Easy Mondays: Green Olive Focaccia

Happy Monday! Just a quick little recipe for all you bread lovers out there to take a bit of the sting away from the fact it is Monday.

C’mon. Who wouldn’t want a fast dough with savory additions to take you through the whole week?

This one is a simple olive dough, with several rests. It’s a dough that I find is best put together with the KitchenAid with dough hook, but it is also able to be made without (albeit with a bit more elbow grease and patience!)

Green Olive and Garlic Foccacia

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup warm water (about 105-110°F)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or honey
  • 1 (0.25 ounce) package active-dry yeast (or 2.25 tsp)
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling (like, a LOT more)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse Kosher Salt, plus extra for baking/finishing
  • 1/2-1 cup pitted, marinated green olives
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (if your olive marinade does not have them in it!)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add warmed water and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer (with dough hook attachment), sprinkle yeast on top, give a quick stir and let sit for 5-10 to proof (aka WAAAAKE UP!)
  2. Measure out your dry ingredients and oil while yeast proofs and have at the ready
  3. Once yeast is foamy, set mixer to LOW and gradually add the dry ingredients and oil, alternating between dry and oil, so they are incorporated well. Once all ingredients are added, turn your mixer up 1 or 2 settings (to medium low) and knead for about 5 minutes. You should have a nice, elastic-y ball that is not too moist on your hook by the end. If it is too sticky, aka sticking to the sides of your mixer bowl and not coming together as a ball, add in 1 tbsp of flour at a time until it balls up. (Note: If you are doing this by hand, simply add in 1/3 of dry/oil at a time and mix with a large spatula in a large bowl. Once it comes together into a shaggy dough, you will turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead to fully combine and finish the dough.)
  4. Oil a large bowl generously, shape your ball then place the dough into the bowl for the first rise. Cover dough ball with a coating of oil then cover the bowl with plastic wrap (leave a little gap for the gas to escape) and a towel. Set in a warm location and let rise for 60 minutes. You want this dough to roughly double in size so depending on the temp of the room you are using, you may need it to go longer!
  5. Grab and prep your baking sheet. I like to use a 9″ x 13″ baking pan as this amount of dough makes a nice, thick focaccia of that size with excellent crispy edges thanks to the edges of the pan. Oil pan generously with olive oil (there’s a lot of oil in this recipe ‘cuz…. FOCACCIA.)
  6. As your dough finishes its first rise, chop and prep your olive mixture. Take marinated olives out of brine/oil and slice or chop to your preference. If there is not a ton of garlic and you are a garlic lover like me, add in approx 1 tbsp of garlic to the prepped olives. I also like to add a bit of lemon zest to the topping to brighten it up a bit. Set mixture aside until ready to use. (OR just use Whole Food’s AMAZING Lemon Garlic Green Olives... ugh, addicting.)
  7. Once your dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and stretch out into roughly a 9×13″ rectangle. Carefully lift and place dough into prepped baking pan, pressing it out into the corners. This might get a little messy due to the oil, so pre-stretching it to an approximate size of the pan helps. You want to keep as much of the oil in the baking pan as possible (giving a nice crust and oil absorption into the bottom of the dough.)
  8. Cover the baking pan with a layer of wrap and a towel (again) for the second rise. Allow dough to rise for about 20-30 minutes (after stretching it, it will have deflated a bit… )
  9. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees during the second rise.
  10. Once it has puffed up again, take your topping and sprinkle across the top of the dough, pressing the olive pieces into the dough slightly. Get a good, even disbursement of that tasty olive topping… so every piece will have great flavor.
  11. Once topping is on, you are going to take your fingers and POKE down into the dough. DEEP. Like to the bottom of the pan. Do not break through the dough at the bottom of the pan, but you want very deep dimples across the entire dough.
  12. Finally, take a few tbsp of olive oil and drizzle generously across the top of the dough (it will pool into the dimples which is what you want!) and sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt for the bake.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes or until the bread is golden across the top.
  14. Remove from oven. If serving immediately, drizzle with more olive oil and finishing salt, cut and serve. If storing, wait to add final oil until before warming and serving.

Guys: I am a huge fan of this Alderwood Smoked Coarse Sea Salt as a finisher, and it goes particularly well with this bread… or even just a simple rosemary foccacia…trust me when I say, it is worth investing in a few different salts! This one in particular adds just the right amount of smoke:

NOTE on salts: Just a quick reminder that if you are using FINE sea salts, you will want to reduce the amounts just so you are not over salting. A tsp of FINE is ALWAYS saltier than a tsp of coarse (by brand it can vary… but it is more about weight and shape… WHO KNEW!?!) I use Morton’s coarse kosher when cooking 99% of things. When baking, fine is often called for specifically. But if you’ve ever wondered why sometimes your dish is not as salty as expected or tooooo salty, it is often due to the brand or type you chose to use differing from that of the recipe writer (which may or may not always be notated!) Here is a little article from Chowhound that I found super interesting when understanding why not all salts are equal.

This is an easy and tasty everyday bread. I prefer this to a ‘roll with dinner’ and thanks to the amount of olive oil, it seems to keep longer than say, a boule. (I store in a gallon zip lock on counter as it rarely lasts more than a week…)

This foccacia is great as a side, with a dipping oil/sauce, sliced in half for a sandwich or as a yummy base for some eggs benny.

Enjoy!

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