For variations on this focaccia, try sprinkling the dough with finely chopped fresh herbs, a mix of sun-dried tomatoes and black olives, or cheeses such as crumbled Gorgonzola or grated Asiago (in which case, omit the salt).
1 Tbs. active dry yeast
1 Tbs. sugar
1 1⁄2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) warm water (105° to 115°F/40° to 46°C)
1⁄2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 1⁄2 tsp. table salt
4 to 4 1⁄4 cups (20 to 21 1⁄2 oz./625 to 670 g) bread flour, plus more as needed
1⁄2 cup (2 oz./60 g) chopped yellow onion
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, dissolve the yeast and a pinch of the sugar in 1⁄2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the water. Let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining water and sugar, 1⁄4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) of the olive oil, the table salt and 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) of the flour and beat on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the onion. Switch to the dough hook.
On low speed, beat in the remaining flour, 1⁄2 cup (2 1⁄2 oz./75 g) at a time, until a soft dough forms and starts to pull away from the bowl. Knead on low, adding flour 1 Tbs. at a time if the dough sticks, until it is moist, soft and slightly sticky, about 6 minutes. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes.
Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the paper lightly with oil. Turn the dough out onto the prepared sheet. With oiled fingers, press and flatten the dough into an oval about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
With your fingertips, make deep indentations, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, all over the surface of the dough. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at
room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place a baking stone on the lowest oven rack and preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Sprinkle the bread lightly with coarse salt. Place the pan on the stone and bake until the bottom of the bread is lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8.
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma A Taste of the World