This wonderful Italian flatbread is among the easiest of all breads to prepare. Vary the flavoring with other fresh or dried herbs if you wish.
Makes one 11-x-17-inch focaccia
5 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried rosemary
1 envelope active dry yeast
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon Kosher or coarse salt
One 11-x-17-inch jelly roll pan
- In a mixing bowl combine flour, salt and rosemary.
- Pour 2 cups tepid water into another bowl and whisk in the yeast, then 3 tablespoons of the oil. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture until all the flour is evenly moistened, then beat vigorously for 1 minute. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- Oil the jelly roll pan with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and onto the pan and pat and press the dough into the pan to fill it completely. If the dough resists, wait a few minutes and continue. Poke holes in the dough at 2-inch intervals with your fingertips and drizzle with the remaining oil. Sprinkle on the salt.
- Allow the dough to rise again until doubled in bulk. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees and set a rack in the lower third.
- When the dough has risen, bake until deep golden, about 25 minutes. Check the bottom about halfway through the baking time by lifting the side of the focaccia with a spatula or pancake turner. If it is coloring deeply, slide the original pan onto another pan to insulate the bottom.
- Slide the focaccia off the pan or a rack to cool. Serve narrow slices, or cut into squares _ and split horizontally for sandwiches.
Onion Focaccia: Omit rosemary from dough. Slice 3 medium onions and cook in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a covered pan until wilted. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Spread evenly on dough instead of the salt and rosemary.
Sage Focaccia: Replace rosemary with fresh sage.
Tomato and Olive Focaccia: Omit rosemary from dough. Cover focaccia with 1 cup chopped and drained canned tomatoes, 1/2 cup halved and pitted black olives, 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, salt and pepper.