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Focaccia

This flatbread may be brushed lightly with a simple combination of garlic and olive oil, or it may be dressed up with any number of toppings. Goat cheese, feta, pine nuts, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, poppy seeds, olives, sesame seeds, fresh herbs, and grilled vegetables are just a few suggestions. Pick a combination of flavors that complements the rest of your menu.
Focaccia bread recipe by The Culinary Institute of America.

Ingredients

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups room-temperature water (68–76 degrees F)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour plus extra for dusting
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil plus extra as needed
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • Coarse salt or salt flakes for garnishing

Directions

  1. Make a sponge by combining the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. Stir in the flour to make a soft batter about the consistency of pancake batter. Mix by hand until very smooth. Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place until the sponge is thick and foamy and nearly doubled in size, about 3 hours.
  3. To make the final dough, add the bread flour, 4 teaspoons olive oil, and table salt. Mix and knead the dough with the dough hook on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
  5. Fold the dough over on itself by lifting the edges up and over the center. Cover and allow to relax for another 15 minutes.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and, using your palms, gently stretch the dough into a rectangle that is an even 1-inch thick and nearly the same dimensions as your baking sheet. Avoid tearing or puncturing the dough with your fingertips
  7. Transfer to the baking sheet, cover, and let rise until the dough springs back slowly to the touch but does not collapse, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet liberally with olive oil.
  8. Use your fingertips to gently dimple the surface of the focaccia and drizzle with additional olive oil. Scatter with the coarse salt or other toppings if desired. Bake until the focaccia has a golden brown crust and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 25–30 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks.

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