Why This Recipe Works
The key to our focaccia recipe was using a “preferment” that gave us the benefits of fermentation with minimal effort. This mixture of flour, water, and yeast rests until its yeast flavor gets stronger and more complex than it would get by simply adding yeast to flour and water and kneading. Using an almost no-knead mixing method gently combined the ingredients of our focaccia recipe without developing too much gluten. To skip the long rest this mixing method calls for, we allowed the freshly mixed dough to rest briefly before we added salt, then gently turned the dough over itself at regular intervals as it proofed. Finally, moving our free-form breads into round cake pans and drizzling the bottom of the pans in oil gave us a focaccia recipe that turned out bread with a crackly crisp bottom and airy interior.