Though focaccia (a traditional Italian flatbread) is yeasted, it doesn’t take as long to make as other yeasted breads; it only requires one brief rising. Start making this bread just before you put up a pot of soup that needs to simmer for a bit, and the two should be ready simultaneously. Make sure to check out the olive variation following the recipe!
Makes: 1 large flat round loaf, about 12 servings
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon natural granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- Coarse (kosher) salt
- Dried oregano and/or rosemary
Pour the yeast into the warm water and let stand to dissolve for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar and half of the olive oil. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and salt. Work the yeast mixture in using your hands, then turn out onto a well-floured board.
Knead for 5 minutes, adding additional flour if the dough is too sticky. Shape into a round and roll out into a circle with a 12-inch diameter.
Place on an oiled and floured baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until nearly doubled in bulk. Poke shallow holes into its surface with your fingers, at even intervals. Sprinkle the remaining olive oil over the top evenly, followed by the garlic, coarse salt, and herbs.
Bake in a preheated 400-degree F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bread is golden on top and sounds hollow when tapped. Serve warm, cut into wedges, or just have everyone break off small chunks.
To make a delicious olive focaccia, simply add about 1/2 cup of briny sliced black olives (such as Kalamata) when you begin working the yeast mixture and the flour mixture together.