Devo Olive Oil was kind enough to send me some of their Hojiblanca-Intenso Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and it seemed like such a perfect fit for this bread. Being a lovely, robust Spanish olive oil, I figured I ought to spice the focaccia with some traditional spices used in Spanish cuisine.
I chose garlic, chili peppers, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper for the key flavors in this bread. Together, they made a lovely blend, very aromatic, with just the right amount of kick.
This bread is perfect for dipping in olive oil or paired with seafood. It was perfect with the mussels; it soaked up all of the juices, and the spices really went well with them.
This also went extremely well with roasted tomatoes, which I will be sharing later. The possibilities are endless for this bread! It'd probably make some brilliant sandwiches. Grilled cheese, anyone? Mm.
I promise this is so easy to make, too, even though it does need to rise twice. I put it out in the sun, and it rose in no time! There's no reason not to make some fancy homemade bread - hands on time is only about 20 minutes, and your house will smell like it for hours.. mmm.
Whole Wheat Spanish-Style Focaccia
makes 3 oval loaves
2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 T active dry yeast
1 t honey
1/4 cup Spanish olive oil (I used Devo's Hojiblanca-Intenso)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t chili pepper flakes
1/2 t dried thyme
1 t dried oregano
3 t sea salt
1/2 t pepper
5 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 1/2 t chili pepper flakes
1 1/2 t dried oregano
3/4 t dried thyme
salt, pepper, to taste
olive oil, for brushing
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, stir together the warm water and the honey, until the honey is dissolved. Stir in the yeast, and allow to sit for about five minutes, until frothy. Stir in the olive oil.
In a medium bowl, stir together the minced garlic, chili pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, sea salt, and pepper. Slowly add the flour, stirring until well combined.
Mix together the spices for the topping, and set aside.
Slowly add the flour mixture into the yeast mixture, mixing on low speed. Once a dough begins to form, increase the speed, and knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Place the dough into an olive oil coated bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.
Allow to rise in a warm place, until doubled in size, about an hour. Once doubled, punch out the air from the dough, and allow to rise again, until doubled in size.
After the second rise, punch the dough down again to release the air. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface, and cut into three equal pieces with a bench scraper. Form the three pieces into ovals about 1/2 inch thick. Place onto a baking stone (or baking sheet) sprinkled with corn meal to prevent sticking. Brush each loaf with olive oil, and sprinkle with the topping spices.
Bake at 425ºF for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container.
*You can store the bread in an airtight container/bag and freeze it for up to 2 months.