I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day celebration. As I mentioned in my last post, I was getting ready to prepare a Middle Eastern brunch. Although initially I planed to make pita bread, I changed my mind in the last minute and I went for a soft focaccia.
Why would I do that you ask? Well, for a couple of reasons. Number one, since I had a lot to do that day, I thought I would bake focaccia the day before since it keeps better than pita. The second reason, this is not your ordinary focaccia. The crumb is incredibly soft and moist and absorbs juices better.
I would normally make focaccia using 100% bread flour. Saturday night, when I was ready to mix, I realized I didn't have enough bread flour and I used 50% all-purpose flour to complete the recipe. The result was an even softer focaccia. I loved it so much I will keep using 50% all-purpose flour to make this bread.
The process is not complicated. The only thing about this dough is that you need to be folding it every hour for three hours, but that will take you less than a minute to do. I'll explain more in the recipe.
500g bread flour
500g all-purpose flour
14g instant dry yeast
640g water (80˚F)
85g olive oil
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine the flours, salt, yeast, sugar and water. Mix on low speed until all ingredients blend. Increase the speed to medium and mix for five minutes or until smooth. At this point, little by little, mix in the olive oil on low speed. Mix until the oil is well incorporated. Lightly oil a bowl and scrape the dough into it, cover with plastic film and let it rest for one hour. After an hour fold the dough (see note). Cover again and let it rest for another hour. After the second hour fold again then cover and let it rest for another hour. After the third hour fold the dough for the last time and let it rest for 30 minutes. While the dough is resting, line a half a sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly oil both sides of the paper (use cooking spray). When the dough is ready, carefully stretch the dough evenly making sure you cover the sheet pan. Use your fingertips to gently dot the top.
Lightly oil a piece of plastic film to cover the dough. Let it rest for the last time for 30 minutes. When the dough is ready, drizzle olive oil on top, sea salt and sesame seeds (see note). Bake it in a preheated oven (450˚F) for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Note: Folding the dough: It simply means to turn the dough onto itself. HERE is a good video to show you how.
Note: You can top your focaccia with whatever you like; tomatoes, herbs, cheese etc.