For the sponge
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1-ounce fresh compressed yeast
2 packages of active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm or hot water, depending on the yeast
pinch of salt
For the dough
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) sweet butter at room temperature
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 lb Prosciutto di Parma ®, sliced thinly
salt to taste
To cook the focaccia
6 tablespoons olive oil
coarse grain salt
How to make the Focaccia con Prosciutto di Parma ®:
To make the sponge:
Place two cups of flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Dissolve the yeast in the cup of water, then pour it into the well with the salt. Use a wooden spoon to gradually incorporate the flour. Sprinkle on the remaining tablespoon of flour, cover the bowl with a cotton dish towel and let rest in a warm place away from drafts until the sponge has doubled in size.
To make the dough:
When the sponge is ready, spread two cups of flour on a board and place the sponge on it. Add the butter, water and salt and start incorporating all the ingredients into the sponge, kneading in a folding motion, until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is elastic and smooth. Use two tablespoons of the oil to grease a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 inch jelly-roll pan. Take 2/3 of the dough and use a rolling pin to stretch it to the same size as the jelly roll pan, then place the dough in the pan, spreading it out to each of the sides if necessary. Arrange the Prosciutto di Parma ® slices over the dough in the pan. Stretch the remaining 1/3 dough, still using a rolling pin, to the same size as the first layer, but thinner; place this over the Prosciutto di Parma ® slices. Use two fingers to press the edges of the layers of dough together, then prick the dough with a fork in several places and drip the remaining four tablespoons of oil over the entire surface. Cover the pan with a piece of plastic wrap, then with a cotton dish towel, and let the dough rest in a warm place away from drafts, until doubled in size, about one hour.
To cook the focaccia:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the dough is ready, remove the towel and the plastic wrap and bake for about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut into squares. Serve hot with olive oil and coarse salt.
Courtesy of Giuliano Bugialli