John Arena’s Focaccia Recipe


2,000g bread flour or high-protein pizza flour
1,400g cold water
200g extra-virgin olive oil
40g salt
20g instant dry yeast

Place water in the mixing bowl. Add IDY and whisk until dissolved. Add olive oil. Add flour and sprinkle salt on top of flour. Mix on speed 1 for 4 minutes. Increase to speed 2 and mix for 7-9 minutes until dough is fully developed, rising up the dough hook and no longer sticking to the bowl. Reduce to speed 1 and mix for 3 more minutes.

Place dough in fermentation bucket, and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Fold dough on top of itself two times. Cover container and place dough in cooler for a minimum of 18 hours (up to 48 hours). Remove dough from cooler and divide and round into 39-ounce dough balls. Place dough in trays (2 per tray), brush with olive oil and return dough to cooler for 24 hours.

Remove risen dough from the cooler and keep covered at room temperature for 2 hours until dough reaches a temperature of at least 55 degrees. Brush a 12×18 sheet pan (preferably black steel) generously with olive oil. On a floured table, roll out dough gently until it is slightly larger than the pan. Transfer dough to the pan.

Using your fingertips, dimple the dough to create pockets that will hold additional olive oil. Top the focaccia with your choice of herbs and vegetables—red onions, thinly sliced potatoes and rosemary make for a popular combination. I like to use multicolored cherry tomatoes sliced in half and lightly salted. I place the tomatoes on the focaccia and then generously top with olive oil, flaked salt and cracked black pepper.

Cover the focaccia loosely with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until it comes to above the top of the pan. A full rise may take up to 2 hours. For a quicker rise, place pan on top of the pizza oven. Remove the plastic wrap and bake focaccia at 525-550 degrees until golden-brown. Remove focaccia and cool on wire rack. 

This recipe makes 3 half-sheet pan-sized breads. Focaccia can be wrapped in plastic and stored in cooler for 4 days or frozen for 30 days. To serve, cut in pieces, warm the focaccia and finish with olive oil and freshly grated Romano cheese.

Additional Information

Recipe Source: Chef Submissions
Submitted By: John Arena of Metro Pizza in Las Vegas