This recipe is great for a simple pizza or for eating fresh Mozzarella or Burrata. From The Professional Pastry Chef. Preheat an oven to 475.
For the Sponge:
3/4 ounces fresh yeast
1/4 cup + 2 Tbl warm water (about body temperature)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup flour
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the sugar and the flour and knead using the dough hook of mixer until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and let rise in a warm place until the sponge starts to fall, about 1 hour.
1 cup warm water, about body temperature
1/4 cup + 2 Tbl olive oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbl salt
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
Into the sponge, add the water, olive oil, sugar, salt, flour and enough of the bread flour to develop a very soft, smooth yet still elastic dough. Mix with your hands!
Form the dough into a ball and place on a floured surface. Cut an X halfway through the ball of dough. Pull the cuts out slightly to form a rough square. This will make it easier to shape the dough into a rectangle later. You can certainly make the dough into any shape you would like, but we’re baking on a cookie sheet, so the rectangle works in this instance. Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Coat the bottom and sides of a cookie sheet with olive oil. Place the dough in the center of the pan. Oil your hands, then stretch the dough out as far as you can. Use your hands to stretch the dough until it covers the entire sheet pan. After you stretch and form the dough, press your fingertips into the top to mark it with “dimples”. Let the dough rise until it is one and one-half times the original size.
Using your hand, gently sprinkle herbs like rosemary or basil over the dough along with healthy drops of olive oil. Sprinkle coarse salt over the top.
Place the bread in the preheated oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until baked through. Remove the pan by placing a second sheet pan on top and inverting. This will keep the bottom of the focaccia from becoming soggy. Invert the bread again onto a cutting board. Allow to cool, then cut into the desired sized pieces.