Last week Erez had a cooking competition at work, and he was gonna make his specialty, pizza. I told him it wasn’t a good idea, because by the time he gets there it would get cold, and cold pizza isn’t fun. He pretended not to hear me and was already in the process of making a huge amount of dough. But he came back later that day with his victory face, holding the second prize in his hand and proving to me once again that sometimes, although very rarely, I can be wrong. I always claimed his pizza dough recipe is the best one I know, but after he won a 2-day retreat to a spa hotel, my love for his pizza reached a whole new level.
Lately he’s been playing with dough recipes to make all sorts of pizzas like Nutella pizza or apple caramel pizza. I’ve taught him well. His recent obsession though is with focaccias and breads. He bakes perfect bakery-like breads on a weekly basis now, and if I’d known he’d do that 8 years ago when he first asked me out, I would never have been able to even consider saying no.
This is the simplest but most perfect homemade focaccia—one bite and you’ll quickly gain 5 pounds. It is quite thin, which is how I like my focaccia. Make sure to serve it warm!
- 2 cups (280 g/10 oz) bread flour, sifted (or all-purpose flour)
- ½ teaspoon instant dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (180 ml) warm water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Olive oil
- Coarse sea salt
- Garlic cloves, fresh rosemary, or your favorite topping
- Place flour and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer and mix until combined. Stir in salt. Attach the dough hook to the mixer. Add water and olive oil to the flour mixture, and mix on low speed until dough comes together, 2-3 minutes. Continue mixing for another 7 minutes on low-medium speed until dough is completely smooth and elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be slightly sticky, but if it feels too sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, or if it feels too dry, add more water.
- Place dough in a large bowl brushed with oil, and toss to coat (the fat will keep the dough from drying out). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place or on the counter for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size. Alternatively, you can place dough in the fridge overnight or for up to 24 hours. If refrigerated, before using the dough, place the bowl at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to reach room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 450F/230C. Set oven rack to the lowest position and place a baking stone on the rack. If you don’t have a baking stone, use an upturned baking sheet instead.
- After the dough has risen, punch it just slightly to remove air. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, stretch each piece of the dough into a very thin round or oval shape using your fingertips (similar to shaping pizza dough). You can also use a rolling pin to roll the dough if this step is hard for you. I like thin authentic focaccias so I roll them into ½-cm thickness, but if you prefer thick focaccias, roll them thicker. Using a fork, poke surface of dough 20-30 times to create little holes. This creates the characteristic holes in focaccia (that I forgot doing this time, so you won't see it in the photos). Transfer dough carefully to parchment paper. Brush or drizzle the entire surface with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and any other topping you like (except for the garlic if using).
- Slide parchment paper with the focaccia onto a pizza peel (if you don’t have a pizza peel, use a large flat plate or baking pan, or cutting board), then slide onto the baking stone. Be careful when you open your oven; it will be very hot.
- Bake for 7 minutes, open the oven door and sprinkle with garlic. Continue baking for another 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. To remove the focaccias from the oven, slide parchment paper with the foccacia back onto the peel. Let cool slightly and serve warm.