It's technically simple and requires no kneading -- but does require some wait time! So prepare this dough in advance, and bake when you're ready to luxuriate in what Simon Toohey called, "probably the best focaccia I've ever had."
You will need
- 550g flour (50/50 mix bread flour and tipo 00 flour)
- 1 slightly heaped teaspoon of instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt (plus extra, to serve)
- 500ml warm water
- Up to 1/2 cup olive oil (to make garlic confit oil, or use as is)
- 150g skinned potato, cooked & mashed (Optional)
- 2 bulbs of garlic, for making garlic confit, you can use premade garlic confit or omit it from the recipe
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olive brine
- Fresh rosemary
- Cherry tomatoes (tiny ones or a variety of colours and sizes makes it extra pretty)
- Kalamata olives
- Pickled peppers
- Onion (sliced into thin rounds)
2 hours to prep
30 mins to cook
12 hours to chill
To start the focaccia dough, in a large mixing bowl combine the flour/s, yeast and table salt. Pour in the warm water and stir until incorporated. If you’re using the mashed potato, stir it in now.
You should have a sticky, slightly runny dough that can still be maneuvered by hand. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the dough, then use your hand to scoop under the dough and flip over. Flip a few times to coat fully in oil, then cover the bowl securely and store it in the fridge for at least 12 hours and up to 72 hours (even better!) before moving to the next step.
If making garlic confit, preheat the oven to 150℃. Peel the garlic and add the cloves to a small oven-safe baking dish. Pour over the remaining olive oil to COMPLETELY cover the cloves (none peeking above the oil!) and bake for 1.5–2 hours or until the garlic is soft. Check it from the one-hour point so that they don’t burn. Important! Garlic confit, the oil, and any focaccia using either of them MUST be stored in the fridge (or else they can become a health hazard).
On the day you want to bake the focaccia: Pour 2 tablespoons of the garlic flavoured oil into your chosen baking dish and swirl it around to coat the base and sides well. Remove the dough from the fridge. Deflate it by grabbing one of the edges and folding it into the middle of the dough, rotating and repeating until it’s much more manageable. Scoop out the dough and transfer to the centre of the baking dish. Use your fingertips to prod and push the dough, pulling it into the edges until it evenly fills the dish.
Cover to avoid skin forming, then move to a warm spot for at LEAST two hours to rise. Yeast wants to be somewhere between 25–40℃ to cooperate at this stage, so you may need less/more time depending on what end of that spectrum your environment is. When risen, the dough should have bubbles throughout, have filled the entire baking dish and any coldness from the fridge should have been warmed away. Preheat the oven to 220℃.
To get it ready for baking: use your fingertips to prod all over the top of the risen focaccia through to the base of the baking dish, approximately 40cm x 28cm rectangle baking tray, to create the signature dimples. Scatter the garlic confit and chosen toppings all over the focaccia, then go in with a second dimpling to push them in. Doing this makes even more room for the second scattering of toppings if you’re keen for an overloaded version. Whisk together the remaining garlic oil with the olive brine (use a 1:2 ratio oil to brine) then pour on top, followed by the coarse salt.
Bake the focaccia for 25–30 minutes, rotating once if your oven tends to favour heating one side over another. Once baked, brush some more garlic oil over the top with yet another coarse salt sprinkle to make every bite perfect from the get-go. Cool for 20 minutes before slicing it to serve fresh. Alternatively, store it in the fridge for up to 3–4 days to slice and reheat as desired.