I've had this recipe from the May 1994 issue of Canadian Living Magazine for quite some time, and I've made it several times, particularly when I worked at a retreat centre and we needed a quick pizza crust. I didn't do the sponge step back then, but I did it today and it was well worth it!
Herbed Focaccia (adapted by me)
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups bread flour (all purpose will work)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried herbs of your choice (I used thyme & oregano)
1. Make the sponge. To do so, combine 1 cup flour, the sugar, and the water in a bowl until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap & let sit at warm room temperature for at least an hour.2. Once the sponge has done its thing, add the salt (I forgot to do this, and man, could I ever tell the difference!), herbs, olive oil, and enough additional flour to make a nice dough.
3. Proceed as per these instructions.
In the end, I got enough dough to fill a 9x9" pan. I docked the dough with my fancy docker and set it to rise under a towel.Docking the dough allows for it to rise and bake evenly, with fewer big giant air bubbles making the surface all weird.
After baking, I had this:Nice, eh?
The loaf was feather light and had very little weight to it. And it was bland, despite the herbs, because I'd forgotten the salt.
And you'll just have to wait and see what amazing sandwich I made with this focaccia for dinner - but I can tell you it was outstanding!