This makes a great side for a hot bowl of soup in the winter or as the base for a panini or warm sandwich any time of the year.
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 c. AP unbleached flour
1/2 c. warm water (105 -115 degrees)
1 t. active dry yeast
1 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 t. salt
1 T. olive oil
1. For the sponge, in a bowl combine whole wheat flour, 1/2 c. warm water, and the yeast. Beat with a wodden spoon until smooth. cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand overnight, or about 8 hours, at room temperature to ferment.
2. Gradually stir in the 1 c. warm water, the 2 t. salt, and just enough of the AP flour to make a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If using a stand mixer, mix with dough hook for 8-10 minutes. If mixing by hand, turn dough otu onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of th ermaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turing once. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).
3. Turn dough out onto a well-floured baking sheet. Place an extra large bowl upside down over the dough to cover it; let rest 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prehead oven and a bread stone to 475 degrees. Shape dough gently on the baking sheet into a circle about 11 inches in diameter.
4. Make 1/2 inch deep indentations every 2 inches in dought with fingertips. Brish with olive oil and sprinkle with course sald. Carefully slide focaccia from baking sheet to bread stone.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden, checking after 8 minutes to pop any air bubbles with a sharp knife. Remove focaccia from stone with large spatulas. Cool on wire rack for about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
-Bread can be frozen as a whole loaf or portions. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and freshen by rubbing lightly with water, wrapping in foil, and placing in a cold oven. Heat to 350 degrees and bread is ready.
- Cheese or herbs can be stirred in with final addition of flour. Also, dough can be topped with fine slices of tomato or onion, a sprinkle of cheese, or herbs.
*Recipe adapted from one found in the Better Homes & Garden cookbook.