This is my favorite Italian flatbread.
Stage 1: Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in half the tepid water.
Stage 2: On your largest available clean surface (even a big bowl will do if surfaces are limited), make a pile of flour in the center of the flour, semolina flour, and salt. With one hand, make a well in the center. (If possible, it is preferable to warm the flour and semolina flour.)
Stage 3: Pour all the dissolved yeast mixture into the well and with four fingers of one hand make circular movements, from the center working outward, slowly bringing in more and more of the dry ingredients until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the other half of the tepid water into the center and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough. (Certain flours may need a little more water, so don't be afraid to adjust the quantities.)
Stage 4: Kneading! This is the best bit, just rolling, pushing and folding the dough over and over for 5 minutes. This develops the structure of the dough and the gluten. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, just rub them together with a little extra flour.
(You can do Stages 2, 3 and 4 in an electric mixer if you like, using the dough hook attachment.)
Stage 5: Flour both your hands now, and lightly flour the top of the dough. Make it into a roundish shape and place on a baking tray. Score the dough with a knife--this allows it to relax and proof (rise) more quickly.
Stage 6: Leave the bread to rise for the first time. Basically, we want it to double in size. (This is probably the best time to preheat the oven: 475 degrees F for focaccia.) You want a warm, moist, draft-free place for the quickest rise, for example near the stove, or just in a warm room. You can cover with plastic wrap if you want to speed it up. This process matures the flour flavor and should take approximately 40 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the conditions.
Stage 7: Right, it's double the size and time to punch it down. Knead and punch the dough, knocking all the air out of it, for about a minute. Then split the dough into half or quarters. Roll or push it out to an oval shape roughly 11/3 cm/ (1/2-inch) thick; don't fuss around for perfection, it's supposed to be rough and rustic, so what a great excuse for a beginner! Place on a baking tray liberally dusted with semolina flour.
Make your rosemary and olive oil topping by bashing and bruising a handful of rosemary and 3 cloves of garlic using a rolling pin. Mix together with some olive oil and salt, and squeeze mixture over the bread. Finally, make those characteristic holes by pushing all you fingers deep into the dough many times, which allows the flavor of the topping to penetrate. Leave to proof for 45 minutes until about 3cm 1 1/4 inches) high.
Bake for about 15 minutes at your oven's highest temperature until ready. As soon as the focaccia comes out of the oven feed it with a good drizzle of olive oil and a light scattering of sea salt. You can eat the focaccia as soon as it has slightly cooled.
Check Out Our
Get a sneak-peek of the new Food Network recipe page and give us your feedback.See it Now!