Olive and Thyme Focaccia

From time to time we like to feature products on the blog that we personally enjoy using.  This is the first of three posts for the holidays featuring King Arthur Flour.  My first introduction to this company was in the form of a baking catalogue that arrived in our mailbox when I was a teenager.  You know when you flip through a toy catalogue as a kid and circle things you really want, and then circle AND put a star by the stuff you really, really want?  That was me with this catalogue.  Grocery stores in Buford, GA certainly did not carry these kind of ingredients in the nineties.  I was in mail order heaven!  And while I live on the west coast now, and grocery stores across the USA carry King Arthur Flour today; I still flip through that catalogue every time it comes and might even circle a few things.

Focaccia is a tasty alternative to plain rolls for your Thanksgiving spread.  It also makes fantastic sandwiches with all those turkey leftovers.  I used King Arthur’s all-purpose flour as well as some of their bread flour in this recipe to give it a nice chewy texture.

All cup measures are not the same, and flour that has been sitting on a shelf can be more compact than freshly ground flours. Weigh out ingredients for best results.

 

Focaccia is what I call a vehicle or carrier bread.  The basic recipe is nothing more than flour, water, salt, yeast and olive oil.  But you can add herbs and spices into the dough, as well as endless topping possibilities, which makes it really great for seasonal baking.

When adding flour, always start on the lowest speed and then gradually increase to desired speed to prevent the flour from flying out of the bowl.
This is a soft, slightly sticky dough, which makes it easier to stretch and shape later.

 

Once the dough has risen, just plop it right out onto your greased pan to begin shaping.  I find it helpful to have my topping ingredients already prepped and ready to go.

Sprinkle top of dough with flour and stretch and shape to fit pan.

 

To create all those nooks and crannies on the top of the dough, work out some holiday stress by repeatedly jabbing the dough with your fingertips.  Oddly therapeutic.  Also good for little hands eager to help.

Dock dough repeatedly with fingertips until surface is dimpled.

 

Add your toppings and then pop into the oven.

Gently press olives into dough, generously brush with olive oil and then sprinkle on cheese.
Bake until golden brown.

 

Feed to your hungry guests and hide a few pieces to make killer leftover sandwiches later on.  Happy baking!

 

Olive and Thyme Focaccia

Prep Time: 22 minutes

Inactive Time: 1 1/2 hours

Bake Time: 40 minutes

 

480 g. (2 cups) warm water

55 g. (1/4 cup) olive oil

12 g. (1 Tbsp.) instant dry yeast

3 g. (2 tsp.) dried thyme

240 g. (2 cups) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

420 g. (3 1/2 cups) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

6 g. (1 1/2 tsp.) kosher salt

213 g. ( 1 1/2 cups) Castelvetrano olives, cut in half

14 g. (1/4 cup) finely shredded Asiago cheese

olive oil for oiling pan and brushing top of focaccia

 

Place the water, olive oil, yeast, thyme and half the flour in the stainless steel mixing bowl of the Ankarsrum with the roller/scraper attachment.  Turn the speed on to the lowest setting and then increase to medium (3 o’clock) until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Add the rest of the flour and the salt and again begin on the lowest speed and then increase speed to medium-high (between 4 and 5 o’clock) until all the flour has been mixed in.  Lock the roller about an inch away from the side of the bowl and set the timer for 8 minutes to knead on medium-high speed.  Once kneaded, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Punch dough down and turn out onto a greased half-sheet pan.  Sprinkle the top with flour and begin stretching the dough until it covers the entire pan.  Dock repeatedly with fingertips to achieve a dimpled surface.  Press down olives into dough.  Brush the top liberally with olive oil and then sprinkle with Asiago.

Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Let cool in the pan for five minutes and then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

 

Yield: 1 focaccia loaf, 16-20 servings

 

 

 

 

Published by

Carmi Adams

Carmi Adams has loved cooking from a very early age; requesting fondue pots and cookbooks for birthdays as a child. She further pursued her passion for food at the Art Institute of Atlanta and obtained a degree in Culinary Arts. Carmi landed a job on the show Good Eats, which aired on the Food Network. For seven years she did everything from food research, recipe development and testing, product testing to feeding a hungry film crew. Now living in the central coast of California, Carmi enjoys the bounty of agriculture, vineyards and farmers markets at her culinary disposal. She has been using the Ankarsrum mixer for over 15 years and feels that it is hands-down the best on the market for home cooks.