The whole-wheat flour and flax seed meal in this focaccia not only make a healthier recipe, but also one that’s full of flavor. I find that focaccia is best enjoyed warm from the oven, but can also be frozen (though there usually isn’t any left to freeze in my household). MAKES 1 LARGE FOCACCIA
• 1 (1?4-ounce) package active dry yeast
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 1?2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
• 3 cups unbleached flour, divided
• 3?4 cup whole-wheat flour
• 1?4 cup flax seed meal
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 teaspoons dried minced rosemary, or 2 tablespoons fresh minced rosemary, divided
• 1 1?2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
• 1?2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
• Olive oil cooking spray
• 1?4 cup shaved Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese*
• Roasted Garlic (See recipe here.)
1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and warm water until dissolved. Set aside and allow yeast mixture to stand for 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1?2 cups unbleached flour along with whole-wheat flour, flax seed meal, garlic, half of the rosemary and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Make a well in the center and stir in yeast mixture along with 1?4 cup olive oil. Slowly start adding an additional 1 cup of unbleached flour while mixing on low speed until soft ball forms.
3. Knead dough on lightly floured surface working in remaining 1?2 cup unbleached flour as needed–until dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 to 8 minutes.
4. Coat the bowl used to mix dough with olive oil cooking spray. Place ball of dough back into bowl and turn once to coat with oil. Cover bowl with a slightly damp kitchen towel and set in warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until nearly doubled in size.
5. Punch down dough, then form into desired shape: a flat round, a large 9- by 13-inch rectangle, or just divide the dough into 3 to 5 equal pieces and shape into smaller sizes. Once shaped, place dough on a baking sheet that has been lightly coated with olive oil spray. Lightly brush the surface with about 1 tablespoon of the remaining 1?4 cup olive oil, cover with towel and set aside in warm place to rise a second time for about 30 minutes, or until nearly doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
6. Using your fingers, poke the entire surface of the dough to make deep indentations. Brush the top and edges with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1?2 teaspoon sea salt, remaining rosemary and shaved cheese.
7. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from sheet and allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Cut into squares or wedges. Spread mashed Roasted Garlic as desired and enjoy warm from the oven or at room temperature.
*A vegetable peeler works well for shaving cheese.
Contributing Editor Kris Wetherbee tends her herbs in western Oregon.
Click here for the main article, Harvest Garlic Like a Pro.