Za’atar Focaccia Bread

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Try this no-knead focaccia bread recipe to learn how to bake bread even if it is your first time. Grab some flour, yeast, salt, water and oil to get started.

Yield: 2 medium sized focaccias

Ingredients

  • 500 grams all-purpose or bread flour (17.5 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, in a small bowl
  • 2 teaspoons ground toasted black sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon Maldon (or other coarse) sea salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast to evenly distribute all the ingredients. Add the water and 1/4 cup olive oil, and then mix everything together until you have a uniform dough. You can use your hands, but you'll lose a bunch of dough because it will stick to your fingers. Using something narrow and sturdy like metal chopsticks or the handle of a wooden paddle works great because they have very little surface area for the dough to stick to.
  2. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place for 18-24 hours to rise.
  3. Once the dough has risen, you can either make one giant focaccia with all the dough, or split it up and bake smaller loaves. I use a pan that’s 7.5" x 9.25", and it's perfect for half the dough. If you end up keeping some of the dough for later, just cover it back up and put it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  4. Put the olive oil in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to brush the bottom and sides of the pan with a generous coating of oil. Drop half the dough into the pan, and turn it over a few times to coat it with oil so it doesn't stick to your fingers. Press the dough towards the edges of the pan in an even layer with your fingertips. This is how the focaccia gets its dimpling, so while you want the dough to be roughly the same thickness, the little divots your fingers leave are a good thing.
  5. Use the pastry brush to spread a layer of olive oil onto the top of the dough. Cover and let it sit in a warm place until it doubles in height.
  6. When your dough is almost done rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 C). Add the sesame, sumac, oregano, thyme and salt to a small bowl and stir to combine.
  7. When the dough is finished rising, sprinkle the za’atar onto the top of the bread. Put the pan in the oven and let it bake until the top is golden brown (about 20-30 minutes).
  8. Remove the pan from the oven, and then carefully transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool. The focaccia is best eaten the same day, but you can put it in a sealed container once it’s cooled all the way if you want to keep it for longer.
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