Finally, I have baked a bread that I am truly proud to share with friends. I think I’ve perfected my focaccia. This loaf turned out very fluffy and was full of bubbles despite how oil-filled and dense the dough is. The texture and flavor are both amazing. The recipe I use is below…
– 2 heads of garlic (roasted)
– 2/3 to 3/4c of herb oil
– 5c bread flour
– 2t salt
– 2t instant yeast
– 6T olive oil
– 2c room temp. water
- Roast your garlic: Take both heads and cut off about 1/8 of the very top so just the tips of the individual cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in tin foil. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F for an hour to an hour and 20 minutes. Once done roasting, let them sit wrapped in the foil for another 20-30 minutes to cool and finish cooking. Once cooled, open the foil, remove the heads, and squeeze the caramel brown roasted cloves into a bowl. Store at room temp until you make your dough.
- Make your herb oil: Take 2/3 to 3/4c of olive oil and add it to a small sauce pan over low heat. You can use any herbs you want, but I added about 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, about 1t of dried leaf oregano, and 1T of minced garlic (could replaced with garlic powder). Heat until oil is fairly warm and fragrant, about 30-45 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool before use.
- Make your dough: Stir together flour, salt, and yeast until homogeneous. Add oil, water, and roasted garlic cloves and knead with a dough hook for 3-5 minutes. Dough should be sticky, but firm. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom.
Liberally flour a work surface and dump the dough onto the surface. Flour your hands and use them to remove the dough onto the surface if necessary. Sprinkle with flour. Shape into a rectangle and let rest for 5 minutes.
– Pull on each side of the dough, stretch it to double its size, then fold each end back over on each other like you would fold a letter to slip into an envelope. Brush with the herb oil & sprinkle with flour. Cover loosely with plastic wrap & let rest for 30 minutes.
– Repeat the above letter folding step again, brush with oil, sprinkle flour, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.
– Repeat the letter folding step again, oil, flour, cover, and let rest for an hour to rise.
- Final Stretch: Line a rectangular baking sheet (I used 17 x 12) with parchment paper. Spread about 1/4c of the herb oil on the pan, then carefully transfer the dough to the pan, keeping the rectangular shape. Spoon another ~1/4c of oil on top. Use fingers to dimple & stretch the dough to better fill the pan.
- Overnight Proof: Loosely cover your dough with plastic wrap and a tea towel, and place in the fridge to proof overnight (mine went from ~6:30-7pm until ~9am).
- Bake It: Three hours before you want to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temp. Dimple and stretch the dough just a smidge more, don’t over work it, to make sure it fills the pan. Spoon on the remaining herb oil and sprinkle liberally with coarse salt if you desire that salty taste and texture.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
After 3 hours, place the loaf in the oven, but turn it down to 450 degrees F. Bake 10 minutes, then rotate in the oven and bake another 10 minutes. If you’re adding a topping like cheese, add them after about 7 minutes and bake for an additional 1 to 2 minutes beyond the final 10 minutes. Loaf should be a golden brown with a firm crust.
Transfer to a cooling rack to stop cooking. Allow to cool at least 5 minutes before eating.