This focaccia recipe is great for pairing with a salad like we did tonight, but it could easily make for some slices of a gourmet sandwich. Chef Zach chose a coarse rosemary sea salt to top it, which added a wonderful, pure essence with a pop and a crunch.
5 cups of bread flour
1 3/4 cups of warm water
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil, divided in 1/2 cup portions; plus some for brushing and drizzling
1 1/2 tbs. of honey
1 tbs. of kosher salt
2 1/4 tsp. of active dry yeast
Coarse rosemary sea salt to sprinkle on top
In a small bowl, combine water, honey, and yeast. Leave the bowl in the oven with the light on for roughly 15 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and smells mildly like old beer.
Stir together flour and kosher salt with a fork in a metal stand mixer bowl. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil and the yeast mixture, and combine with a dough hook on low speed.
Once combined, continue mixing for 6 minutes on speed 2, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl (never go over speed 2 when making a heavy dough in a stand mixer). The dough should feel soft, smooth, and moist, but not sticky; sprinkle just a tiny bit of flour on the dough if it is.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead by hand no more than 10 times and form a ball; the more you knead, the more gluten you will make, creating a tougher dough. The goal is just to smooth it out.
Lightly brush the sides of a large bowl with extra virgin olive oil. Transfer the dough ball to the oiled bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let double in volume (about an hour).
Coat a sheet pan with the other 1/2 cup of olive oil. Put the dough in the middle of the sheet pan and start pressing it out towards the edges, leaving finger indentations along the way.
Turn it over so as to coat the other side with olive oil, and continue to press and stretch the dough out to fit the pan with the same indentations; this is what gives focaccia its distinct visual texture. Put the sheet pan in the oven with the light on for about 1 hour to allow the dough to double in size.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sprinkle rosemary sea salt generously over the surface and drizzle a little olive oil. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Five minutes after pulling from the oven, remove from the pan and let cool on a cooling rack; if you don’t remove it from the pan, the cooling effect on the pan will cause condensation and make the focaccia soggy. Cool completely before cutting.