I was really pleased with this dough recipe when I first made it for Sloppy Joe ‘Za, but I had thought it made too much dough for one ‘za, and really, two were a bit too much for just us.
What to do?
Well, I saw Jeff Mauro make focaccia on his show, and thought I might could use his recipe with my dough. The first time I made it, it was GOOD, but almost like oven-fried flat bread, so I made a few changes.
•1-1/2 cup warm water (110º)
•2 tsp yeast
•1 tsp honey
•3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus an additional 1/2 cup, if needed
•1/2 cup whole wheat flour
•1 tsp coarse sea salt
•1 tsp seasoned salt
•1/2 tsp Tellicherry pepper
•2 tbsp olive oil – plus more for later
•Coarse sea salt
Stir together the warm water with the honey and the yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and let rest until foamy – about 15 minutes should do it.
While the yeast mixer is proofing, whisk together the 3-1/2 cups of all-purpose (I use unbleached) with the 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour, the salt, and the pepper. Save that last 1/2 cup of all-purpose in case you need it.
Drizzle the olive oil over the proofed yeast, and add 3 cups of the floure. Set the mixer on low (speed 2 or 3 on my mixer), and let run for 2 minutes.
With the mixer still running, add the remaining flour mixture, by tablespoons, until the dough pulls away from the bowl and clings to the hook. Use that additional 1/2 cup of flour if needed, I always seem to.
Increase the mixer speed to medium (5 or 6 on my Cuisinart) and knead for 4 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Gather the dough into a ball, lightly (olive) oil the mixing bowl – or a clean bowl, if you like – but my dough mostly cleaned itself away from the mixer bowl walls, and I figured why dirty another? – and add the dough ball, turning to coat all sides with the oil.
Cover whichever bowl you choose to use with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
Uncover the dough, punch it down, and you are good to go!
Unless… I read this tip, and it really does seem to result in a really nice dough:
If you have the time, recover your punched-down dough with the plastic wrap and set it back to rise for another hour, until it has again doubled in size.
All-righty then! NOW we are good to go!
Punch the dough down one last time, shape it into a ball and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface.
Divide the dough into quarters and shape each quarter into a ball by rolling over the work surface using the palm of your hand.
You can stash the dough balls in plastic bags in the fridge for 10 to 12 hours, letting them come up to room temp before using, or freeze them for a week or 2. I had a couple of things planned for mine, so took 2 and stashed 2 in the fridge.
Roll out one of the dough balls into a rectangle, then lightly brush a rimmed baking dish with olive oil.
Lay the dough in the baking dish, then lift it and turn it over, so that both sides have a light coating of olive oil.
Using your fingertips, tap the dough lightly all-over to dimple it a bit, then sprinkle with the sea salt, Tellicherry, and Aleppo pepper.
Cover with the clean kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
Bake the flat bread for about 20 minutes, until it is golden brown and nicely crisped. Remove from the baking pan and set aside to cool on a rack.
This is almost too good. I like to tear off a chunk and add a schmear of cream cheese; Mehran likes his with some fresh feta.
So, of my 4 dough balls, I made a flat bread for us, 1 as a Welcome Baby Mischa Present for Golnaz and Mehran, and I froze 1 ball.
What of that last bit?
Stromboli, people! Tomorrow…