This is only half of the bread. We devoured the other half both at dinner and then again at 2 am.
The title, in my mind, deserves not one, not two, but three exclamation points. I often get very excited when I successfully make anything with dough, as I do tend to struggle with breads and pie crusts. I get cold sweats and the shakes at the thought of "kneading until smooth".
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus additional 1/2 cup for kneading
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Special equipment: a standing electric mixer with paddle attachment and dough hook
Stir together 1 2/3 cups lukewarm (105 to 115°F) water and yeast in bowl of mixer and let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add 4 cups flour, 1/4 cup oil, and 2 1/2 teaspoons table salt and beat with paddle attachment at medium speed until a dough forms. Replace paddle with dough hook and knead dough at high speed until soft, smooth, and sticky, 3 to 4 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time adding up to 1/2 cup. Knead dough until smooth (no more than three or four minutes - it will still be slightly sticky), then transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn dough to coat with oil. Let rise, covered with plastic wrap, at warm room temperature, until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Press dough evenly into a generously oiled 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan. Let dough rise, covered completely with a kitchen towel, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 500°F.
Stir together rosemary and remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Make shallow indentations all over dough with your fingertips, then brush with rosemary oil, letting it pool in indentations. Sprinkle sea salt evenly over focaccia and bake in middle of oven for 7 minutes at 500 degrees F. Lower heat to 475 and bake for an additional 14 minutes, until the top of bread is golden brown.Immediately invert a rack over pan and flip focaccia onto rack, then turn right side up. Serve warm or at room temperature.