3 c high gluten bread flour, divided
1 pkg instant yeast
1¼ c water, 80 degrees
1 T sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp dough conditioner*
2 T olive oil, extra virgin
⅓ c olive oil, extra virgin
1 T basil
½ tsp oregano, dried
⅛ tsp garlic powder with parsley
2-3 T parmesan cheese
Place about 1 cup of flour in the bowl of your stand mixer, equipped with the dough hook. Add the yeast and water. Mix with the dough hook for 30 seconds, or until yeast is dissolved and the ingredients begin to combine.
Add the rest of the 3 cups of flour, sugar, salt, dough conditioner, and 2 T olive oil and continue mixing at medium speed for at least 4 minutes (to develop the gluten). The dough should clear the sides of the the bowl but stick to the bottom. Dough for ciabatta and focaccia should be slightly wetter than most breads. If you feel the dough is too moist, add 1-2 T additional flour. Once the dough is mixed, move the dough to a large greased bowl, turn once to coat both sides, and cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. On the day that you are going to bake your bread, measure ⅓ cup olive oil and stir in the basil, oregano and garlic powder. Set aside to steep.
Remove the dough from refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 3 hours. The dough should rise to nearly double in this time. Once it has risen, coat your hands with flour and lightly dust a work area on the countertop. Holding the dough in your hands, allow the weight of the dough to stretch out the dough until it is about 1 inch thick.
Lay it on the the dusted countertop and fold the ends over itself like you would a letter. Lightly dust the top with flour and cover with plastic wrap. Let double again in size, about 1 hour.
Prepare a 15 inch pizza pan or baking sheet by greasing the surface and dusting with cornmeal. Once the dough has doubled, move it to the prepared pan. Using your fingertips, dimple and spread the dough, then spoon the oil and herb mixture over the dough. Then sprinkle with kosher salt, cover again loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 435º. Place a large, flat metal pan on the bottom rack of the oven to be used to hold water and with which to create steam and condition the crust. Do not use a glass or ceramic pan.
Immediately before placing the bread in the oven, mist the sides of the oven using a spray mister and then pour 2 cups of very hot water into the steam pan.
Italian Focaccia Bread
Place bread in the oven and quickly close the door to retain steam, at the end of 15 minutes lower oven to 350º and bake for another 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Immediately remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese while the bread is still hot. Unused focaccia should be stored in a paper bag at room temperature.