I love small meals and snacks. A slice of fresh baked bread topped with herbs falls easily into this category. It’s easy to have fresh bread by making a large batch of dough and storing it in the refrigerator. When you want fresh bread, break off a small portion, allow it to warm to room temperature and rise a little, then bake a fresh loaf. The below recipe is from Williams-Sonoma and has the perfect flavor!
2 packages (5 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups (14 fl. oz./440 ml.) warm water (105-115°F/40-46°C)
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.) extra-virgin olive oil
5 cups (25 oz./780 g.) all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. coarse sea salt (optional)
Dissolve the yeast in warm water and let stand about 5 minutes. It should be foamy. If it not then your yeast may be old and dead. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the flour and the salt and stir with your hand or a wooden spoon until a rough ball forms. Scrape the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. Add flour to the work surface while kneading to prevent the dough from sticking.
Form the dough into a ball, transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap (I used a dishtowel). Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, 1-1 1/2 hours. For a more flavorful bread, make the dough up to this point, punch it down, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature before shaping.
Pour the remaining 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) oil evenly into a half-sheet pan. Turn the dough out into the pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan. If it is too elastic to spread without springing back, let it rest for 5 minutes. Cover the pan loosely with a dry kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 450°F (230° C). Dimple the dough by pressing your fingertips all the way into it at 1-inch (2.5-cm.) intervals over the entire surface. Sprinkle it with the coarse salt, if desired.
I topped the dough before cooking with parsley, oregano, and dried basil, along with the sea salt. You can use your favorite toppings. Caramelized onions would be great!
Bake the focaccia until golden brown, 20-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan. Cut it into squares and serve warm or at room temperature. Store tightly wrapped in aluminum foil at room temperature for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 2 weeks. Reheat at 375°F (190°C) for 10 minutes. Makes 1 large flatbread