Focaccia

The secret of this recipe is to use a stand mixer and allow it to do most of the work.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 cups warm water
1/2 cup dry milk powder
5 cups all-purpose flour, and more, as needed
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons fennel seed
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Additional extra virgin olive oil

METHOD:

In bowl of electric mixer, proof yeast, sugar and water for 5-10 minutes or until mixture foams. Add dry milk powder, half the flour, salt and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Beat for 5 minutes. Add remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, and continue to beat well. Dough will be soft and may be slightly sticky.

Leave dough in bowl. Scrape down sides of bowl and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat top of dough and sides of bowl. Cover the dough with plastic and place in very warm bowl of water or in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours. Punch down dough.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured board and knead into ball. Let rest 5 minutes.

Roll the dough into large rectangle and then transfer and press evenly into an well-oiled rimmed half sheet pan (15 1/2 x 10 x 1). Allow dough to rise, covered loosely with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 35-45 minutes or until it is almost double in bulk. (Time will vary depending on warmth the room.) Dimple the dough using fingertips to make indentations over top of dough and lightly drizzle olive oil over top. Sprinkle evenly with fennel seed, rosemary and coarse salt. Sprinkle lightly with water.

Bake at 400°F in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes, and then rotate the pan. Bake another 5-10 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Spray or sprinkle with water several times during the baking period, if desired, for crisper crust.

Let cool in the pan on a rack.

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