Taking to baking bread at home thanks to Covid19 social distancing? This Focaccia in a day is a great one to try!
This delicious Focaccia has fast become a weekly staple at our dinner table. It’s salty and chewy and endlessly satisfying!
I was inspired to try some new bread baking after pouring through this fabulous book: Home Baking, the Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition from Around the World. I picked it up for a few dollars when our local library was selling off books over the holidays. Thumbing through the many recipes and savouring the stories of bread-makers around the world became a nightly ritual for a week or so!
Then came Superbowl Sunday. We were hosting some friends and I needed something to serve with chili. What a perfect chance to do some baking! Obviously I was making a game day (pardon the pun) decision, so I did’t have time to try my hand at one of the slow rise, ‘bread baking as daily cadence’ recipes form the book.
Instead I decided to mess with some classic Focaccia recipes and hope it would turn out OK despite significantly cutting back on suggested time to rest in the fridge.
I’ve now tested this four times. Each time I tried different lengths of time in the fridge (I haven’t experimented with anything else because we’re pretty stoked about the flavour as is!). My conclusion is that if you have a full day to let it rest, by all means do so. But even 2-3 hours is good enough. My attempt at not bothering with the fridge at all was our least favourite of the four.
It’s such a simple recipe. If you are organized you can even pull it off on a weekday! It doesn’t take very long to mix up and then you let it rise in a little puddle of oil until it doubles, covered with a bees wax wrap (I love the adorable ones made locally by The Lady of Shallots). If you start right away in the morning, you can probably get it into the fridge before you leave in the morning (assuming you’re morning routine is 1.5 hours like ours is). Then you can remove from the fridge, proof and bake in time for dinner. If you are in a rush, you can cool in the fridge once baked. Note: it is important to resist the temptation of slicing while warm!
So here you go, the perfect side for your next warming bowl of soup (like my kids’ favourite broccoli soup) or stew!
Focaccia in a day
- 6 1/4 CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
- 2 CUPS WARM WATER
- 2 TSPs QUICK RISE YEAST
- 1 TSP SUGAR
- 2 TBSP KOSHER SALT Plus more for topping
- 3 TBSP OLIVE OIL (OR CANOLA) You'll need an extra could splashes before baking too.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a bread hook (or in a large bowl with a wooden spoon), add the flour, followed by the yeast, sugar and 1 cup of water. Mix on low speed until it forms into a shaggy dough.
- Add the remaining water and salt. Mix on low speed until all the water is incorporated. Then increased the speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. The dough will be sticking to the sides of the bowl. (Alternatively, knead by hand for 6-8 minutes. You may need to oil your hands to prevent sticking).
- Turn the dough out of the bowl and add the 3 TBSP of oil to the bowl and turn to coat. Add the dough back into the bowl. Cover securely with a beeswax wrap (or kitchen towel) and leave to rise until doubled (about 1 hour).
- Oil a baking sheet. Turn dough out on the pan and stretch with your fingers into a large rectangle. Fold in the rectangle in half. Turn it around, stretch it again and fold in half again. Then let rest on the pan for 10 min.
- Slowly use your fingers to stretch the dough to fill the pan. It should be relatively easy to do. If not, leave it another 10 minutes to rest and then try again. The dough should now form a fairly even layer filling the entire pan.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and leave in the fridge until 1.5-2 hours before you want to eat it.
- Remove pan from fridge, uncover and let proof for 30 min. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Use your fingers to make dimples in the top of the dough all over. Drizzle with more old and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake for 25 min until nice and brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely. It will be hard, but you must resist!
- Finally, when cool, slice and devour!