Make beautiful and delicious focaccia at home in less than 4 hours. This is easy herb and spring onion focaccia is everything you want from this traditional Italian bread- it's light, crispy on the outside, and coated in a generous blend of fresh parsley, basil, garlic and coarse sea salt. Sliced spring onions take this up a notch and make this a perfect sharing bread for your next gathering.
In a large bowl combine the yeast, water and sugar. Allow to stand for about 5 minutes or until starting to foam.
Add the flour, salt and olive oil to the yeast mixture. Using an electric mixer fitted with dough hooks, mix the dough on low speed until all the flour is incorporated. Continue mixing and kneading for 1 minute total. If the dough is very sticky and wet, add the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Alternatively, you can mix by hand- use a wooden spoon and stir until the dough is combined, then knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 1 minute. The surface of the dough should spring back when it's touched- this means it's ready to proof.
With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a ball and place back into the mixing bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours or until doubled in size. Depending on the freshness of your yeast and the outside temperature, the dough may take less time to double in volume.
Generously oil a 10x15" baking sheet. Once the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down and scrape it out of the bowl onto the prepared baking sheet. If the dough is too sticky to handle, lightly dust it with flour directly in the bowl.
Allow the dough to rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes to allow the gluten strands to relax (this will assist in shaping the dough). Then, using your hands, gently press the dough into a rectangular shape towards the edges of the baking pan. If the dough springs back, let it rest for another 5-10 minutes, then shape again. Cover the dough and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
Using a small food processor add the parsley, basil and garlic. Process on speed 1 until finely chopped (about 8 seconds). Alternatively chop the herbs by hand. Place the chopped herbs into a small bowl and stir in the olive oil. Slice each spring onion in half lengthwise. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the dough from the fridge and remove the cover. Using two fingers, create dimples in the surface of the dough, spacing them about 1-1 ½" apart.
Generously apply the olive oil and herb mixture with a pastry brush onto the top of the dough. Make sure the entire surface is well coated in olive oil (note you may not need all of the mixture). Arrange the spring onions on top and gently press them into the dough. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake the prepared focaccia in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Finish the bread with a light brushing of olive oil. Slice into desired sizes and enjoy.
You can prepare and shape the foccacia dough up to 24 hours before you plan to bake it- Once you have proofed and shaped the dough on the baking sheet, cover and leave it in the fridge for up to 24 hours, then proceed with the final steps as above. Baked focaccia is best served warm the same day, however it can be covered and stored for two to three days and reheated if desired.
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