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Author Notes: A dream to create a breakfast sandwich for a crowd made entirely on a sheet pan (or three) led to this sandwich. Inspiration from: Justin Chapple's bacon weave, Ali Slagle's Sheet Pan Eggs, and focaccia from Bread Toast Crumbs.
Real talk: This is a bit of an undertaking, but I think it looks more complicated than it actually is. You're baking bread, you're baking eggs, you're baking bacon. Mixing the dough the night before, simplifies the process, but, if you have 1 oven, allow 3 to 4 hours from when you remove the dough from the fridge to prepare everything. The focaccia takes about 2 hours, then needs to cool for an hour ideally. While the focaccia cools, the bacon cooks (25 minutes); while the bacon cooks, you can whisk up the eggs, which bake for 15 minutes. Assembly is fast and fun.
If you don't have space in your fridge for a bowl, you can use 1/2 teaspoon yeast and 2 cups cold water; then let the dough rise on the counter for 8 to 10 hours. If you'd rather not start the dough ahead of time, follow the recipe as written, but instead of placing the bowl in the fridge, place it in a warm spot to rise for 1.5 hours. Then proceed with the recipe, letting the dough only rest for 20 minutes (or so) once turned out onto the sheet pan.
Save the trimmings of the eggs: chop them up and store them in your fridge—crumble them into a salad or add to fried rice. —Alexandra Stafford
Makes: 12 sandwiches
cups (512 g) all-purpose flour
teaspoons kosher salt
teaspoon instant yeast
cups lukewarm water, made by mixing 1/2 cup boiling water with 1 1/2 cups cold water
tablespoons olive oil
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and instant yeast. Add the water. Using a rubber spatula, mix until the water is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky dough ball. (If you need to use active dry yeast instead, proof it in the lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar first for about 10 minutes, until foamy, before adding to the other ingredients.)
- Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and set inside your refrigerator. (See notes for leaving dough on the counter if you don't have space in the refrigerator and for making non-overnight focaccia.)
- The following morning (or 8 to 10 hours later), remove the bowl from the fridge. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or coat with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 3 tablespoons oil on the sheet pan. Using two forks, deflate the dough by releasing it from the sides of the bowl and pulling it toward the center. Rotate the bowl in quarter turns as you deflate, turning the mass into a rough ball. Use the forks to lift the dough onto the prepared sheet pan. Roll the dough ball in the oil to coat it all over. Let it rest without touching it for 1 hour.
- Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 425°F. With lightly greased hands, press down on the dough, using all 10 fingers to dimple and stretch the dough outward. Pull gently on the ends and stretch them toward the corners of the sheet pan. When the dough begins to resist being stretched, let it rest for 5 minutes, then stretch it again, continuing until it fits most of the sheet pan.
- Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle all over with sea salt. Let stand another 20 minutes, then transfer the sheet pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the underside is golden and crisp. Remove the pan from the oven, and transfer the focaccia to a cooling rack. Let it cool for at least an hour before cutting.
- To cut the focaccia for the slab sandwich, trim off the very outer edges—this exposes the crumb, which makes it easier to halve. I like to start the halving process by cutting through each corner, then running the serrated knife through the short end until I get to the midway point, then starting from the other short end until I get to the midway point. A sharp, serrated knife is helpful. Try to keep your knife as parallel to the bread as possible, and I find if I hug the top layer as opposed to aiming for the center, I get a more even cut.
1 to 1.5
kosher salt and pepper to taste
ounces grated Cheddar cheese
1/4 to 1/2
cups finely chopped chives
hot sauce, mayonnaise, and other condiments for serving
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Lay the bacon on a sheet pan. If you are using 1.5 pounds bacon, you will have to overlap pieces and lay pieces on top of one another to start, but don't worry, they will shrink. Cook 10 minutes, remove pan from oven, and, using forks, spread out/separate the slices of bacon. (This is unnecessary if you are using 1 pound of bacon only.) Return pan to the oven, cook for 10 more minutes, remove pan from the oven, and separate the slices again if necessary. Return pan to the oven and cook for 5 more minutes or until the slices are looking crispy. Remove pan from the oven and transfer crisp slices to a paper-towel lined plate. If necessary, drain off some of the fat, and return the pan to the oven one last time to crisp up the remaining pieces. Transfer bacon to plate.
- Turn oven off to let it cool down faster. You can leave the door open, too, to expedite the cooling. You need it to be at 300ºF. Grease a half sheet pan (I use a cheap, nonstick Baker's Secret sheet pan purchased from a grocery store—it measures 11x16.5 inches) very well with butter. Crack all 12 eggs in a big bowl, add salt and pepper and the splash of cream, then whisk until well combined. Add the chives, and gently fold until mixed. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with cheese evenly. Bake until the eggs are just set, about 15 minutes.
- Transfer the bottom half of the focaccia slab onto a cutting board. When the eggs have cooked, use an offset spatula to loosen them from the pan, then transfer to the bread. Trim off any excess, overhanging eggs (and save! see notes above). Lay the bacon on top. Scatter the lettuce on top. Top with the top half of bread. Cut the sandwich into 12 pieces (2 cuts through the short end; 3 cuts through the long end). Serve with hot sauce, mayonnaise and any other condiments you like.