribute the rosemary and fresh scallions evenly on top of the dough. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and press firm polka-dots evenly across the surface of the dough with your fingers. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the dough is browned on top and the dough has cooked evenly through to the bottom.
This can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days, or go ahead and freeze it. Slip a few slices into a toaster oven to heat up, and it comes pretty close to that freshly baked taste.
This recipe was adapted from and inspired by David Tanis’ book: The Heart of the Artichoke