Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Cook this: Focaccia from Matty Matheson’s Home Style Cookery


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“Focaccia is just such a cornerstone bread,” he adds. “You could take every bread in the bread section in a lot of different directions in a lot of different kinds of meals. And focaccia is one of the big ones.”

In his second book, Home Style Cookery, Matty Matheson’s creative treatment of vegetables steals the spotlight. Photo by Abrams


Prep time: 1 hour, plus 2 hours inactive time

1 1/3 cups (315 mL) warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp granulated sugar
5 cups (750 g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (240 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup (100 g) chopped summer savory
Sea salt (preferably Newfoundland sea salt)

Step 1

In a small bowl combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Mix well and let sit for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes foamy and fragrant; this indicates the yeast is active and alive.

Step 2

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, kosher salt, 1/2 cup (120 mL) of the olive oil, and the yeast mixture and mix on low speed. Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed, until the dough becomes smooth and soft. Add a little more flour if the dough is still tacky.

Step 3

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead two or three times more, again adding a touch more flour if needed. Coat the inside of a large bowl with oil. Put the dough in the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. In a warm spot in your kitchen, let the dough double in size, at least 1 hour.

Step 4

Coat the inside of an 18 by 13-inch (46 by 33 cm) half sheet pan with the remaining 1/2 cup (120 mL) olive oil — this oil creates the crunchy crust of the focaccia. Put the dough onto the sheet and press the dough out to all edges of the baking sheet. As you are doing this, spread your fingers out to make little finger holes in the dough — this gives the focaccia its bubbly look. If you don’t do this step, your focaccia will be flat and smooth.

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