There are two things reasons why focaccia’s the best beginner bread

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The first is that it’s so easy to make, especially if you have a stand mixer. The second is that it’s highly customizable. You can add whatever flavorings or toppings you prefer and, as the Internet has shown us, shape and design it however you want. This recipe proves both points with a simple, no-knead focaccia that works as a great base for different variations (say, a Filipino-style focaccia?).

You only need a couple of ingredients and tools to make this recipe. It takes four hours to make, but don’t worry, most of the time is just waiting. We recommend using a stand mixer and a 13 x 18-inch rimmed baking sheet. But you can still do the recipe without them. Instead, you can use a mixer or spatula (or even your hands) to prepare the dough. And you can bake it in a smaller-sized rimmed baking sheet or really any oven-safe container with high(-ish) sides.
How to Make Focaccia
Add the flour, salt, and instant yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer. Make sure that the salt and the yeast are on opposite sides so that the salt doesn’t kill the yeast. (If you kill the yeast, your focaccia won’t rise.) With the dough hook attached, whisk the dry ingredients together until the salt and the yeast are well dispersed. Add your water, then knead the mixture at medium speed until a sticky dough forms. This should take five to eight minutes.

Side note: If you only have active dry yeast, do not add it with the dry ingredients. Instead, add it to the water and let it bloom for five minutes. That means letting it sit in the water until it becomes foamy.

The dough will be wetter than usual. Don’t worry, that’s exactly what you’re looking for!
Add half of the olive oil. You can just eyeball this, since the rest of it is going in there, too, anyway.

Using a spatula, knead the olive oil into the dough. You don’t have to incorporate everything. Aim for half; if there’s still a little bit of oil outside, that’s okay.

Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic. Let it rise for three to four hours or until the dough has more than doubled in size.

Once your dough has risen, add the remaining oil into your rimmed baking sheet. This recipe makes fairly thin focaccia. If you’d rather have a thicker bread, you can use a smaller rimmed baking sheet with higher sides. Transfer the risen dough onto the oiled sheet. Then, using your fingers, spread the dough out until the edges, poking the dough to make dimples all over.

At this point, you can start customizing your focaccia with different flavorings and toppings. You can add vegetables, spices, or dried herbs on top. Alternatively, you can keep it classic by just sprinkling salt on top.

Let the dough rest for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450F. Bake the focaccia until it’s golden brown, around 40-45 minutes.

You can enjoy the focaccia as is or make a dip to go along with it; a classic balsamic vinaigrette works best! If you made thinner focaccia as we did, you can also use it for sandwiches.
What if I don’t have a stand mixer?
If you’re not using a stand mixer, combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (with the salt and yeast still on opposite sides). Using a wire whisk, mix them together before adding your water. Continue whisking until everything’s well-combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then let it rest in the freezer overnight or up to 12 hours.

The next day, take it out of the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding with the rest of the steps. It might take longer to proof since it came out of the fridge.

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