Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes
Idle time: 2-14 hours
If you have done any kind of “artisan” bread baking before then this recipe is essentially very similar. There are a few key things to try to remember while you are making an “artisan” loaf of bread; keep the dough a little sticky, develop gluten, and be patient.
- 1000 grams of flour; bread flour and whole wheat (about 4 ½ cups, but weighing the ingredients is best)
- 700 grams of water
- 150 grams of sourdough starter (optional)
- 1 - 3 grams of yeast (½ - 1 teaspoon) (using less yeast slows down the rise and will make the bread have more flavor)
- 15 grams of salt (about 3 teaspoons)
- 20 grams of olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)
**Traditional focaccia bread will use some version of a “starter” If you are interested in making your own sourdough starter, see my recipe about how to put together a starter. For this recipe a sourdough starter is not actually needed. If you do not have a starter use a higher amount of yeast and the rise times will be faster. If you want to use starter and have the time, this recipe can take as long as all to create a more interesting flavor. If you use starter and a small amount of yeast, be prepared to wait longer on your rise times.
- In a large mixing bowl on top of a zeroed kitchen scale, weigh out 700 grams of warm water. *Note that zeroing your scale in between measurements makes things easier to keep track of.
- In the same bowl add in 1-3 grams of yeast (and 150 grams of sourdough starter if using) and stir to combine.
- Add 400 grams of whole wheat flour into the mixing bowl and stir to combine. (at this point you can let your mixture sit with plastic wrap or a tight fitting lid for up to 8 hours at room temperature or 12-14 hours in the refrigerator)
- Add in 20 grams of olive oil, 15 grams of salt and 600 grams of bread flour and stir until combined.
- Once all of the ingredients are combined, turn the dough out onto a floured countertop and knead by pressing the palm of your hand into the dough and stretching it then pulling it back towards you. Kneading by hand will take about 5-7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you have a kitchenaid mixer you can also use the dough hook, and let the machine knead it on speed 3-4 for 5 minutes.
- Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tight fitting lid to let rise for 1-2 hours or until the dough has noticeably expanded (if you used yeast and starter mix it will be around 2 hours or more).
- Once the dough has expanded, take the dough out of the bowl and use the “stretch and fold” method to build gluten in the dough (take one end of dough and stretch it as far as you can without tearing it then fold it back on itself, repeat this on all 4 “sides” of dough). Now place your dough back into the greased bowl and cover again to let rise for another 1-2 hours.
- After this rise time, proceed in doing the “stretch and fold” method one more time. Let dough rise for around another 30-45 minutes (rising should speed up a little throughout the day). After this stretch and fold session, start preheating your oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
- After this rise it is time to shape the dough. Turn your dough out of the bowl onto a countertop that has been coated in olive oil. Work your dough with your hands into a flattened oven shape. This is a bit like working with a large pizza dough, where it is important to get it fairly flat but do not tear it (refer to video for shaping). Transfer the flattened dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment and cover with plastic wrap or a wet towel to let rise one last time for around 30-45 minutes.
- After the rise, coat the loaf with olive oil and poke little “pockets” into the dough where the olive oil will settle. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top of the loaf and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until slightly golden on top.
- Let your loaf cool on a cooling rack until completely cool before cutting, or enjoy warm.
- Focaccia will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks or around 5 days on the counter if kept out of direct sunlight.
- Depending on the weather in your area rise times might differ, and they could be longer or they could be shorter. Be patient and do not panic. If you have the time to let it sit longer let it sit.
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