Are we ready to bake bread again?
Maybe this time without the looming threat of empty supermarket bread aisles and flour shortages. Like, just because we actually really want to and not because if we didn’t we would have nothing to make our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of.
I actually made almost no bread during the sourdough mania of March-June. It just felt too….cliche? But also I was so stressed that I just didn’t have the mental capacity to focus on anything, let alone take on the care and feeding of a sourdough starter.
Now I’m feeling a renewed vigor towards tackling bread baking. Maayyyybeee not sourdough just yet (YET being the key word here) but for some simpler, quicker breads.
Hey focaccia. I see you.
I tested a few focaccia recipes over the past few months (don’t feel too bad for me) and this was by far the best.
It takes a time commitment of about 5 hours, the majority of which is hands off. For the last hour you do have to check on it a few times and give it a few pokes and prods, but honestly that’s the fun part and if you have littles running around then they can help too.
The end result is crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and completely drenched with delicious olive oil and sea salt flavor. I like to eat it with all the things. Or just because. Yup.
- 2¾ cup (330 g) bread flour
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 tbsp coarse sea salt, plus more for garnish
- 1½ tsp active dried yeast
- 1¾ (420 mL) warm water
- 2¾ cup (330 g) bread flour
- Combine the yeast and water in a large bowl and stir until the yeast has dissolved. Add in the flour and stir until combined. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled.
- Mix the starter with the flour, sugar, and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Mix on low speed for 6 minutes. Add the salt and increase speed to medium. Mix for 2 minutes.
- Brush a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Brush the dough itself with more olive oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled.
- Pour the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and spread it into a rectangle. Take one of the short sides of the rectangle and fold it into the center of the dough. Repeat with the other end as if you're folding a letter.
- Brush a half sheet pan with olive oil. Place the dough on the baking pan, seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for an hour. During this hour, every 15 minutes press down on the dough with your fingertips to make the characteristic indentations in the dough but also to press it gently to the edges of the pan.
- Place a baking steel in the oven if you have one and preheat to 450F.
- Drizzle the bread with more olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375F. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Once out of the oven, while still hot, brush with even more olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.