The science of seasoning is pretty simple. Every time you heat up oil or fat in your skillet, a little more seasoning will develop, and the best way to do this is usually just by cooking in your cast iron. Some dishes, namely those that call for plenty of cooking oil, are particularly good for this. Focaccia, a bread baked in a generous (and delicious) amount of olive oil, does just that.
If you don’t serve your focaccia the same day that you bake it, we recommend reheating it before eating. Place the cold focaccia back in the pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes, until warmed through.
Recipe: Cast Iron Skillet Focaccia
1½ teaspoons sugar
1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for your hands
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
The Field Method for Cast Iron Care
In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar into 1¼ cups lukewarm (not hot) water. Sprinkle the yeast over and let sit for at least 10 minutes, until the yeast is visibly bubbling and foamy. If no bubbles form your yeast might be dead—try again with another packet!
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the bloomed yeast and mix until a wet, shaggy dough forms and no dry spots remain.
Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large bowl. Transfer the dough to bowl and toss a few times to thoroughly coat in the olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 3 hours.
Coat the inside of a No.12 Field Skillet with 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the center of the pan. Transfer your dough to the skillet and toss it in the olive oil several times, roughly shaping it into a ball as you go, and deflating some of the air that’s inside.
Very loosely cover dough with plastic wrap and leave the skillet in a warm, dry place to rise (if it’s the summer, outside works well; if it’s winter, preheat your oven and leave the skillet on the stovetop). Let it rise for about 1 to 2 hours, until the dough has just reached the sides of the pan.
When your dough is almost finished rising, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Once your dough has just reached the edges of the skillet, rub a little bit of olive oil on your hands and begin dimpling the dough with your fingers. You want to create divots all across the top of the bread, and press your fingers down until they just touch the bottom of the pan. If your dough didn’t quite reach the edges of the skillet in some spots, you can stretch it a bit here; but be careful not to deflate it too much.
Drizzle the focaccia with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the focaccia is golden brown around the edges. Remove the focaccia from the skillet a few minutes after it comes out of the oven, and let it finish cooling on a wire rack or cutting board.