This recipe is one of my favorite focaccia recipes, consisting of a topping of small, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, sea salt and olive oil. Making focaccia is a very easy way to begin making bread if you have never tried it before. You can start with a simple flat bread brushed with just a little olive oil and salt, or add almost any topping you desire.
- 5 Cups All-purpose Unbleached Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Instant Yeast
- 2 - 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cups Warm Water
- Cherry Tomatoes Cut In Half, or Sliced Larger Tomatoes
- Fresh Basil Leaves, Washed, Dried & Cut Into Thin Strips
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Measure and assemble your flour, oil, salt, yeast, and water, and add everything but the water into a large bowl and stir.
- Add half the water and stir, and continue to add water until the dough begins to come together into a shaggy ball.
- Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface surface and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.
- Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant.
- Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.
- Roll the ball around in the oil, ensuring the sides of the bowl, and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.
- Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise.
- Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.
- To make a large rectangular focaccia, lightly oil a 13 X 9 inch baking sheet with sides.
- Dump your risen dough into the pan punching it down to deflate it.
- Use your fingers to push and press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 20 or 30 minutes or until the dough dimples when pushed with your fingertip.
- Use the tips of your fingers to dimple the entire top of the focaccia.
- Drizzle olive oil over the top turning the pan carefully to allow the oil to roll into the indentations.
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt and chopped basil over the top of your focaccia, arrange the tomatoes evenly across the top and then let it sit and rise for another 15 minutes while you preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool to room temperature before slicing.
- Variation: To make round loaves, divide your ball of dough after the first rise into three equal parts.
- I actually weigh mine and these balls weighed 400g each.
- Sprinkle cornmeal over three baking sheets.
- Take one ball art a time and use your hands to begin to press into a flat disc, and use the heel of your hand pushing from the center out, turning the circle of dough as you go until you create a circle about 12 inches across.
- Place each round on a prepared baking sheet, cover with kitchen towels and let rise for 20 to 30 minutes until soft.
- Dimple the dough with fingers, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, chopped basil, and tomatoes.
- Bake as instructed above.