Makes 1 Loaf (8 x 13)
- 2 1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 2 TBSP Honey
- 2 1/2 Cups Warm Water
- 5 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 TBSP Kosher Salt (Morton's)
- 2 TBSP Fresh Rosemary, chopped
- 6 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive OIl
- Sea Salt Flakes for Sprinkling, such as Maldon
- In a small glass or metal bowl, pour the warm water over the yeast and honey. Whisk to blend and then let sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, salt and rosemary and give a quick whisk to blend.
- When the yeast is foamy, pour over the flour mixture and mix together with a rubber spatula until all of the flour is blended and there are no streaks, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom, of the bowl. The dough will be very wet and shaggy.
- Pour 4 TBSP of the oil into a very large bowl. Add the dough mixture and toss to coat in the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place a plate on top and allow to rise for 4 hours in a warm place, such as the stove top.
- After 4 hours: Butter a 13” x 8” baking pan (wih 3” sides, such as one you would bake brownies in) and drizzle 1 TBSP of the oil in the bottom.
- The dough should have double or tripled in size and look very bubbly. Wearing vinyl kitchen gloves, pull the dough from the far side of the bowl and fold toward the near side of the bowl. Turn the bowl a quarter of the way around and repeat until you have gone all the way around (4x). Repeat for 2 more rotations and gently place in the prepared pan.
- Allow the dough to rise for another 4 hours uncovered.
- The dough should rise over the pan and seem like it is about to pour over the sides. With your fingers, press into the dough, as if you a punching on piano keys. There should be little crags and indentations. Allow the dough to rise another 30 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450*. While the oven is preheating, drizzle the last TBSP of oil over the dough and sprinkle with sea salt flakes (and additional chopped rosemary if you like). Allow to rest until the oven is at temperature.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden/dark brown on top. Depending on your oven, check at 20 minutes to make sure it hasn’t cooked to quickly.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes then remove from the pan with a spatula and move to a cooling rack.
- Skip the Rosemary for a delicious plain focaccia.
- This makes a thick focaccia which would work for sandwiches or bruschetta.
- Make sure to use a good quality olive oil, as it gives a wonderful flavor to the bread.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with other herb combinations, or try adding olives after the punch down, being sure to allow to rise for an hour before baking.
- Cut a slice and toast it to use as a crouton for French Onion Soup.