While we were in Italy, we were greeted every morning by a freshly-baked focaccia as part of our very non-traditional breakfast that also included cured meats, cheeses, tomatoes, fruits, museli and yogurt. (The B&B where we stayed catered primarily to American and German clientele, as opposed to Italians). During the subsequent months of a largely frustrating job hunt I made it my mission to become an expert focaccia-baker, because even if I had received a rejection email, well, at least I made an amazing loaf of bread for dinner. This is based off of an incomplete Emeril Lagasse recipe from the Food Network website that required several loaves to be baked in order to get the right times and temperatures. —ManhattanFoodProject
3 1/4 cups
all purpose flour
instant dry yeast
1 1/2 cups
warm water (no higher tha 110 degrees)
olive oil, plus more for topping
rosemary or tarragon, needles/leaves whole
In a stand mixer bowl (with the mixer attached to a dough hook), combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and warm water and then stir slowly to combine.
Bring the mixer up to medium speed and knead for about five minutes. Depending on the humidity, you may need to add more flour in order to turn it into a smooth ball. After five minutes, knead by hand a little more, adding flour if needed to reduce the stickiness, though this dough will always have a little stickiness.
Coat a bowl with olive oil and place the smooth ball of dough into it and cover with a towel. Let rise for three hours at room temperature.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13 pan with olive oil and stretch the dough to fill the pan, press dimples into the dough, and then season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle desired herbs evenly over the top of the bread, and place into the middle of the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Then set the oven to broil, and while monitoring every two minutes, brown the top of the bread to desired doneness.