Today I made artisan bread with my older sister. It’s one of my favorite things to do with her since we both enjoy bread baking and it’s extra nice to have someone in the kitchen with you during long baking days. It’s a great time to talk and laugh.
Here’s how we made focaccia bread today. We also made country sourdough, multi-grain hearth bread, pizza dough, and small flat breads, but this is the only recipe I followed all the way through on with pictures.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup fed wet sourdough starter
- 1 1/4 cups water at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 4 cups freshly ground, whole red wheat flour
- Mixed dried herbs to mix into dough (optional)
- Cheese, roasted garlic, onion, canned diced tomato, crushed red pepper flakes, etc. to add into dough or to sprinkle on top (optional)
- Coarse salt for sprinkling over top
- Olive oil for brushing over top
- Semolina for sliding dough into oven
One hour before baking, preheat stone oven, or regular oven with a stone set in it, to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a bowl, mix together the sourdough starter, water, sugar, salt, yeast, and 2 cups of the flour. Add the dried herbs and other optional add-in ingredients if you’re using them. Mix and stir until well blended.
Add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the mixture comes away from the sides of the bowl and begins to form into a ball.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and with well-floured hands begin kneading the dough. Add more flour as necessary until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. You might not use all the flour. Place dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or put bowl into a plastic bag. Let rest for 30 minutes.
Gently press the air out of the dough and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. With well floured hands, knead dough a few times. Divide the dough in half and gently shape into smooth balls. With a rolling pin, roll dough into rounds about 1/2-inch thick (thicker than pictured). Place each round onto a peel sprinkled generously with semolina. Cover with plastic wrap or put peel and dough into a plastic bag. Let rest 30 minutes.
Using your fingertips, spread a tablespoon of olive oil onto the dough, and make depressions in the surface. You’ll want these depressions to be pretty deep.
Sprinkle the dough with desired toppings.
Ingredient note: We like to use Maldon sea salt flakes. They’re a bit pricey, but a little bit goes a long way and they make a fine finished product.
Slide the dough off the peel onto the floor of the oven or pizza stone. Bake 10-20 minutes or until focaccia is brown and baked through.