This is one of those recipes that I always go back to. Simple, straightforward, and as far as bread things go, it certainly qualifies as quick, as you can have it on a cooling rack 1 hour after your focaccia craving hits.
For dinner parties I make the full recipe, for me and hubby I make half and cook it in a cast iron pan. Works like a charm….
(adapted from Suzanne Dunaway’s “No Need to Knead”)
2 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
4 cups unbleached bread flour
3 tsp salt
2-3 tsp olive oil
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp kosher salt
Measure the water in a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over water and stir until dissolved. Using a strong wooden spoon mix 2 cups of flour and salt until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour, stirring for 2 more minutes, just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and the flour is fully incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, 30 to 40 minutes.
Heat the oven to 500F. Oil one or two non-stick 13×18 inch baking sheets.
Pour the dough onto the sheet(s), brush the surface with 2 tsp olive oil. Dip your fingers in cold water or olive oil and make indentations all over the dough, working to stretch the dough as you go. If you are using a single sheet, the dough should cover it. Brush the surface with another teaspoon of olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary and salt.
Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 450F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!
Stirring the dough after the second addition of flour is not very easy, even if you have strong biceps, be prepared to sweat a little :-) .
I use a slightly different method to make life easier: after adding all the ingredients and mixing until it is a shaggy mass, both me and the dough rest for 5 or 10 minutes. I then use the wooden spoon to stir it a few times, not more than 30 seconds. The dough is easier to stir if you give the initial time for the flour and water to “get friendly”.
I increase the amount of olive oil, to at least 2 tablespoons for a full recipe, and push some of the rosemary bits into the dough before baking.
When making half the recipe, I simply pour the dough into a cast iron pan (sprayed slightly with olive oil to make sure nothing sticks), and bake exactly as described.
Here are some photos of the focaccia “in the making”