Based on Carol Field’s Focaccia from Genoa, in Focaccia, simple breads from the Italian oven
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (scant tablespoon, or one pack) active dry yeast
- 2/3 cup warm water (105° to 115° F – should feel just barely warm)
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
Pour the water into a mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle in the yeast, then add the flour and mix with a rubber spatula until smooth. Cover the bowl and let rise for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours until bubbly and puffy.
- all of the sponge
- 1/2 cup room temperature water
- 1/3 cup white wine – also room temp
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 3/4 – 3 cups unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons table salt
Pour the water, wine, and olive oil into the bowl with the sponge. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, and the salt. Mix with a wooden spoon or with the flat beater of the stand mixer until you have a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl, adding the additional flour as necessary. If you are using a stand mixer, increase the speed to medium, and beat/knead for 3 minutes. If you are making the dough by hand, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking. For both methods, form the dough into a smooth ball in the bowl, cover, ad let rise for about 1 hour, until doubled. The dough can also be refrigerated at this point for several hours, and up to overnight.
Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a 10 x 15 1/2 in. baking pan and dump the risen dough out into the pan. Turn it over to coat it with oil, and start stretching & pushing the dough to the sides of the pan. Let rest for about 15 minutes – 30 if refrigerated – and then continue stretching and dimple the dough with your fingertips. Add baked on toppings at this point – up to another tablespoon of olive oil plus vegetables. etc. Let the dough rise a total of 45 minutes altogether.
About 30 minutes before the end of the rising time, heat the oven to 425°. When the dough is risen, place it in the oven and spray the top of the dough and bottom & sides of the oven with water from a mister. Close the oven and reduce the heat to 400°. Spray with water twice more during the first 10 minutes of baking. Bake 25 – 30 minutes total, until golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.
Baked on Topping:
- About 2 TBLS olive oil, and about 1/2 TBLS flakey salt
Along with the olive oil, add:
- Potatoes, about 8oz., parboiled & sliced thin
- Chopped fresh rosemary, with or without the above potatoes
- Roasted peppers, thinly sliced
- Roasted winter squash, also thinly sliced
Add after baking:
Spread on a layer of softened goat cheese, or ricotta, or cream cheese – or a mix! And spread on: Diced sun dried tomatoes, pesto, caramelized onions …. your ideas here!