- 1/2 warm water
- 2 teaspoons dry yeast
- 4 cups flour
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chiffonade of basil
- 3 Creole/Beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- 10 1-ounce slices of fresh Mozzarella cheese
- Salt and white pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Position the rack in the center of the oven with a baking stone. Oil a 11 by 1-inch baking sheet. In a large bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon yeast into 1/2 cup water until the mixture is cloudy, about 10 minutes. Add 3/4 cup flour. Cover with plastic and let stand until the mixture is bubbly, about 45 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon yeast into 1 cup water. Again let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, stir dissolved yeast mixture and 1/4 cup olive oil into sponge mixture. Stir in 1 cup flour. Stir in 2 tablespoons of basil, garlic, and 2 teaspoons salt. Add the remaining flour in 2 batches, mixing the flour into the mixture thoroughly. Form the dough into a ball.
- Place the dough in an oil bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto the prepared pan. Press the dough out to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover the dough with plastic and let the dough stand for about 10 minutes. Press the dough out again and let the dough rise until double in size, about 1 hour. Season each slice of tomato and cheese with salt and white pepper. Arrange the tomatoes on top of the dough. Arrange the cheese on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining basil. Bake the focaccia until the bread is golden and crisp, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut into slices. Place on a platter and garnish with Essence.