Fluffy, salty and redolent of aromatic olive oil and fresh rosemary, these little hunks of bread are great as casual appetizers, simple snacks, or as substitutes for dinner rolls (man, I should be writing ad copy). Begin by combining your ingredients in the bowl of a mixer.
Add about 5-6 ounces of the water, and mix on low for a minute, then medium, adding as much water as is necessary to get to the right consistency — which is this, sort of like melted fresh mozzarella…smooth, tacky and elastic:
Scoop it out into a bowl or a dough rising container and let it rise…
…until it’s twice its original volume. It’ll take about 4 hours.
Apply a liberal amount of olive oil to a half-size sheet pan…
…and spread it all around (don’t forget the lip of the pan).
Turn out your dough and let it rest for 10 minutes, then begin to gently stretch it out over the surface of the pan.
It will want to snap back, but just let it rest a few minutes after the initial stretch and try again. Repeat the stretching and resting until it’s almost spread out over the whole pan. About like so:
Allow it to proof another hour, until it’s puffy and has expanded to cover almost all of the pan (for the most developed flavor put the pan inside a clean trash bag and chill overnight in the fridge…then proof for about two hours). When ready to bake, make deep depressions in the dough with your fingers (i.e. push through to the pan) and pop any large bubbles.
Add a sprinkling of your favorite fancy salt (like fleur de sel) and herbs of your choice. Rosemary is the classic.
Drizzle on some more olive oil…
…and bake at 550 for five minutes. Rotate the pan in the oven, drop the heat to 425 and continue baking for another 25 minutes or so, until it looks like this:
Cool on a wire rack, slice and eat!