Italian Flat Bread – Foccacia
Here’s a reminder (as though we needed one) that sometimes the simplest things are the best. One of the breads is covered with tomato while the other is left plain, for variation in taste as well as color.
- Active Dry Yeast - 3 Packages
- Warm Water - 1 cup, 105 – 115 F
- All-Purpose Flour - 2 cups, unbleached
- Warm Water - 2 cups, 105 – 115 F
- Sponge, above
- Olive Oil - 3 tablespoons
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- All-Purpose Flour - 3 to 4 cups, unbleached
- Kosher salt for sprinkling
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Plum (Roma) Tomatoes - 2 ripe, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
- Dried Oregano - 1 teaspoon, dried
To make the sponge: Stir the yeast into the warm water in a bowl and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Place the flour in a large bowl and, using a wooden spoon, stir the yeast mixture into the flour, mixing very well. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let sit in a warm place overnight.
To make the dough: Add the warm water to the sponge, mixing with a wooden spoon. Stir in the oil and salt, then stir in the flour 1/2 cup at a time. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 7 to 8 minutes, or until smooth. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, form each into a loaf, cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place each loaf onto a 13-by-17-inch baking sheet and roll it with a rolling pin to fill the pan. Cover again and let stand for 20 minutes.
Final preparation: using your fingers, press evenly spaced holes into the surface of the dough and sprinkle with kosher salt. Drizzle olive oil all over the surface. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on one pan of dough. Sprinkle the tomatoes with oregano, then lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Bake both breads 30 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cut into triangles or rectangles and serve warm.