2 cups lukewarm water
4 1/2 to 5 cups unbleached flour
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4
Cornmeal, for dusting
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
5 tablespoons (for dough) plus 1/3
2 cloves garlic, minced
cup (for herb drizzle) olive oil
Pour the water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes or until foamy. Add the salt, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon for 100 strokes. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Add the remaining flour about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough is too stiff to be stirred, turn it out onto a well floured surface. Using floured hands, knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes, using more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into the bottom of a large mixing bowl, roll the dough around in the oil to coat it, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set the dough aside in a warm spot until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
When the dough has doubled, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead for 1 minute, then cut the dough in half and knead each half into a flat rectangle. Set aside on a floured surface to rest for 10 minutes. While the dough is resting, lightly oil a large baking sheet, then sprinkle on a light coating of cornmeal.
Transfer the dough to a baking sheet. Press and stretch it into oblong shapes, about 1/2"-3/4" thick, leaving 2 inches between the loaves. Brush the tops of the loaves with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside to rise for 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 400º.
In a measuring cup, combine the 1/3 cup of olive oil with the rosemary, thyme, and garlic and stir. Dimple the loaves with your fingertips, then spoon the oil-and-herb mixture over them, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle the loaves lightly with course salt.
Bake the focaccia on the center oven rack until the tops are golden brown, 22-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Cut in pieces and serve.