One of my goals this year is to make as many of the recipes in Julia Child’s Baking with Julia cookbook. Even though we are in the second half of the year, I am still happy to make my first one – and it turned out great (unlike a few other recipes I’ve been testing out lately…). I am using her cookbook as a way to get a good grasp on the basic foundations of baking. Plus this recipe is pretty easy, and pretty freaking good. You will need a stand mixer with a dough hook to take all the kneading out of the equation and give yourself enough time to let the dough rest overnight. Other than that, just a few simple ingredients and you will have some truly wonderful bread.
Focaccia is also great for sandwiches. The multiple coatings in olive oil give the crust a wonderful crispness without being hard.
Focaccia is an Italian flat bread that can be know for it’s toppings and liberal use of olive oil. The base is a simple but well flavored dough that really lets toppings shine. Some ideas are:
– Flakey sea salt (a must in my opinion!)
– Tomatoes – sun-dried or fresh
– Olives of any kind
– Cheese (vegan or regular)
More bread recipes to try!
Focaccia can also make wonderful breadsticks for dipping. My sister-in-law made an olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh herb mixture for this recipe that felt like authentic Italian (to this non-Italian that has never been to Italy…). Marinara sauce and plain olive oil with sea salt are also easy but delicious options!
- 780 g (6 1/2 cups) All Purpose Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil Plus more for coating
- 4 teaspoons Salt
- 2 1/4 cups Water, 90-110 degrees F See notes
- Flakey Sea Salt Optional
- Whisk 1/2 cup of the water with the yeast in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes until "creamy".
- In a large measuring cup, add 1-3/4 water and 1/4 cup olive oil and set aside.
- In a stand-mixer bowl, add salt and flour and whisk together. Attach to mixer with a bread hook and start on lowest speed.
- Combine yeast mixture and water mixture. Then slowly add to the flour.
- Keep the mixer on low until the dough is starting to come together, then place on medium high for 10 minutes until the dough is very elastic and pulling away from the bowl completely. If the dough is too dry, slowly add one Tablespoon of water at a time until it is a soft dough.
- Place dough in a large bowl generously coated with olive oil, coat dough with oil as well. Cover and let rise for 1 - 1.5 hours until dough has doubled in size.
- Place the dough on a 12x16 baking sheet coated in olive oil. Cover and let rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Spread the dough evenly in the pan, coat with more olive oil and create dimples in the surface with your fingers. If the dough will not spread easily, let it rest longer.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours. The longer in the fridge, the more developed the flavor and the air bubbles.
- When ready to bake, take dough out of the refrigerator and set it set while the oven pre-heats to 450 degrees F. Add any toppings, flakey sea salt or more olive oil.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until bread is golden brown.