Breads Bakery Focaccia
This olive oil-infused, pillowy soft dough should be in every baker's arsenal. In this recipe, it becomes the stage for a rotating cast of seasonal toppings picked from the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC.
Makes one 12 x 16" pan
For the Dough
850 grams (6½ cups) bread flour
680 grams (3 cups) water, 110 degrees F
5 grams (½ tbsp) dry active yeast
10 grams (1 tbsp) table salt
10 grams (1 tbp) sugar
Vegetables, such as mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and onions (optional)
Herbs, such as oregano and rosemary (optional)
• stand mixer with dough hook
• clean kitchen towel, or plastic wrap
• knife and cutting board (for vegetables, if using)
• sheet pan lined with parchment paper
MIX THE DOUGH
- Measure out all ingredients and set aside.
For best results, we recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh ingredients instead of measuring with cups & spoons.
- Add the yeast to the water: warm the water until it is 110 degrees Fahrenheit (it should feel very warm but not too hot to hold your hand in for 5 seconds). Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the dry active yeast into the water. Let sit for about 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
- Add the flour and mix with the hook attachment on low speed for approximately 2 minutes until combined.
- Add the salt and sugar, then raise the mixer speed to medium and knead for another 5 minutes. Increase the speed to high and knead for another 5 minutes until a very soft, flexible dough is formed.
- Proof the dough: transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes or until almost double in volume.
- Fold the dough: imagine four corners of the dough in the bowl. Using a bowl scraper and wet hands, fold each corner up towards the center of the bowl, stretching the dough as much as possible. After folding the four corners, flip the entire dough over so that the seam is facing down. Sprinkle a little flour over the top, cover and let rise for another 30 minutes.
PREP YOUR TOPPINGS
- If using, cut your vegetables to 1/4 - 1/2" in thickness. Small vegetables like cherry tomatoes and mushroom can be halved. Larger vegetables like onions can be sliced into rings (we like to keep the concentric circles together). Long vegetables like eggplant and squash can be cut into strips. Experiment with different cuts and flavor combinations! Herbs can be left whole on the sprig.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then coat generously with olive oil.
- Gently remove the proofed dough from the bowl and onto the sheet pan without folding it. Using oil on your hands to prevent sticking, gently stretch the dough out from the center and into the four corners of the sheet pan so that an even rectangle is formed.
If the dough doesn't stretch easily or pulls back from the corners, do not force it or you'll run the risk of tearing it; just let it rest where it is and continue onto the next step. Once the dough has relaxed again, it will be easier to shape.
- Cover the sheet pan with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450F.
- Dimple the dough: remove the plastic. If the dough has shrunk away from the sides of the pan, adjust it by gently stretching it back. Create dimples all over the dough by pressing with your fingertips all the way to the pan (just don't poke a hole). These dimples will help catch the olive oil.
- If using, arrange your toppings on top of the dough. Here are some helpful tips:
Press the vegetables firmly into the dough, down to the bottom of the sheet pan so that they stay in place
Place your vegetables cut-side up when possible, like for mushrooms and tomatoes (this allows the excess moisture to escape)
Leave a little space in between vegetables so the dough can bake around them
Soft vegetables like basil and arugula should be added on top at the very end of baking to prevent scorching
Be creative with your colors and shapes (remember, you eat with your eyes first!)
- Top with your oregano or rosemary sprigs (optional), another drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt.
BAKE IT NICE
- Gently load the sheet pan into the oven.
- Bake for approximately 25 - 35 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through for even color.
The bake time will depend on how many vegetables you use and how much moisture they have. The finished dough should look golden brown on the spots where it's just dough and lighter around the veggies.
- Top with a little more olive oil and let cool on a rack.
- Cool completely before cutting with kitchen scissors or a pizza cutter.
STORING YOUR FOCACCIAS
Focaccia will always be best the same day, but it'll hold well at room temperature for another day after baking. Store the cooled focaccia in a sealed container or wrapped in plastic.
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