Focaccia is a delightfully greasy Italian bread full of olive oil, and in my version, lots of herbs and garlic!
We love eating focaccia with scrambled eggs at breakfast, dipping it into soups and stews, or just on its own as a flavorful snack!
1 ¾ cup warm (NOT HOT) water, divided
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cups bread flour, spooned and leveled
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 sprigs fresh rosemary, stems removed, minced
Half a head of garlic (about 6 cloves), peeled and finely grated
Combine 3/4 cup warm water, sugar, and yeast and allow the yeast to proof for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the bread flour and sea salt in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a standing mixer). Once the yeast has proofed, slowly pour the yeast mixture into the flour while mixing, along with half of the olive oil, the remaining water, and the herbs and garlic. Once the mixture forms a workable dough, knead for about ten minutes. If using a standing mixer, use the dough hook to mix and then knead for about five minutes at medium speed, scraping down the sides and bottom with a spatula once or twice. Be careful not to over-knead, as it will cause the dough to become tough, and not rise.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and keep the bowl in a warm area to rise until about double in volume. This varies with temperature, but takes roughly an hour and twenty minutes.
Pour the remaining olive oil into a roasting pan, or jelly roll pan. Put the dough in the pan and stretch it out to fit the pan or until the dough is about 1-2 inches thick. Carefully flip the dough once or twice as you work to thoroughly cover in oil. You may need to dig your fingers in to achieve this, thus giving the bread its characteristic craggy appearance.
Allow dough to rise a second time until nearly double, about an hour and fifteen minutes. (since it is smothered in oil, no covering necessary)
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan 180º, and bake until the top is golden and the oil in the pan is bubbling, approximately 10 more minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. The bread will soak up the oil in the pan as it cools. Carefully rip the bread into serving pieces if you want a rustic effect, or remove to a cutting board and slice.