09 March 2010
Olive and Herb Focaccia
Every time we see the bottle of coarse sea salt in the cabinet we think of making this great, easy focaccia from The Weekend Baker. It takes a bit of time, but most of that is just letting the dough rise and having yourself a cocktail in the meantime.
3 1/3 c flour
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) instant yeast
2 tsp table salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 c warm water (115-125 degrees will activate the yeast, but we didn't actually measure the temp)
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing the dough
For the topping:
20 pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chopped thyme
1 tsp coarse salt (note: this coupled with the olives make the bread pretty salty, so feel free to cut back on this and just sprinkle a bit on top)
Whisk together the flour, thyme, yeast, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Drizzle the water and olive oil over the dry mix. If you have a stand mixer, fit it with a dough hook and mix until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (about 8 minutes); if you don't, mix with a wooden spoon until a rough, shaggy dough forms and then knead for about 10 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball. Lightly oil the bowl and put the dough back in it, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Put dough on a lightly greased cookie sheet and press down gently to deflate. Shape the dough into an oval about 3/4 inch thick (about 10 inches long and 7 inches wide). Lightly brush with olive oil and loosely cover the surface with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm spot for another 20 minutes, until it has puffed and almost doubled.
Heat oven to 425 and remove the plastic from the dough. Lightly coat fingers with flour and press down into dough (but not through) until you touch the bottom, until you have about 2 dozen dimples. Scatter the olives all over the surface, pressing them into the dimples. Really make sure they're in the little holes, or they'll fall off when the bread is baked. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with thyme and coarse salt.
Bake until top of focaccia is browned, 20-25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer bread to a rack. Drizzle remaining olive oil. Serve warm.