This has to be one of the easiest breads to make. To make this easy on myself I use my Kitchen Aid mixer and let the bread rise in the fridge overnight. Any dried or fresh herbs go well in this bread.
Stays good for 2-3 days
2 & 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast
1/2 cup of warm water
1 tbsp of honey
1 1/2 cups of warm 2% milk
4 tbsp of olive oil, plus extra
5 cups of unbleached flour
2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of dried basil (or 1 tsp freshly chopped)
1/4 tsp of dried thyme (or 1 tsp freshly chopped)
1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning/herbs
coarse salt (Kosher or Fleur de sel)
Step 1: In a medium sized bowl, add the warm water, yeast and honey. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy and it has a creamy texture to it. Then add the warm milk and 4 tbsp of olive oil. Mix together.
Step 2: In your Kitchen Aid mixer, or a large bowl, add the flour, salt and herbs of your choice. Mix together. With the motor running on low, slowly add the yeast mixture. Keep mixing for a minute or so, then slowly increase the speed by a bit. Let mix/knead for roughly 8 minutes. If the dough rises up above the bowl, stop the motor and push the dough back down.
* If you don't have a mixer, mix the flour and yeast mixture withe a wooden spoon. When mixed, knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Add a little bit of olive oil to a large bowl. Add the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge overnight. OR if you want to bake it right away, let the dough rise at room temperature for an hour and a half.
Step 4: Take your dough out of the fridge and let sit at room temp for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a large baking sheet with Parchment paper. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the paper. Place your dough on the paper and stretch it out over the sheet. Doesn't have to be perfect and close to a uniform thickness as possible. Optional: Focaccia usually has characteristics of dimples, to do this push your fingers into the dough all over. This step isn't necessary but do if you wish!
Step 5: Drizzle some olive oil over the dough. Sprinkle some salt over the top of the dough and bake for 20 minutes or until golden in colour and when tapped - should be a hollow sound.
Step 6: Let rest on a wire rack or large cutting board.