- 850g bread flour
- 3 cups warm water (~110°F)
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 pinch sugar
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- Lots of extra virgin olive oil (~1-2 cups)
- ~½ cup basil garlic infused extra virgin olive oil
- ~3 tbsp Maldon sea salt flakes
- Place ½ cup of the warm water in a small bowl with the packet of yeast and the pinch of sugar. Whisk briefly to combine and dissolve the sugar, then let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes until fairly foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the bread flour and the remaining 2 ½ cups of warm water. Using the dough hook attachment of your mixer, mix the dough on low speed for 2-4 minutes, until it starts to form a fairly evenly-shaggy dough (no dry flour remains).
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, then add the yeast mixture to the dough and continue mixing on low speed until the water is completely absorbed and the mixture is evenly mixed, ~2 minutes.
- With the mixer still running, add the 2 tbsp of kosher salt to the dough slowly to make sure no huge clump of salt ends up in one spot. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and knead for 5 more minutes, scraping down the sides once or twice in the process.
- Generously coat a large bowl with olive oil, then place your dough into the bowl (the dough will be very wet and sticky, so use your silicone spatula to help scrape it cleanly out of the mixing bowl). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean towel, and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Using your silicone spatula, fold the edges of the dough onto itself by scraping the edges off the sides and folding them across the dough. Repeat this process 3-4 times around the dough until any large air bubbles pop and the dough feels a bit more taut.
- Completely coat the bottom of a 13"x18" baking sheet with a layer of olive oil (use your fingers to spread it around as you add oil, and stop once no gaps remain). Place the dough onto the baking sheet and fold the mixture onto itself a few times to create a fully oiled dough that's slightly more taut and cohesive (it will still be very wet, you're not aiming for a firm ball of dough or anything). Flip the dough over in the pan so the side that you were folding onto is now on the bottom and you have a smooth surface on top.
- Lift the edges of the dough and pour a bit more olive oil into the pan to account for the oil that the dough absorbed and recreate the full layer of oil under the dough. Using your fingers, spread the dough out in the pan as close to the edges as you can. The dough will spring back and not fully reach the edges, but get it as far as you can.
- Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Continue pressing the dough out to the edges of the pan now that it has relaxed more. It may not fully fill each corner, but it should comfortably reach all four edges and get close to each corner. If it still springs back too much, cover it with the plastic wrap for another 15 minutes and try again.
- Drizzle some more olive oil over the top of the dough, then place an inverted 13"x18" baking sheet over it so nothing touches the surface of the dough, then wrap the two baking sheets completely in plastic wrap to keep them in place.
- Place the wrapped baking sheets in the fridge overnight (for 12 hours).
- Remove the plastic wrap and the inverted baking sheet and gently pop any especially massive bubbles with your fingers (you definitely want some bubbles in your dough, but nothing notably larger than all the other bubbles).
- Coat the surface of the dough with the basil garlic infused olive oil and use your fingers to very gently make dimples in the dough to create an evenly bumpy texture. Don't press too hard into the dough (you don't want to deflate it), just gently poke into the surface of the dough a few times. As you do this, some new bubbles may form in the surface of your dough; only pop them if they become especially huge.
- Wipe off any condensation from the baking sheet that you had over your dough in the fridge, then invert it over your dough again and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 450°F for this entire hour to get the oven nice and hot.
- Uncover your dough and give it one last generous drizzle of the basil garlic infused olive oil, then generously sprinkle the Maldon sea salt flakes all over the surface of the dough. Don't skimp on the salt here, you want a good amount of salt on every bite.
- Place the dough in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is a deep, even, golden brown and the internal temperature reaches at least 200°F. Start checking on the dough after 20 minutes (since some ovens run hot and you don't want to burn the surface of your bread), and rotate the pan in the oven if one side of the dough is browning faster than the other.
- Remove the bread from the oven and immediately use two large metal spatulas to lift the dough out of the pan and onto a wire rack to cool. If you oiled your pan enough, the dough should lift right out of the pan, but if it does get stuck anywhere, use one of the metal spatulas to get under the dough and scrape it off the pan.
- Allow to rest for at least 5-10 minutes before slicing into it, then serve it fresh! This bread will also last up to 5 days wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature, but make sure you let it cool completely (at least 2 hours) before you wrap it up.
Notes:I use flavored oil here instead of placing herbs or additional toppings directly on the bread since those burn easily as the bread bakes and the oil seeps more flavor directly into the bread. That being said, feel free to top it with anything you want if you prefer!
As for the flavored oil itself, you can use any flavored oil you want here, but I highly recommend basil garlic oil if you can find it. You can also just use regular extra virgin olive oil if you don't want any additional flavors involved.