- Sponge: 24 hours in advance
- Rising time for dough: 1½ hours
- Baking time: 25 minutes
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (or 1 packet of active dry yeast)
- 1½ cups warm water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1½ cups flour
- 2½ to 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Two 9-inch cake pans
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
Oil For Top of Dough:
Optional Toppings For Dough:
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan, mozzarella, or cheese of your choice
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- ½ tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt or coarse sea salt
In a large bowl dissolve yeast in 1½ cups warm water.
- Add 1½ cups flour and ¼ cup olive oil; stir for 1 minute. Batter will have the consistency of soft pudding.
- This is your sponge.
- Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let it rest in a warm place, free from drafts, overnight or up to 2 days. The longer the sponge ferments, the better the flavor of the pizza dough.
- Transfer the sponge to a heavy duty mixer bowl.
- Add salt and 2 cups of flour to the work bowl with the sponge in it.
- Using an electric mixer or the paddle attachment for a stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Remove mixer or paddle attachments from bowl.
- Insert a dough hook into the stand mixer.
- Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that is smooth and elastic.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface.
- Knead dough for 30 seconds.
- Divide the pizza dough in half and let rest on a floured surface for 10 minutes.
- Generously oil each cake pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Shape the dough into ½-inch thick rounds.
- Place each dough round in a cake pan.
- Cover the pans tightly with plastic wrap.
- Let rise for 1½ hours.
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Ten minutes before baking, gently dimple the dough with your fingertips and drizzle evenly with olive oil. Authentic focaccia is quite oily, so I start with ¼ cup and if necessary add more oil.
- Sprinkle with optional cheese, dried herbs, and sea salt.
- Bake the focaccia until golden, about 25 minutes.
- Remove from pans and cool on a rack. Serve warm.