I've been wanting to make focaccia for a while now but there are so many recipes out there that I never know which one to try. I finally just picked one made it and it turned out quite good, crispy and chewy and flavorful. Sadly, the only olive oil I had in the house wasn't the best and that came through in the bread. With a really good olive oil I think this recipe would be great. I also had to replace the rosemary with thyme, I would have preferred the rosemary but hey, go with what you got, right? I want to try some other focaccia recipes now, and see the different forms focaccia can take, but this was a good start.

Chewy, crunchy goodness

The dough lifecycle

Golden brown, yum
I cut myself a nice big slice!

Note: This was a very wet dough, I wouldn't even attempt to knead it by hand like the recipe said to. Pull out the Kitchen Aid and let it do all the work!

from Amy's Bread

  • 200 g/7 oz (¾ c plus 2 Tbs) very warm water (105-115 degrees) 
  • 1/8 tsp active dry yeast 
  • 227 g/8 oz (1½ c plus 2 Tbs) all-purpose flour 
  • 425 g/15 oz (1¾ c plus 2 Tbs) warm water (85-90 degrees) 
  • ½ tsp active dry yeast 
  • 340 g/12 oz (1½ c) Biga 
  • 638 g/22.5 oz (4½ c) bread flour 
  • 42 g/1.48 oz (2 Tbs plus 2 tsp) Milk 
  • 36 g/1.27 oz (2 Tbs plus 2 tsp) Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 13 g/0.45 oz (1 Tbs plus 1 1/4 tsp) Kosher salt 
  • 10 g/ 0.35 oz (2 Tbs plus 1 tsp) Fresh rosemary, about 2½ branches, chopped 
  • Additional olive oil and kosher salt, as needed, for topping 
For the Biga: in a medium bowl, mix together the warm water and yeast. Add the flour and stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until a smooth batter has formed. The batter will be fairly thick and stretchy, but don't worry, it will improve after rising. Put the biga into the container and cover the container with plastic wrap.

Let it rise at room temperature (75-78 degrees) for 6 to 8 hours, or for 1 hour at room temperature, then place it in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. Remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours before use it should more than double in volume. If you use the starter while it's still cold from the refrigerator, be sure to compensate for the cold temperature by using warm water (85-90 degrees) in your dough.Use the starter while it is still bubbling up, but before it starts to deflate.

For the Foaccaia: Place the warm water and yeast in a large bowl, stir with a fork and allow to stand for about 3 minutes. Add the biga to the yeast mixture and mix with your fingers for 1 to 2 minutes to break it up. The mixture should look milky and foamy. Add the flour and mix it together When the dough becomes a shaggy mass, move to a very lightly floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth and somewhat elastic, about 5 minutes. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover with oiled plastic, and let rest for 20 minutes.

After the rest add the milk, oil, and salt to the dough in the mixing bowl and knead until it is all incorporated.

Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until it is very smooth, silky and elastic, 7 to 10 minutes.

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn it to coat with oil, and cover it tightly with oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature (75 to 77 degrees) for 1 hour.

Turn the dough while it is still in the mixing bowl. Gently deflate the dough in the middle of the bowl, then fold the left side over the middle and the right side over the middle. Fold the dough in half, and then turn it over so the seam is underneath. Let it rise again for 1 to 1½ hours, until nearly doubled in volume.

When the dough has risen, loosen it from the bowl and gently pour it onto the center of the oiled baking sheet. Pat it gently with your fingertips to stretch it evenly out to the edges of the pan. Be careful not to tear the dough. If the dough resists stretching, let it rest for 2 to 5 minutes, until it becomes supple enough to stretch again, then continue to press it out to the edges of the pan. (If the dough is dry, you may have to repeat the resting/stretching procedure several times.) Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil, cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 to 2 hours, until the dough has doubled and fills the pan (a finger pressed into the dough will leave an indentation).

Brush and dot the surface of the dough gently with olive oil, dimple it in several spots with your fingertips to prevent air pockets from developing underneath, and sprinkle the surface lightly with kosher salt. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary all the way to the edges.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer, until golden brown and custy but still very soft inside.

Remove the focaccia from the oven and immediately brush it lightly with olive oil. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then carefully slide it onto a cooling rack. Remove the parchment (to prevent steam from softening the bottom crust) and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares.