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The Perfect Bread for Your Spread: Focaccia Squares



“Focaccia is perfect for gatherings because it’s made in tray batches and makes the house smell insanely good. It’s the simplest bread to make at home, and is endlessly versatile,” says Strausman. “Eat it plain, serve it with dishes that have a lot of sauce that needs mopping up, or split it and use it for sandwiches.”


Sliced focaccia is the ideal spread for a small gathering because it is finger-friendly, sharing, light, and salty. Especially when prepared by Mark Strausman, a renowned New York City chef—or at least when utilising his recipe.


Equipment


KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook

Large bowl

Plastic wrap

2 baking sheets with 1-inch sides


Ingredients


680 grams lukewarm water, 75°F to 78°F

1-1/2 teaspoons Fleischmann’s active dry yeast

1000 grams King Arthur Unbleached Bread flour

20 grams kosher salt

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt for garnish

Small sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon dried oregano

Black pepper

2 large white onions, thinly sliced into rings on a mandolin or slicer


Method


  1. Place the water and yeast in the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook and mix together on the lowest speed. Add the flour and kosher salt and mix on the lowest speed for 2 minutes, until everything is mixed together and looks like a thick paste. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 6 to 8 minutes, until the dough looks smooth and is starting to cling to the dough hook. Remove the dough from the machine, place in a large bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes, or until it doubles in size.

  2. Coat two baking sheets with some olive oil. Cut the dough in half and place each piece on an oil-coated baking sheet. Spread olive oil over the tops and let sit for 10 minutes. Then use your fingers to gently spread each piece of dough until it covers the entire sheet pan. Let sit for 30 minutes.

  3. After 30 minutes, the dough will probably have shrunk from the sides, but even if it hasn’t, repeat the process of gently pushing and spreading the dough, making sure it covers the whole baking sheet. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and let sit for 30 minutes longer. While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 425°F.

  4. Sprinkle the top of one sheet with olive oil and sea salt, and dot with the rosemary sprigs. For the onion focaccia, spread the onion slices over the top, sprinkle with oregano, black pepper, and sea salt, and drizzle with a little more oil. Let rest 10 minutes longer, then place in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Rotate midway through the bake to ensure even baking. Ideally, the focaccia should cool for at least 40 minutes before serving.

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