If you have never made a yeast bread before, focaccia bread is a great way to start. It is pretty easy and very tasty! I like to make a few at a time and freeze the dough to make it another day. You can get some extra flavor by using infused olive oils. It also makes a great deep dish pizza crust!
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1 cup warm water - Don’t make it too hot or you will kill your yeast
1 ½ cups bread flour, sifted
Olive oil ( 1 tablespoon for the bread recipe and extra to coat your bowl and dough)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour, sifted
Nonstick cooking spray
3 tablespoons chopped rosemary or thyme for sprinkling on top
Sea salt for sprinkling on top
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add 2 tablespoons of the bread flour, whisk well and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes
Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil, the salt and the remaining bread flour. Start mixing on low speed adding the all- purpose flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Change out your paddle attachment for the bread hook and continue mixing the dough until it feels smooth. (You may need to add more flour if it is too sticky).
Coat a large bowl with olive oil. Form the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl. Gently turn the dough over in the bowl with your hands to coat all sides of the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft free space for about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Coat a 9 inch round cake pan with nonstick spray.
Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat out the dough into a large thin circle about 7 inches wide and place it in the prepared pan. Brush the top well with olive oil. Cover again and let rise in a warm, draft free space for 30 minutes.
Bake for 23 to 28 minutes, until the focaccia is lightly browned and puffed up. Immediately brush with more olive oil and sprinkle with the herbs and sea salt. Ease the focaccia loaf out of the pan and let it cool on a wire rack. Store in a plastic bad for 3 days at room temperature.
** You can freeze a baked loaf for up to 1 month.