A few days ago King Arthur Flour posted a link to this no fuss focaccia on their Facebook page. I've made a ton of yeast bread since I started cooking and baking, but never focaccia. Or maybe I should clarify and say I've never successfully made focaccia. I tried once, but it was a complete disaster - the dough was quite fluid and somehow I was supposed to fold it on a work surface; instead, it crept uncontrollably across my counter and onto the floor. That experience lingers in the back of my mind, and has kept me from attempting focaccia again...until now.
KAF's Facebook post included a gorgeous photo of their focaccia and a short one sentence description of the recipe that made me believe it might just be possible to whip this bread up. In fact, I was so excited about the possibility that I was in my kitchen attempting it the next day! I discovered they weren't kidding - this bread was beyond simple to make. Water, extra virgin olive oil, salt, yeast and flour were combined in my stand mixer, beaten for 1 minute to make a dough, transferred to the baking pan where the dough rose over the course of an hour and finally, baked for 40 minutes. In other words, from the time I started until the time I took my first bite of the focaccia, less than 2 hours had passed. Admittedly, I worried the entire time that this was too good to be true and there was no way the bread could live up to my expectations but with so few ingredients and such a small investment of my time, I just had to find out for myself.
As you may have guessed by now, this bread was phenomenal! I absolutely loved it, ranking it right up there amongst my favorite homemade breads. The crust was golden and crisp while the interior was tender and just slightly chewy. I was surprised by how wonderfully flavorful the focaccia was given the speed of the recipe. My bread was topped simply with an Italian seasoning mix, but the flavor possibilities are only limited by your imagination. The folks at KAF suggested a cheese-stuffed version, which may just be next on my list. Even if you've never made yeast bread, this one is so foolproof it's definitely worth a try!
No Fuss Focaccia
from King Arthur Flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 teaspoons Italian seasoning mix
Spray a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray then drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over the bottom of the pan.
Place the water, olive oil, salt, flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute. The dough will be smooth, elastic and sticky.
Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan. With oil or water on the tip of your fingers (don't use more flour, you want the dough to remain sticky), press the dough into the bottom of the pan, nudging to get it all the way into the corners. Cover the pan and let the dough rise for about 60 minutes, or until it is puffy.
While the dough rises, preheat oven to 375 F.
Once risen, uncover the pan and use your fingers to make dimples all over the dough (you may need a bit of oil on your fingers if the dough is too sticky). Drizzle the dough lightly with olive oil and sprinkle it with the Italian seasoning.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then turn the focaccia out of the pan (otherwise the bottom crust will get soggy). Serve warm or at room temperature.