Let the sponge mixture rise until it has doubled in size.
Mix the dough until it is velvety and elastic.
Transfer the dough to the baking tray and stretch it to fill the corners.
Brush with olive oil and dimple the surface with your fingertips.
Sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper and thyme and proof for 15 minutes before baking.
Makes 12 servings
Focaccia is a wonderfully versatile bread. This recipe creates light, fluffy bread that can be eaten by itself, with soup, split in half for sandwiches or even with salad. The thyme and olive oil give it a Mediterranean flavor.
1 packet dry yeast
1-3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon honey
1-1/2 pounds bread flour
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
Fresh ground black pepper
Fresh thyme leaves, minced
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Brush a 15 x 11-inch baking tray with olive oil. Set aside.
Using the mixer bowl, combine the yeast, 4 ounces of water and honey. Stir together until yeast dissolves into the water. Add 2 ounces of flour and mix to make a sponge. Let rise in a warm place until double.
Gradually add the remaining flour, water, olive oil and salt. Using the dough hook attachment, mix at medium speed to make a soft sough. Beat for 2 minutes. Turn off machine, scrape sides of bowl and allow dough to relax for 10 minutes.
Turn on mixer and continue to mix the dough for another 5 minutes at medium speed. The dough will become velvety and elastic. Transfer dough onto prepared baking tray.
Stretch the dough to fill the tray. Cover loosely with clean kitchen towel and allow to rise at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
Uncover the dough and stretch to cover the entire baking tray. Brush with olive oil and dimple with fingertips. Sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper and thyme. Let rise for 15 minutes.
Bake for 10 minutes, turn around and bake another 6 to 8 minutes, until golden brown and well-risen.