I have a deep affection for fleeting things—summer, my birthday, fresh apricots in July—things that make me happy but vanish seemingly as quickly as they arrive. Focaccia is one of these things. Either it’s gone in a flash because it’s so good or because simply, like most homemade breads, it’s best when fresh and should be eaten just out of the oven. Made very similarly to a pizza crust, with dimpling on the surface and folds on the first rise, this easy bread turns spongier and moister than a crust, courtesy of the additional olive oil and the lift of a second rise. Piney rosemary and lots of flakey sea salt give this snack a potent flavor, one that you can push even further if you like by inserting thin slivers of garlic into the crust before baking. Plan to make this bread as close as possible to when you want to eat it, and then plan to snag some for yourself before you put it on the table. Otherwise you might miss out.

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Ingredients

  • 390 grams bread flour (about cups)
  • ¼ ounce active dry yeast (about teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ¼ cup plus 7 to 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Leaves from 2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Flake sea salt

Method

Put the flour, yeast, and salt in a food processor and turn the machine on. Add ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the oil through the feed tube first, then add the water in a slow, steady stream. Continue to process for about 3 minutes (the dough should form a ball and ride around in the processor). When the dough is done, it should be shiny, a bit yellow in color (from the oil), soft, and elastic.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap about 12 inches long on a clean work surface. Use your hands to press the dough on the plastic wrap into an 8 x 6-inch rectangle. Press your fingers into the top of the dough all over it, making indentations. With the long side facing you, fold the left third of the dough over and repeat the finger indentions on this folded section. Fold the right third over (as you would a letter) and use your fingers to make the indentations again. Cover the folded dough with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush a rimmed baking sheet generously with 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the dough has risen for 30 minutes and is slightly puffed, transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Gently stretch the dough into a rough 8 x 12-inch rectangle. Once the dough is laid out, brush it generously with 2 tablespoons of the oil, spread the rosemary leaves over the top, and use your fingertips to press holes randomly into the surface of the dough (if the rosemary gets pressed into the dough, that’s great too). Be sure to press hard enough to get deep indentations all over the surface.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise until nicely puffed, another 30 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until nicely golden brown all over, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle immediately with the remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with flake sea salt.

Piney rosemary and lots of flakey sea salt give this snack a potent flavor, one that you can push even further if you like by inserting thin slivers of garlic into the crust before baking.

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