You’ve probably heard of everyone you know trying to make and feed a new sourdough starter during the quarantine. While that’s a very noble task, and there are certainly worse things to do than the feeding and care of something living right now, it’s also…a lot for some of us. Especially people who have never made bread. So if you’re looking for a beginner’s bread recipe that’s quick and easy and delicious, look no further! We’ve got you. And soon you’ll have fresh, warm focaccia!
You’re going to want to start with 1 1/3 cups of water that’s just about at 100 – 110 degrees fahrenheit. But I don’t have a thermometer! you may say. No worries, friend! The best way to tell if a water is at this temp is that if feels the same as a warm bath, something slightly above the temperature of your own skin. This is because if it’s too hot, it will kill the yeast. You want that yeast happy, which is why you’re going to add 2 tablespoons of sugar or honey to the water when you have it at temp, before you add 1 packet of dry yeast (1/4 oz). This will give the yeast something to eat. You’ll let the water, yeast, and honey sit for 5 to 10 minutes. When the yeast is activated, it will be bubbly and happy like in the picture below.
Once the yeast is activated, add 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/3 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil, and 2 Tablespoons of salt. (Be sure to add the salt last as it, like hot water, can kill your yeast!) Mix it together with your hands, kneading lightly into a ball. It should look like this:
Cover the bowl with saran wrap, and let sit for 30 minutes to one hour, until it is doubled in size. After it is doubled, take it out and put it in a sheet tray. Let rise again for about 15 – 20 minutes. Now for the most satisfying part! Poke holes deep in the risen dough with your fingers, like so!
Next, cover the dough with more olive oil. Add whatever toppings, in whatever pattern you see fit. You can have a lot of fun with this, and add great flavor. I went fairly simple for mine, and used garlic, parmesan cheese, and halved cherry tomatoes. But this part is up to you! Be creative!
Lastly, bake at 350 degrees in a pre-heated oven for 20 – 30 minutes, until it is golden brown.
You can use this bread for anything savory! I like to dip mine in hummus, or cut it down the middle and make hummus, cucumber, tomato and sprout sandwiches with it. And, if you have left-over bread, stay tuned for our savory focaccia bread pudding recipe!