I took a bread baking workshop early last year and since then I’ve made this focaccia bread at least two dozen times. Absolutely delicious!
Herb Focaccia Bread
nonstick cooking spray
4 cups flour, divided
2 Tbsp salt
2 cups water, 105-115 degrees F
2 Tbsp dry active yeast
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
4 cloves garlic (or to taste)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Coat the inside of a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Sift together two cups flour and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
In another large bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Use a mortar and pestle to break up the dried rosemary and thyme, then combine with the garlic and olive oil. Whisk herb mixture into water and yeast mixture. Let rest for five minutes.
Add flour and salt mixture to water and yeast mixture. The dough will still be very sticky and slack at this point.
Fold in another cup of flour by hand. Continue adding flour in quarter cup increments, until the dough begins to hold together and it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to lightly floured work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to double in bulk.
After about an hour, deflate the dough by using a scooping motion rather than punching it down. Let the dough rise a second time until doubled. Coat your hands with olive oil and fold the dough over on itself three times.
Move dough to a well-oiled sheet pan and gently spread it into an even slab. Allow dough to rise for another hour under a kitchen towel.
Coat the top of the dough with olive oil and using your fingertips, push down on the bread leaving small indents randomly across the top. In this case I brushed the bread with a mixture of pesto and tomato sauce too.
Immediately bake for 30 minutes or until outside is golden brown and has a hollow sound when tapped. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes before cutting.
Tasty with an assortment of cheeses!