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In the words of the omnipotent Oprah, “I LOVE BREAD.” Let’s be real, there isn’t a party that wouldn’t be improved by the addition of fresh focaccia. So I’ve combined my love of bread with my love of summer into one crusty pan of fresh baked focaccia. A dough laced with fresh thyme, basil and mint serves as the bed for a shingled palette of zucchini and summer squash ready to hit the oven. The resulting bread is golden and fragrant with a soft, fluffy center and topped with jammy squash. It tastes like a vacation in Provence!
So how do I recommend you serve this dish?? Just as it is! It’s the perfect appetizing square for a no-fuss bread basket, though I would support slicing it into strips for dipping into marinara. Feel free to mix and match herbs to your liking or customize this dish however you want! Just get baking so you can enjoy as much time in the sun as possible this summer!
- 2 cups water, heated to 115ºf
- 1 tablespoon honey or sugar for vegan version
- 1 (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
- 1/ 2 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon minced basil
- 1 tablespoon minced mint
- 1 tablespoon minced thyme
- 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
- 2 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
- Flaked sea salt, for garnish
- Aleppo pepper, for garnish
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Stir together water and honey, then sprinkle over active dry yeast. Let bloom until foamy, about 10 minutes, then stir in ¼ cup olive oil.
Add flour, salt, basil, mint and thyme to the bowl and mix on medium speed until a smooth dough forms. Using greased hands, transfer to a greased bowl. Cover and let proof in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450°F and place a baking steel or pizza stone on the middle rack. Transfer proofed dough to a greased sheet pan and using your hands, spread to fit the pan, then make dimples in the dough with your fingers. Arrange zucchini and summer squash over the dough, alternating between the two and leaving a 1-inch border around the dough. Cover again and let proof again until puffed, 45-60 minutes.
Drizzle the remaining ¼ cup olive oil over the sliced squash and dough, then garnish with flaked sea salt and aleppo pepper. Place directly onto the baking steel or stone and bake until golden and and an internal temperature of 195°F is reached, 30-35 minutes. Let cool completely, then slice into squares and serve.