Photo: Quentin Bacon
This bread, with its pockets of bubbling olive oil, is perfect for holding thinly sliced mortadella or some fresh picked arugula. Smother it with fresh pepper, sea salt, and more good olive oil. This bread is perfect for any time of the year, whenever you need a pick-me-up or some divine moments in your mouth.
1 1/3 cups warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp granulated sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup chopped summer savoury
sea salt, preferably Newfoundland sea salt
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now rest your dough. You want your dough to grow double in size again; leave it for another hour.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven 450°F (220°C).
Sprinkle the top of the focaccia with chopped summer savory and sea salt and drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before slicing
Recipe by Matty Matheson and excerpted from Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery, published by Abrams (Sept. 29 2020). Photo by Quentin Bacon.