Easy Same Day Focaccia ￼
3.5 hourstotal time
500g white bread flour (12% protein content or higher)
420g water (warm, a bit warmer than your body temperature)
6g (1½ teaspoons) INSTANT YEAST (If using "active dry yeast", you must add 2 grams extra, 1/2 teaspoon, and mix it with the warm water and honey and let it bloom/become frothy for 5-10 minutes before adding other ingredients)
5g (1 teaspoon) honey
15g (1 Tablespoon) extra virgin olive oil
10g (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
extra virgin olive oil (to drizzle)
Flaky sea salt (to finish)
Optional Topping Ideas
Mixing, Stretch + Folds and First Proofing
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water, instant yeast, honey, extra virgin olive oil and fine sea salt until evenly combined. Tip your bread flour into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix with a spoon until all dry flour patches have disappeared. Place cloth or reusable cover over top of bowl, let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.
After 15 minutes, you will perform a stretch + fold. This helps to develop the gluten in the dough which will help with the structure of the bread. Wet your hand (this prevents dough from sticking to you), grab a handful of dough from the 12 o’clock position, pull it up slightly and then pull it all the way up and over the bulk of the dough to the 6 o’clock position. Repeat this action on all sides of the dough until it feels like you’ve created tension and you can’t stretch the dough up and over anymore…it should have tightened up into a rough ball. Let rest for 15 minutes and then repeat the stretch + fold action one more time.
After 15 minutes, you will perform a stretch + fold.
This helps to develop the gluten in the dough which will help with the structure of the bread. Wet your hand (this prevents dough from sticking to you, grab a handful of dough from the 12 o'clock position, pull it up slightly and then pull it all the way up and over the bulk of the dough to the 6 oclock position. Repeat this action on all sides of the dough until it feels like you've created tension and you can't stretch the dough up and over anymore...it should have tightened up into a rough ball. Let rest for 15 minutes and then repeat the stretch + fold action one more time.
After the second set of stretch and folds, wet your hands, gather your dough and place it seam side down into bowl so the top is quite smooth (this helps prevent air bubbles from escaping).
Cover the bowl and leave the dough to continue to proof in the bowl for 1.5 hours at room temperature.
Preparing Tray + Second Proofing
Prepare your 9" x 13" (22cm x 33cm) baking tray.
Put a tiny bit of oil on the tray, rub it all around and then place a sheet of nonstick parchment paper on top and press down. The oil helps the parchment to stick in place. Then drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil on the parchment paper and spread it evenly around the base and sides of the paper lining the tray/pan. The nonstick parchment prevents the focaccia from sticking to the tray when baking.
Using a curved dough scraper, gently release the dough from the sides of the bowl and tip the dough into your oiled and lined tray.
Now, you are going to oil your hands and fold one side of dough towards the middle of the blob of dough. Repeat with the other side, a bit like folding a piece of paper into thirds (it will look a bit like a burrito). Then flip the dough so the seams from the folding are at the bottom and the smooth side is at the top.
Cover using another tray, inverted - this prevents the dough from drying out and forming a crust while it rises. If you don't have another tray, a plastic storage box can work too. Do not cover the dough with plastic wrap or a tea towel, it will stick.
Let sit to proof at room temperature for about 1.5 hours. The dough should be mostly filling the space in the tray at this point. If it's not filling the space after this period of time, oil your hands and from the underside of the dough you gently pull it towards the edges of the tray. The timing will depend on the temperature on the day. If it's a very hot day it might only take 1.25 hours to puff up/ spread in tray. On a very cold day it could take 2 hours.
Dimpling, Topping + Baking Your Focaccia
Once you think the dough has finished proofing (it will be floofy and jiggly when you shake the tray), it's time to preheat your oven to 220C/430F degrees
Drizzle the top of the dough with a little more extra virgin olive oil and then oil your hands. Using both hands, press your fingers into the dough, gently touching the bottom of the tray. Repeat until the entire tray of dough is dimpled. There is such a thing as too much dimpling though...you can lose some of the nice bubbles you've created in the dough if you dimple too much. Just be mindful of air pockets and try not to pop them...these bubbles are what make the crumb of a focaccia so interesting and delicious.
Top with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Add anything you'd like to the top by gently pressing toppings into the little dimples: olives, rosemary (coat in a bit of oil so it doesn't burn), cherry tomatoes, onions, jalapeños + cheese. Before dimpling, you could top with basil pesto or with my chimichurri sauce if using oily toppings like these, then omit the drizzle of olive oil.
I always bake my focaccia for about 18-22 minutes in a 220C/430F oven. I bake it on the lowest rack in the oven because I think it helps to crisp the bottom of focaccia and prevent the top from burning. If you have a pizza setting in your oven, use that; the main heat source will come from the bottom, which I think is ideal for baking focaccia. Check the focaccia after 18-20 minutes and remove from oven when it's reached a deep golden brown colour. I've learned that every oven is so different so don't worry about overbaking it if it takes closer to
25-30 minutes in your oven. The interior will still remain soft! If this is the case and it takes on the longer side, even up to 35 mins, l'd recommend upping your oven temp for the next time (turn up by
10-20 degrees), it could just be your oven runs a little on the cooler side.
Let it cool for a couple of minutes in the pan and then transfer it to a cooling rack so the bottom doesn't steam while sitting in the tray. You'll want it to stay nice and crispy at the bottom.
You can top with more olive oil when it's come out of the oven if you wish for it to look burnished and glistening. If I've topped the focaccia with pesto or chimichurri I don't tend to do this. With other toppings I do a little drizzle and it soaks right into the crust when it's hot out of the oven.
Let cool for at least 15-20 minutes before cutting in!
3.5 hourstotal time