Focaccia Is the Easiest Bread, Ever (Really!)￼https://contentkitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/focaccia-2_lo-res-medium.jpg20001334Alison AshtonAlison Ashtonhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/7e3d92e47bd459072eb0746cb31a022a?s=96&d=mm&r=g
It’s no secret that I’m still obsessed with my sourdough starter. Acquired from a neighbor at the beginning of the pandemic, it’s going on 2 years old and still going strong. (I’m so proud). I use it to make crusty loaves, tender sandwich bread, pizza dough, crackers and – among the easiest of all — focaccia.
There’s no special skill required to make focaccia. All you have to do is mix the ingredients (no kneading!), let them sit, plop the proofed dough into an oil-slicked pan, let it sit a bit more, and then dimple it with your fingertips and shove that baby into the oven.
The result is a lovely, chewy flatbread that’s great on its own, or alongside any soup or salad you like. It makes any sandwich feel fancy, and if it hangs around longer than expected, you can dice and toast it for killer croutons.
This recipe is adapted from Emilia Raffa’s awesome Artisan Sourdough Made Simple. She includes weight for ingredients, along with cup/tablespoon measurements for folks who don’t have a kitchen scale or just don’t want to go there.
If you haven’t started weighing ingredients, I’m here to urge you to give it a try for two BIG reasons:
It’ll make you a better baker. Weighing ingredients = consistent results. But measuring in cups can lead to wildly different outcomes. If you scoop a measuring cup into a bag or bin of flour you’ll come up with more flour by weight (and likely a drier end product) than if you aerate the flour, lightly spoon it into the cup and sweep off the excess with a knife. (If you stick with measuring, do the latter.)
It’s E A S I E R. Long before I got into bread baking, a colleague got me on board with using a kitchen scale by pointing out how much easier it is to simply weigh it (add more or take out excess as needed) than fuss with measuring cups.
The OXO Good Grips kitchen scale, which has a backlit display that pulls out (nice if you’re using a very large bowl), but any scale that allows you to switch between metric and Imperial measurements, tare (reset to zero so you can just keep adding ingredients to the bowl) will do.
375g (1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon) cool water 50g (¼ cup) bubbly, active starter 20g (1 tablespoon) honey 500g (4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour (or half each of all-purpose and bread flour) 9g (1½ teaspoons) kosher salt 4-5 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed for pan Flaky sea salt
In a large bowl, whisk the water, starter and honey. Add the flour and kosher salt. Starting with a wooden spoon (a Danish dough whisk is great for this, too), and switching to your hand or a bowl scraper, combine the ingredients until the flour and salt are fully incorporated. This is a pretty loose dough, so you’re really just combining, not kneading.
Cover the bowl with a plate, damp towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature for 12-18 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when it has doubled in size (at least), and there are a few bubbles on top and it looks stringy when removed from the bowl.
Grease the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with oil. The amount isn’t precise, but you want to be sure it’s well slicked with oil. Coax the dough from the bowl into the baking pan (a bowl scraper really helps with this). Cover the pan with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest for 1½-2 hours or until very puffy.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Use your fingertips to dimple the dough all over, pressing straight down to the bottom of the pan. As you dimple, coax the dough to the edges of the pan – it should fill it pretty well. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp around the edges. Remove from pan and slice as desired.