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Serves 8 to 10

• Flat beater / Dough hook
• 13- by 9-inch (3 L) baking pan, generously greased
• Baking stone (optional)


• 1 package (¼ oz/7 g) active dry yeast
• 1-1/3 cup (325 mL) warm water
• 1 teaspoon (5 mL) granulated sugar   
• 3¼ cups (800 mL) unbleached all-purpose flour (approx.)
• 3 tablespoons (45 mL) extra-virgin olive oil    
• 1½ teaspoons (7 mL) salt

• 2 teaspoons (25 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 2 large onions, sliced into 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) slices
• Coarse sea salt


Prepare the dough: In the mixer bowl, stir together yeast, water and sugar. Let stand until yeast begins to foam, about 5 minutes. Add flour, oil and salt. Attach the flat beater and mixer bowl to the mixer. Set to Speed 2 and mix until a dough forms.

Remove the flat beater and attach the dough hook. Set to Speed 4 and knead until dough is soft, smooth and slightly sticky, about 3 to 4 minutes. If dough is sticking to the bottom of the bowl, add flour 1 tablespoon (15 mL) at a time. Using your hands, form dough into a ball. Place back in the mixer bowl, brush with olive oil and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1½ hours, or until doubled in bulk.

Press dough evenly into prepared baking pan and cover with a towel. Let rise until again doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping: In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Meanwhile, place oven rack in the middle position, add a baking stone if you have one and preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

Using your fingertips, make shallow indentations all over dough. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 mL) oil, letting it pool in the indentations. Arrange caramelized onions on top and gently press into dough. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Place pan on baking stone, if using, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until focaccia is golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200°F (100°C). Using a large spatula, slip focaccia off pan and onto a rack to cool. Cut into large squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

    Make ahead
    Prepare dough through Step 2 in the evening and let rise overnight in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping. Wrap baked bread in plastic wrap and then foil and store in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

    The water should be around 100°F (38°C). Yeast can be killed at temperatures above 115°F (45°C). Water at 100°F (38°C) will feel just warm.


by Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder
(Robert Rose, October 2008, $27.95/softcover)



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