15 November, 2020
Garlic Herb Foccatia
Even though I am working on a Keto Diet for myself, when having company for dinner, I still like to serve bread and generally enjoy the making of the bread. I served this recently and it was excellent.
Garlic Rosemary Herb Focaccia
- 2 cups 480ml warm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast slightly less than 1 standard packet
- 1/4 cup 60ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
Topping & Pan
- 5 Tablespoons 75ml extra virgin olive oil or more as needed, divided
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tablespoons Dried Thyme, Rosemary
- sprinkle Salt and pepper
Prepare the dough: Whisk half of the water (1 cup; 240ml), 2 teaspoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons yeast together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining water, olive oil, salt, and 1 cup (130g) flour. Beat on low speed for 20 seconds, then add 3 and 1/2 cups (440g) more flour. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. If the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the last 1/2 cup (60g) of flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for 3-4 minutes. The dough can be a little too heavy for a mixer to knead it, but you can certainly use the mixer on low speed instead. If the dough is too sticky as you knead, add more flour 1 Tablespoon at a time. The dough should still feel a little soft, but shouldn’t stick your hands. Poke it with your finger – if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading.
Let the dough rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with a teaspoon of oil or some nonstick spray– just use the same bowl you used for the dough. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until double in size. (Tip: For the warm environment on a particularly cold day, heat your oven to 150°F (66°C). Turn the oven off, place the dough inside, and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, close the oven door to trap the air inside with the rising dough. When it’s doubled in size, remove from the oven.)
Prepare the pan: Generously grease a 12×17 inch baking pan (with at least 1 inch tall sides) with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. This is the base layer of the bread, so be generous with the oil. A pastry brush is helpful to spread it.
Flatten the dough: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release any air bubbles. Place on the oiled baking pan, then stretch and flatten the dough to fit the pan. Don’t tear the dough. If it’s shrinking (mine always does), cover it with a clean towel and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before continuing. This lets the gluten settle and it’s much easier to shape after that.
Let the dough rest: Cover the dough tightly and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. The longer it rests, the better the flavor. I recommend at least 12 hours.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature as you preheat the oven and prepare the toppings. Keep it covered. It may rise a little during this time, but not much.
Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C). Allow it to heat for at least 10-15 minutes so every inch of the oven is very hot.
Prepare the toppings: Whisk the 3 remaining Tablespoons of olive oil with the minced garlic and herbs. Set aside.
Using your fingers, dimple the dough all over the surface. Drizzle on the olive oil topping and use your hands or a pastry brush to spread it all over the top. Add a little more olive oil if needed so the dough is completely covered. (This creates the crisp crust!) Sprinkle with a little coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake for 20-23 minutes or until lightly browned on top. If desired, broil on high for the last minute to really brown the top.
Cut and serve hot or let it come to room temperature before slicing and serving. Focaccia tastes wonderful warm or at room temperature. Cover leftover focaccia tightly and store at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week. You can also freeze the baked and cooled focaccia for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. To reheat the slices, you can use the microwave or bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 5 minutes.
Freezing Instructions: After the dough rises, punch it down to release the air as instructed in step 5. Freeze the dough or portions of the dough to make at a later time. Lightly coat all sides of the dough ball(s) with olive oil. Place the dough ball(s) into individual zipped-top bag(s) and seal tightly, squeezing out all the air. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest for 30 minutes on the counter, then continue with shaping the dough to fit the baking pan as instructed in step 5. (Even after thawing, the dough must still rest in the refrigerator as instructed in step 6.)
Make Ahead Instructions: The is a wonderful recipe to begin the day ahead of time. The dough must rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours, as instructed in step 6. I’ve let it go for as long as 30 hours and the flavor is incredible. I wouldn’t go past 24-30 hours.
Smaller Portions: This recipe yields a big pan of bread. You can divide the dough in half and bake smaller portions on 2 baking sheets or 9×13 inch baking pans. If desired, you can divide the dough in half and freeze half of it. Or you can halve the entire recipe.
Yeast: You can use instant or active dry yeast instead. The rise time in step 3 may be a little quicker if using instant yeast. No matter which yeast you choose, you only need 2 teaspoons which is a little less than 1 standard 7g packet. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
Flour: You can use all-purpose flour or bread flour. All-purpose flour is convenient for most, but bread flour produces a chewier bread. No matter which you choose, the focaccia is still soft and rich with a crispy exterior. Either flour is fine and there are no other changes to the recipe if you use one or the other. You may need slightly closer to 5 cups of flour if using all-purpose.