Overnight Green Olive, Shallot and Thyme Focaccia Bread
Overnight focaccia is perfect for family life, since time does most of the work for you to develop flavor and rise on this bread. Focaccia is wonderful because you can add almost anything to the top or even inside. Andras and I are olive crazy, so I load this up with meaty green olives (which the kids can pick out if they're not feeling them), shallots and thyme. This focaccia is perfect served warm at a hot meal or packed up for a picnic, split in half to turn into special sandwiches or wrapped up in parchment and gifted to a friend or neighbor. Both Andras and the kids feel extra special if they find this in their lunch, too.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and yeast. Add in the water and stir with a sturdy wooden spoon or a Danish whisk to make a sticky, shaggy dough that comes together. Coat a large plastic or metal bowl completely with the oil. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl and turn to coat completely in the oil.
Cover the bowl with a tight-fitting lid so no air can enter the bowl. Leave on the countertop overnight, or in the fridge for up to 2 days, for the flavor to develop.
Oil a 13-by-9-inch rimmed baking sheet generously with olive oil, making sure to get all the corners. Gently slide the dough into the prepared pan (it should be very soft) and use your fingers to spread it into the corners. (If the dough has been chilling in the fridge, remove it and let it rest in a warm place until it is puffy and soft, 30 minutes to 1 hour, before transferring.)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Use the pads of your fingers to dimple the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle the olives over the top, poking some down inside the bread. Scatter the shallots and thyme over the top. Drizzle generously with oil and scatter over the flaky salt. Bake, rotating once, until the top is evenly golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly, then slide out of the pan. Drizzle with honey. Slice and serve warm. Eat within 24 hours or wrap well and freeze for up to 1 month.