I had a few oregano sprigs left from this dish and did not want them to go to waste. Add to that the fact that I love baking bread and hadn’t baked any in ages. So there you have it: my first focaccia!
This dough is great to work with and I really liked the result – the focaccia smelled wonderful while in the oven and waiting for it to cool down a little was pure torture… 5 minutes (yes, I could not wait for longer) that seemed like 50. :)
I was browsing my favorite food blogs while translating the recipe to Portuguese and saw that Eva and Xiao Zhu had made beautiful focaccias, too. I love these delicious blogging coincidences!
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection: Bread
- metric and imperial measurements found in the book
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ cups (12fl oz/375ml) warm water (40 to 45ºC/105 to 115ºF)
½ cup (4fl oz/125ml) olive oil, plus more for greasing
1 ½ teaspoons table salt
4 to 4 ¼ cups (20-21 ½ oz/625-670g) flour plus more if needed – I used 630g total
3-4 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the sugar over ½ cup (4fl oz/125ml) of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Add the remaining 1 cup (8fl oz/250ml) water and the remaining sugar, ¼ cup (2fl oz/60ml) of the olive oil, the table salt and 1 cup (5oz/155g) of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup (5oz/155g) of the flour, reduce the speed to medium-low and beat for 2 minutes.
Switch to the dough hook. On low speed, beat in the remaining flour, ½ cup (2 ½ oz/75g) at a time, until a soft, shaggy dough forms that starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on low speed, adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough sticks, until moist, soft and slightly sticky, about 6 minutes. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the paper lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough out onto the prepared sheet. With oiled fingers, press and flatten the dough into an oval 2.5cm/1 inch thick. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. It will be at least 2 inches thick.
With your fingertips, make deep indentations 2.5cm/1 inch apart all over the surface of the dough, almost to the bottom of the pan. Drizzle with the remaining ¼ cup (2fl oz/60ml) olive oil*. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place a baking stone on the bottom rack of an oven and preheat to 220ºC/425ºF – I don’t have a baking stone, so I used the loosen bottom of a very large square cake pan (40cm/15in); that’s how I bake my Saturday night pizzas.
Sprinkle the bread with the oregano leaves, pepper and parmesan. Place the pan on the stone and bake until the bread is lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Check the bottom and, if the bread is pale, bake for a few minutes more. Slide the bread onto a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares or wedges.
* I used only half this amount
Makes 1 large oval focaccia.