To prepare dough: Stir yeast into 2 tablespoons warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining water and oil. Add about 1 cup ...

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Makes one 10½-by-15½-inch focaccia


Basic focaccia dough:

– 1¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
– 2 tablespoons warm water
– 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, room temperature
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– About 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
– 1½ teaspoons salt
– 1 tablespoon cornmeal




Topping:



– 8 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
– ¼ cup whipping cream
– ½ teaspoon dried thyme
– Olive oil for brushing the top



1. To prepare dough: Stir yeast into 2 tablespoons warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining water and oil. Add about 1 cup flour and the salt, stirring well until smooth. Add remaining flour, stirring until dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.



2. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours. (Or place the dough in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator and figure about 2 to 3 hours for the dough to finish rising.)



3. Sprinkle cornmeal over the bottom of a 10½-by-15½-inch metal pan. Punch dough down and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for a minute then put into pan. Shape dough to fit pan — the sides don’t need to be completely even. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.



4. To prepare topping: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mash the cheese in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Beat in cream and thyme. Dimple the dough vigorously with your fingertips, leaving indentations about ½-inch deep. Spread Gorgonzola over top and brush any exposed areas of dough with olive oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise 30 minutes.



5. Bake on center oven rack 25 minutes. Spray oven walls with water from a spritzer bottle, avoiding heating element, 3 times during the first 10 minutes of baking. When baked, let sit no more than 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack. Serve focaccia warm or at room temperature the same day it’s baked.



From “The Italian Baker” by Carol Field