This bread was made daily in my recent restaurant and I want to share the recipe because it is so easy and yields excellent results.
4 1/2 tsp yeast (2 pkgs)
2 cups warm water (110ºF)
1 tbs sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbs chopped fresh rosemary, 3 tbs chopped fresh sage, or 3 tbs chopped mixed herbs (optional)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for brushing the dough
Coarse sea salt
If using instant yeast, combine last in bowl with all of the dry ingredients and then add to the mixing bowl with the warm water and olive oil. If using non-instant, let bloom in warm water with olive oil and sugar.
Using a dough hook on your mixer, combine the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on low until the dough is soft and pliable and comes off of the bowl to form a ball. Turn dough out onto counter with a dusting of flour and knead. Dough needs human hands. Dough needs the love.
Preheat oven to 475ºF. Let dough rise in an oiled bowl covered and in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until at least doubled. Spread dough out onto baking sheet (9X13) and let rise for 30 minutes. Dimple the dough with your fingertips, brush with oil and sprinkle with course sea salt and additional optional herbs or: nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, spring onions, chives, olives, sauteéd red onions, roasted garlic, etc.
Place dough in oven and reduce the temperature to 375ºF and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until light golden. If baking in a ceramic dish, add up to 7 additional minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.