This is an easy recipe for basic focaccia bread. I like mine with caramelized onion and olives on top, but you can customize the toppings to your liking or leave it plain.
Proof the yeast: Mix the water, the yeast and 2-3 tablespoons of the flour in bowl and wait for the yeast to show some activity (small bubbles or a pleasant yeasty smell).
Make the dough: Add the rest of the flour, the salt and the olive oil and form the dough. The dough will be sticky so it is best to use a wooden spatula if you don't want it to stuck on your hands. Work the dough until it smooth and elastic.
First rise: Cover it with cling film and let it rest in a warm place until doubled in volume (about two hours).
Shape the focaccia: Deflate the dough and knead it some more with the wooden spatula. Transfer it to a pan which you have greased with olive oil. Wet your fingers and spread it so that it covers the pan. It will spring back a little, so let it rest for 15 minutes and repeat this procedure.
Second rise: Cover again with cling film and let it rise for a second time for 40-60 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 430°F (220°C)
Prepare the toppings: transfer the water and the olive oil to a small bowl and beat with a fork until homogenised and an emulsion is formed. Sprinkle the onion and the olives on the top of the bread. Wet your fingers and press them al the way in the focaccia, througout the whole surface. Brush the olive oil and the water emulsion on top and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Bake in middle/lower rack for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Equipment: one rectangular pan 13x10 inch (32x25 cm) or a 12-inch (32 cm) in diameter round one
After the second day it is best to warm the focaccia in the oven or in the toaster before you serve it.
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