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Basic focaccia

© istockphoto.com/Imad Birkholz © istockphoto.com/Imad Birkholz
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Basic Focaccia

This is the starting point for many focaccias, and owes its crisp-yet-tender texture to an olive oil-water topping used by Ligurian bakers. Once you have mastered the recipe, use it for the focaccias on these pages, or invent your own.

For the dough:

2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/4 pounds unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sea salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra

For the topping:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Make the dough: Combine the yeast, flour, and salt in a food processor. With the motor running, add 11/2 cups of warm (110°) water. Add the olive oil with the motor running, and then add enough warm water to make a soft dough that does not stick to the sides of the bowl. Process 45 seconds. Place in an oiled bowl; wrap; let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. (Or let it rise in the refrigerator for 24 hours; return to room temperature before proceeding.)

Cut the dough in two. Place in 2 oiled 11" x 17" baking sheets. Push with your fingers until it extends to the sides of the sheets (you may need to wait 5 minutes for the dough to stretch easily).

Make the topping: Mix the olive oil with 1/4 cup of room-temperature water and the salt. Pour over the focaccias. Dimple with your fingers; let rise at room temperature for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475°.

Recipe courtesy of Italian Cooking & Living magazine.  Click here to view more delicious Italian recipes!

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