My favorite restaurant meals involve taking something home. And I don’t mean a doggy bag of left-overs.
I’m talking inspiration or an idea you can bring into your own kitchen. Something that surprised you, something that delighted you, and something you can sneak into your repertoire at home. Sometimes it is just a piece of a dish or a specific flavor combination. Other times, you kind of lift the whole idea.
This time around, it’s a lifted anise-scented focaccia. I happen to be a huge fan of anise and have added it to plenty of baked goods at home. And I’m no stranger to homemade focaccia, but the 2 of them together? Whoa! Now that’s a great idea.
Alright. Focaccia. You know it, you love it, but have you made it at home? If not, you should! It is the easiest and quickest yeasted bread in existence. Are you making soup for dinner? Start this right before you start your soup and by dinnertime, you’ll be in business. Warm water, yeast, flour, extra virgin olive oil, good sea salt, a spoonful of anise seeds, and 2 hours are all you need.
Dissolve the yeast in warm water and let it sit until it looks thick, creamy, and slightly bubbly. Add more water, salt, olive oil, and anise seeds. You probably think you don’t like anise. Give it another try; it’s subtle and I promise your bread won’t taste like black licorice. If you still don’t buy it, play it safe and make rosemary focaccia instead.
Dump it onto the counter and quickly knead until smooth and manageable. Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let the dough rise until it doubles in volume.
Turn your poofy dough ball out onto a sheet pan and stretch to fit. Cover and let it rise for another hour.
- 2¼ tsp. Active Dry Yeast
- ½ tsp. Sugar
- 1½ c. Warm Water, divided
- 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp. Anise Seeds
- ¼ c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for the top
- 4 c. All Purpose Flour, plus more for kneading
- ½ tsp. Flaky Sea Salt (such as Maldon)
- Dissolve yeast and sugar in a ½ c. of the warm water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Let stand for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is creamy and starts to bubble.
- Add remaining water, ¼ c. olive oil, kosher salt, and anise seeds, stir to combine. Add flour and mix, using the dough hook attachment, until a rough ball forms, about 1 minute. The dough should be pretty wet. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead until smooth (about 1 minute), incorporating a little more flour, if needed. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and place in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Turn the dough out onto an oiled sheet pan. Stretch the dough to fit the pan, cover, and allow to rise for another hour.
- During the last 30 minutes of rising, preheat your oven to 425°.
- Using your fingertips, make indentations all over the top of the focaccia. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Focaccia is best served warm.