Focaccia Bread

This is a herb bread baked on a flat sheet with lots of olive oil. This bread takes one to two days to make, depending on when you start, and will serve four to six people depending on what else your serving. Focaccia bread is often associated with Italian baking, but it was a creation that existed long before the Roman era, being a part of Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks cuisine. Focaccia come from the Latin “focus”, that is “cooked on fire”. After all, nothing “focuses” you more than being cooked on fire.

Ingredients

  • Poolish
    • 100 g flour
    • 101 g water
    • 1 g dry active yeast
  • Dough
    • 228 g flour
    • 101 g water
    • 9 g salt
    • 1.5 g yeast
    • 30 g olive oil
    • 3 g Herbs de Provence*

Process

  1. Make the Poolish: mix flour, water, and yeast in a container and put in fridge for 24 hours.
  2. Mise en Place – measure and prepare your ingredients prior to starting.
    1. As you are preparing your dough ingredients, remove Poolish from the fridge and leave out but covered.
  3. Mix flour, water, yeast, and salt using the paddle attachment on your mixer. Mix at speed #1 for four minutes.
  4. Add Poolish and knead dough at speed #4 for two minutes.
  5. Add olive oil and herbs and continue kneading at speed #1 until the oil is fully incorporated. This can take a long time so be patient. Mix until you can no longer see the oil on the dough.
  6. First Proof: place dough in a bowl, cover with film, and proof for 30 mins at room temperature. At end roll out and make one fold.
    • Fold: roll dough into a long rectangle. Fold along short width 1/3rd the length. Make second fold at the 2/3rd mark, where the first fold ended. It’s the same as folding a piece of paper to put in an envelope.
  7. Cover with film and transfer to fridge over night (at least 12 hours).
    • What I usually do is make the Poolish the night before my planned dinner and then early in the morning I plan to bake the bread I do steps 1-7.
    • Then 1.5 hours before serving I start in on step 8.
  8. Take from fridge and flatten on a baking sheet. use the rim of the sheet to set the thickness of the dough. For this use a roller longer than the baking sheet width and roll the roller along the rim of the baking sheet.
  9. Brush with olive oil then using your fingers to poke rows of four holes (four fingers) about one inch between rows. Brush again with olive oil filling the holes.
  10. Second Proof: Proof 45 minutes at 28C (82F).
  11. Bake 22 minutes at 230C.

You should put on cooling rack after oven and let if firm up a bit before serving. It is good to serve either warm or cooled. Usually it is cut into long strips that are then sliced into square shaped pieces.

*if you don’t have Herb de Provence, you can make your own using the following dry ingredients: 2 TBL rosemary, 1 TBL fennel seeds, 2 TBL savory, 2 TBL thyme, 2 TBL basil, 2 TBL marjoram, 2 TBL lavender flowers, 2 TBL Italian parsley, 1 TBL oregano, 1 TBL tarragon, and 1 tsp bay powder. If you don’t Herb de Provence on hand, you probably don’t have all these bad boys on hand either, just do the best you can with what you have.

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