Weeknight Focaccia

Stippling the dough for our Weeknight Focaccia recipe

A few weeks ago, I made focaccia for dinner on a Tuesday night. Normally, this would be impossible due to time constraints. But I found a Weeknight Focaccia recipe in my cookbook, Savory Baking: Recipes for Breakfast, Dinner, and Everything in Between. This makes it not only possible but pretty easy. It does however require some planning.

Fresh focaccia is one of those things that I just can’t stop eating. And, when I found myself with way too many tomatoes, I figured this would be a good way to use them. I sliced them thin and, after brushing the focaccia with olive oil, I layered them on top with a sprinkle of fresh Italian herbs and some salt before baking. The results made for an amazing mid-week dinner that I paired with a giant salad.

I started the dough on Sunday evening and left it in my fridge until I was ready to use it Tuesday night. You could easily use the dough the next day but the longer stay in the fridge gives the dough a little more time to ferment which gives it more flavor. 48 hours is the max though.

For those who are not tomato fans, you could leave the focaccia plain and sprinkle it with flaky sea salt for crunch, or, my personal favorite, thinly slice some fresh leeks and toss them in a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper then layer them on top before baking. The smell of your kitchen alone would be worth it.

Weeknight Focaccia Recipe
Adapted from Savory Baking: Recipes for Breakfast, Dinner, and Everything in Between.
Yields one 13″ x 18″ sheet pan

This easy-to-prepare bread is chewy, a bit crispy, and wonderfully fluffy. It is great for splitting to make sandwiches and heavenly with a salad and a bowl of soup.

The Weeknight Focaccia dough mixes up fast. And, you can form it in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here we have chosen to use a sheet pan. And, note that the bread needs to rise in the fridge anywhere from overnight to 48 hours—you choose. The longer it rises the more flavorful the loaf.

6-1/2 cups of Bread Flour (we recommend King Arthur brand)
1-1/2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
2-3/4 cups warm water (110º F)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons honey

For finishing
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for the pan
2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon kosher salt or flaky salt

Make the dough
Site the flour, salt, and yeast together in a large bowl. Add the water and olive oil and mix until thoroughly combined (about 2 minutes). The dough will be sticky.

Allow the dough to rise
Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

With damp hands, gently reach under the dough and stretch and pull to fold the bottom portion over the top. Repeat this about five times working your way around the bowl.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 12 to 48 hours.

Form the focaccia
Great your baking sheet generously with olive oil.

Place the dough on the pan and gently flip it so both sides are covered with the olive oil. Cover the pan and allow the dough to rise until it is nearly doubled in size (about 30 minutes).

This method is called stippling and gives the focaccia its signature dimpled surface. Using your fingertips, gently spread the dough by pressing straight down to even out the thickness. You can add additional dimples after the loaf is formed.

Cover the dough and allow to rest while the oven preheats.

The process of forming the loaf is easier to understand in this video we found on YouTube.

Preheat the oven
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 450º F.

Bush the dough with olive oil
Energetically mix together the olive oil, salt, and water in a medium-sized bowl until the salt has dissolved and the mixture is emulsified.

Using a pastry brush, generously brush the surface of the dough with the oil mixture so that it pools in the dimples. Sprinkle the dough with flaky salt.

Bake the focaccia
Transfer the baking pan to the preheated oven and bake until the focaccia is a deep golden brown (about 30 to 35 minutes)

Cool the focaccia
Cool the focaccia in the pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer it onto a wire rack.

To serve
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Topping ideas
Toppings are delicious on focaccia. Any combination of these flavors will work well.

We covered the loaf with thinly sliced tomatoes before baking. You can brush an additional olive oil mixture on the tomatoes. Sprinkle the flaky salt after the tomatoes are added.

Other ideas are leaks, or caramelized onions, or olives (no pits!), and herbs like fresh basil, rosemary, oregano, and parsley.

Or omit the flaky salt and sprinkle a thin layer of Parmesan cheese.

Check out our other focaccia recipes: Focaccia-Style Sheet Pan Pizza and Fast Focaccia Pizza.

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