2 tablespoons fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon organic white sugar
5 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 cup honey, plus more for serving
3 cups sliced ripe fall fruit, such as figs, plums, seedless grapes, peeled apples or peeled pears
1/4 cup barley malt syrup
Fresh ricotta, for serving (optional)
Crumble the yeast in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup warm water and the sugar and stir with your fingers until the yeast is dissolved. Set the bowl in a warm place until the yeast starts to foam and bubble, about 5 minutes. Don’t let the yeast develop for more than 10 minutes. In a large bowl, stir 4 teaspoons of salt into the flour. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture, 3/4 cup water, the 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/2 cup of the honey. Coat your hands with olive oil and mix until you have a uniform dough. Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead for 5 minutes, then transfer the dough to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put the bowl in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, 60–80 minutes. Oil a rimmed, 17”x12” baking sheet and coat your hands with olive oil. Turn the dough onto the baking sheet and press it out to the edges. Make dimpleswith your fingers all over the dough. The dimpling helps to hold the honey and barley malt. Press in the fruit. Cover the pan with a damp cloth and return to a warm place to rise again for 45 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F.
Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of honey with the barley malt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Press the dough back out to the edges of the pan if it has shrunk. Brush the warm honey mixture over the fruit and dough and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bake the focaccia for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake until the top is firm and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve warm with honey, and ricotta if desired. Focaccia is best eaten the day it is made.