Bread Art Focaccia

Stephanie bakes and arranges a beautiful piece of bread art focaccia

On this episode, Stephanie bakes focaccia—but not just any ordinary focaccia—this is bread art! The structure of the bread itself is soft and light with plenty of air pockets, a hint of sea salt is evident in the taste, and the toppings are well seasoned and delicious. Follow this recipe to make your very own bread art. Bon Appétit!

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces warm water (110o F), divided in half
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ tsps. (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • 24 ounces (680 grams) bread flour
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 ounces olive oil, for pans
  • 1 Tbsp flakey sea salt
  • Assorted vegetables, herbs, meats for topping

Directions

  1. Combine the first cup of warm water with the yeast and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix to combine and set aside until foamy (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add in about one cup of the flour and using the dough hook mix on low until combined.
  3. Add in the rest of the water, olive oil, salt and half of the remaining flour. Continue adding flour while mixing on low until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If it’s still too sticky, add a couple more tablespoons of flour until it comes together. The dough will be very soft.
  4. Keep mixing until the dough develops enough gluten that when you touch it, it bounces back.
  5. Place the dough in a large bowl brushed with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
  6. Pour enough olive oil into a 12 by 17-inch sheet pan (or 2 smaller sheet pans) so there is a thin layer of oil covering the entire bottom of the pan.
  7. Drizzle and rub olive oil all over on your hands to prevent them from sticking to the dough. Pull the focaccia dough out of the bowl. Lay it in the pan(s) and begin stretching it to the edges. If you are using 2 pans, the dough may not reach the edges. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight to develop flavor.
  8. When ready to bake your bread, take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm up for about 30 minutes. Dimple the surface with oiled fingertips to create some areas for the olive oil to collect. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt on top and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
  9. While the focaccia is rising, prepare your vegetables, herbs and meats for decorating the top of the bread. Asparagus and green onions make good flower stems, yellow and orange peppers are colorful flower petals, grape tomatoes, olives, and mushrooms are options for decorating as well. Prosciutto, salami, pepperoni can be shaped into flowers. Small rosemary sprigs make great accents and flavor for your topping.
  10. Make sure to press the decorative elements into the dough firmly so they don’t pop off during baking. Brush all the toppings with olive oil to prevent burning and sprinkle a little more sea salt over the top.
  11. Bake in a preheated 450-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the focaccia is golden brown. Because of the toppings, once baked, the bread is best enjoyed the same day. Refrigerate any leftovers and re-heat in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees to bring back that delicious chewy texture.
  12. Enjoy!
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