Focaccia Bread with Roasted Garlic and Olives

Ingredients:

1/4 cup hot water

1 packet dry active yeast

2 tsp. honey

1 1/2 cup cold water

3 Tb. olive oil + extra for the bowl and pan

1 1/2 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt

2 Tb. roasted garlic, smashed

4 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cups pitted kalamata olives

Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. Pour the hot water and honey into the bowl of your electric mixer. Swirl the bowl around until the honey has dissolved and the water is just luke-warm. Add one package of dry active yeast and swirl around. Allow the yeast to foam for 10 minutes or so. Then add the cold water, 3 Tb. oil, salt, and smashed roasted garlic. Using the bread hook attachment, turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour. “Knead” on low for about 10 minutes.
  2. Pull the dough away from the sides and rub the bowl down with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Remove the plastic wrap and turn the mixer back on for 30 seconds.
  3. Thoroughly oil a 9X13 or 11X15 rimmed baking dish. Press to dough to the edges, don’t be afraid to let your fingers puncture the dough—this will created the bumpy, rustic texture of traditional focaccia bread.
  4. Once the dough is spread out, poke deep cavities in the dough and place an olive in each hole. Push the olives down far, otherwise they might pop out when the dough rises. Drizzle the top with more olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Cover the dough with a clean damp towel. Allow the dough to rise again for at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is golden-brown. (If you used a 11X15 dish, it might be more like 30-35 minutes.)
  6. You can leave the focaccia in the baking dish or turn in out for easy cutting.