This awesome pic was taken by one of our 11 year old nutrition students. She made it all on her own with just a bit of coaching from us. Parents–this dough is fairly easy to make, but for younger or maybe less attentive darlings, consider a pre-made dough- so they can get to the fun part–the decorating– quickly!
- 1 ¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast
- 2 tsp. honey (any sweetener will work)
- 5 cups (625 g) all-purpose flour, cassava or wheat
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt or 5tsp granulated salt
- 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for hands
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for pan, I used Miyoko’s vegan butter
- Flaky sea salt
- 2–4 garlic cloves
- Whisk yeast, sweetener, 2 ½ cups lukewarm water in a medium bowl and let sit 5 minutes. If you have a sourdough starter at home—that would replace this step
- Add flour and salt. Mix with a rubber spatula or a dough hook until a shaggy dough forms and no dry streaks remain. Google shaggy dough—for a great image.
- Place 2/3 of the olive oil into a big bowl that will fit in your refrigerator. Transfer dough to bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover with a silicone lid or plastic wrap and chill until dough is doubled in size (it will be very bubbly). Fridge method takes 8-12 hours, Same effect happens on the counter in 4 hours. While it’s a similar product, the overnight method does seem to taste better 😉
- Generously butter a 13×9″ baking pan or an 18×13″ rimmed baking sheet. Your pan choice will reflect what you want to do with your bread.. The butter will ensure that your focaccia doesn’t stick. Pour 1 Tbsp olive oil into center of pan. Deflate the dough and form a ball: you can oil your hands or use a fork in each hand to lift and turn the dough, while keeping it in the bowl. Repeat 2-3 times until a ball is formed. Cover the ball with ½ Tbsp oil. Rise uncovered, in a dry, warm spot (I set mine on top of the fridge) until doubled in size, at least 1- 4 hours.
- When the dough is ready (it leaves a small dent when poked poke it with your finger. It should spring back slowly, leaving a small visible indentation. Oil your hands. Gently stretch out dough to fill pan. Create deep dimples (deep to the pan, but don’t leave any holes) all over the focaccia. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20–30 minutes.
It you are going to decorate, pull out a few minutes early, decorate and pop back in the oven to finish. Your decoration ingredients can be any thing of your choosing, but many ingredients will need either blanching or par-cooking with the exception of herbs and spices. Use your imagination a thinly sliced purple onion makes a great flower, cherry tomatoes make great buds, basil leaves can be leaves or rolled to make stems, asparagus makes a great stalk, star anise is gorgeous, basil makes great grass. I suggest making the landscape on a board or piece of parchment then transferring to the focaccia.