Foccacia bread is one thing that I make very frequently, as it is an easy, satisfying compliment to just about anything. (Leftover, it makes fabulous croutons, diced, tossed in olive oil and baked until golden brown). Allow 2 1/2 hours for preparation, rising, and baking. I use instant yeast for most things at home, as you just add it to the dry ingredients rather than having to activate it first. If you want to use active dry yeast instead, you will have to add the sugar and the yeast to the warm water, rather than the dry ingredients in the recipe. Amounts are the same. For the most accurate baking results, weigh the dry ingredients, as flour density does vary, and too much flour will result in a heavy dough.
550 ml very warm (hot to the touch) water (2 1/4 cups)
60 ml olive oil (1/4 cup)
1kg flour (6 1/2 cups)
20 g salt (4 tsp)
45 g sugar (3 tbsp)
25 g instant yeast ( 3 tbsp)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp cornmeal or semolina
1 medium Walla Walla onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1 tbsp coarse salt
Combine water and olive oil in a mixing bowl and set aside
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast
Add dry ingredients to wet, and knead in an electric mixer with the dough hook for 10 minutes , until smooth and elastic to the touch. (alternatively, you can prepare the dough in a bread maker using the dough setting, or by hand if you’re feeling particularly vigorous)
Coat dough ball with 1 tbsp vegetable oil and place into a large bowl, cover, and put into a warm place to rise. (45 minutes-1 hour, depending on the temperature)
Once dough has risen to double its original size, punch it down, re-cover and allow to rise a second time. (30 minutes or so)
Transfer dough to a lightly floured board and roll out into a rectangle 12 by 16 inches ,or the same size as a baking sheet.
Spray a baking sheet lightly with nonstick spray and scatter with cornmeal or semolina (this gives it a nice crust and prevents sticking)
Cover and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F
While dough is rising, slice onion very thinly and sauté in olive oil until golden.
Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
Chop basil and set aside.
Once the dough has finished its pan rise, spread the onions all over the top, scatter with basil and coarse salt, and bake for 30 minutes in a 350 F oven, or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the top
Remove from oven and allow to sit for 20 minutes before serving.
Slice into large squares and serve.