Doughy, oily, herby, and just so goddamn good—this focaccia is filled with nooks and crannies of olive oil, pesto, and rosemary. Adorned with thin slices of yellow squash, THIS is “fuck yeah” bread.
2 cups of warm water, divided (around 110° F)
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp instant or active dry yeast
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tbs salt (plus more before baking)
6 cups of flour (plus more for dusting)
2 tbs pesto
4 sprigs of rosemary
1 yellow squash, thinly sliced (1/8 inch thick)
parmigiano reggiano and lemon zest, for garnish
Make dough. Combine 1 cup of water, sugar, and yeast, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Whisk together until combined. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Put all the flour in a large bowl and set aside. Add the remaining cup of water, 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt, and 1 cup of flour to the bowl. Mix on a low speed until fully incorporated. Add 3 cups of flour. Mix on low. If the dough is still sticking to the side of the bowl, add remaining flour (1 cup at a time) and mix on a low speed until the dough has peeled off the walls of the bowl and has come together in a ball around the hook of the stand mixer.
**Depending on where you live, different humidity levels could affect the amount of flour needed. We live in Florida, so we needed to use all 6 cups.
Dump dough out of mixer onto a floured surface. Flour your hands liberally. Knead the dough by rolling the dough from the top of the palm until the heal of your hand, fold in half, and repeat for 4 minutes. When you press your finger into the dough, the dough should spring back. If not, continue to knead for another minute or so. The dough should be smooth and soft.
Place dough in a large bowl covered in olive oil. Place plastic wrap tightly over the top of the bowl and put in a cool area in the kitchen (not near the oven or stove). Let rest and rise for 2 hours.
Take a large sheet tray, at least 1 inch deep, and cover in 1 tbs of olive oil. Dump dough out of the bowl onto the sheet tray. Spread the dough out trying not to rip it. If the dough resists, cover with a clean kitchen towel for 5 minutes to let the glutens rest. Spread the dough to fit the entire base of the sheet tray. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in fridge to rest and rise for at least 2 hours, overnight is best.
Remove dough from fridge to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 450° F. Allow the oven to remain on 450° for 10 minutes before adding the focaccia to the oven.
Get together your mise en place (prep in place). Mix 2 tbs olive oil with pesto. Set aside. Slice yellow squash. Remove leaves from sprigs of rosemary.
Dimple your dough by using all 10 fingers to press in the dough to create craters. Continue to dimple all over until the entire dough looks like craters on the moon. Spread olive oil and pesto mixture over the top of the dough. Place yellow squash evenly over the top. Add a little olive oil to the top of each yellow squash slice. Season with salt, and add the fresh rosemary leaves.
Place dough on the middle rack of your oven. Cook for 20 minutes until slightly golden brown. Move tray to the top rack of your oven and cook for another 3 minutes until totally golden brown and delicious.
Garnish with grated parmigiano reggiano and lemon zest!
Dip in good quality olive oil, room temperature butter, and/or hummus.
GOOD LUCK NOT EATING THE WHOLE TRAY!
**You could substitute the yellow squash, pesto, and rosemary for any combination of flavors you like. Try sun dried tomatoes, olives, thinly sliced tomatoes, roasted red peppers, cheese, or pretty much anything to switch up this delicious bread dish!