from: The Italian Baker by Carol Field
Focaccia alla Genovese
(makes enough dough for three 9 or 10 inch round focacce or two 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 inch rectangular focacce.)
2 1/2 t. (1 pkg) active dry yeast or 1 small cake of fresh yeast
1/4 c warm water
2 1/4 c water, room temp
2 T olive oil
7 1/2 (approx) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 T fine sea salt or table salt
You can make this by hand, by processor or standing mixer. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer, so here are directions for that method:
Stir yeast into warm water; let stand about 10 minutes, til creamy.
Stir in 2 1/4 c water and the oil, using the mixer's paddle. Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Change to dough hook and knead at low speed for about 2 minutes, then at medium speed for another 3 minutes. Dough should be velvety and elastic.
(I like to finish kneading by hand, just so I am sure that the dough feels right)
Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise til doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
After the first rise, punch dough and cut into 3 equal pieces (if you are making round foccace), place on lightly floured surface. Shape each piece into a thick disc and roll out to 9-10 inch circle. Place in an oiled 9-10 inch pie plate (I use a cake pan). For rectangular foccace, cut dough into 2 pieces, roll out to fit 2 oiled 10 1/2 x 15 1/2 inch pans. Cover dough with damp towels and let rise for 30 minutes. (I use plastic wrap. If dough rises and touches the towels, it's hard to get off of the towel)
After rising for 30 minutes, vigorously dimple the dough with your fingertips, leaving indentations that are as deep as 1/2 inch. Cover again and let rise about 2 hours.
Brush 2-3 T olive oil on top of the dough, allowing oil to fill the dimples. Sprinkle with 1-2 t kosher salt (heavily, if you like salt!). You can also sprinkle the tops with rosemary, sage, olives, gorgonzola... whatever you like.
Heat over to 400 degrees. Use a baking stone and be sure it is preheated (for about 1/2 hour). Place pans on preheated stones. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. For the first 10 minutes of baking, spray the pans with water 3x (about every 3 minutes or so). This replicates the way Italian bakers keep the dough moist.
When baked, immediately invert the focacce onto cooling racks so that the crusts don't get soggy.
Eat these while warm or at room temp, on the same day that you bake them. Don't refrigerate. Focacce don't keep well.