The very first ingredient what we think of when we talk about Italian food is often that very ingredient which somewhat defines what Italian food is all about - Olive oil ! There is no such Italian recipe where you would not find the inclusion of olive oil, be it as an ingredient, as a condiment or in any other form. Focaccia is one such bread which is not only the most famous, most presented or most consumed but also the most celebrated preparation that connects the mass on various cultural grounds to almost all types of classes. As complicated it may seem, there is nothing that comes to being so simple and humble in nature and yet holds the capability to surprise you with an aromatic, earthy and soulful taste leaving you bewildered at the very first dig in it. It's about time for home cooks and food lovers to try their hands on this beautiful bread recipe and relish the simple joys of fresh homebaked focaccia because - comfort starts here!
—The Food Frame by Uday Malhotra
First and foremost, its very important that we make a "Flying ferment" for our focaccia dough, which basically means that we are activating the yeast so that it can help ferment our dough better.
For this, take the yeast, water part 1 + Sugar part 1 and mix it well. Keep aside for 5 mins. ( Yeast feeds on sugar which helps it to get activated )
Now, sieve the flour on a clean table top and make a well. Sprinkle the salt and sugar part 2 all around the well. Once this is done, add in the flying ferment and start mixing it. Roughly mix it in and break the forming dough in little shards.
Once you have reached this stage, add the water part 2 and start working on the dough. Start to knead the dough, it may seem a bit sticky, but keep working on it until you feel that the dough is soft enough and looks like a homogenous mass with minimum signs of cracking.
Now add the olive oil in the dough and start to knead again, until the olive oil is well mixed in the dough and there are no signs of olive oil marbling the dough ( Which happens when the olive oil is not mixed well & hence starts to give shades of white and yellow ).
Once this is done, form the dough into a round shape & cover it with a damp cloth to start the first fermentation, which would take 45-50 mins. ( As it would ferment, you would observe the dough increasing in size )
After the time is up, carefully remove the cloth as it may stick to the skin of the dough. Start to flatten the dough with the hands, and line it in a baking tray. You can add the garnishes at this stage with some rosemary and pink salt. Now, keep this flattened dough to ferment again, for about 35-40 mins.
As your dough would be in its final fermenting stage, preheat the oven at 180 Degrees and bake the bread for 20-25 mins ( Or until you observe a golden crust forming on the surface of the dough)
Finish this humble bread with loads of olive oil and fresh herbs & enjoy it hot and fresh.