Craving a heartier rendition of that Italian flatbread? I’m crazy for the taste of rye. Some folks claim they don’t like rye bread, but usually they just don’t care for caraway (which I think is yummy, too!). For all you rye lovers, here’s a focacci’er fer ya.
FOCACCIA IN THE RYE makes one 12″ round
- generous 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt. I like Real Salt. I buy this in bulk at WF.
- 1 teaspoon local honey. Central Market sells Good Flow in bulk. I always bring my own jar. The staff can tare the weight for you.
- 1 teaspoon organic or local (Texas Olive Ranch) olive oil, plus more for tossing your onions and shaping your dough. For cooking and baking, I like the price of CM’s organic oil.
- 130 grams (about 1 cup plus a scant ¼ cup) organic whole grain rye flour. I use Arrowhead Mills.
- 70 grams ( about 2/3 cup) organic white whole wheat flour. Whole Foods sells the 5# bag of King Arthur brand.
- 100 grams(about ¾ cup plus 1 ½ Tablespoons) organic all-purpose flour. WF 365 organic brand is usually the best buy.
- 1 teaspoon bread machine yeast. Also labeled rapid rise or instant.
- 2/3 cup chopped mixed olives.
- 1 quarter of a large red onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano. Right now, through tomorrow, Sprouts (in Sunset Valley on Brodie Lane) is offering reggiano for only $11.99 a pound. Stock up! Other cheeses will work here. Try gruyere, pecorino romano, and aged goudas or goat goudas. Venture to your favorite cheese counter and try some new quesos.
I use the bread machine to mix this dough and give it the first rise. For my machine the wet ingredients go in first, then the flours, and finally, the yeast is poured in last. I make sure the yeast isn’t touching any wet ingredients. Set the machine to the “DOUGH” cycle and go about your business. Usually, on most machines, a beeper will sound about 20 minutes after the mixing begins. You can add chunky ingredients, such as your olives, at this time. Or you can wait until you form the dough and poke your olives into the top, where they’ll cook up more discernibly.
If you’re not using a bread machine, you can mix and knead the dough by hand. Rye flour yields a heavy, sticky, mortar-like dough (but bakes up crisp and springy!) that’s not exactly a pleasure to work by hand. You won’t achieve a smooth and bouncy ball, just aim for getting it all mixed and worked together very well. Let rise 1½ hours to 2 hours. It’ll look messy.
When your dough has risen, grease up a 12″ wide and 1″ or so deep, parchment-lined pan with olive oil. Make sure your baking stone is on the bottom rack of your oven and start heating it up to 400º.
Using olive oil, grease up your hands very well and place the dough into the pan. Lacking elastic cohesion, the sticky mass will resist your efforts to relocate it in one piece. Use a spatula or a dough scraper and persist. Once in the pan, the dough will settle down more cooperatively. Re-lube your hands with about a Tablespoon of olive oil and pat the dough out flat, pressing up on the edges to make a bit of a lip around the perimeter. The putty-like dough should give in easily at this point.
Poke your olives into the dough, if adding them now. Oil up your onion slices and arrange them on top—children might like to help out and create a flower design or silly face on the surface. Sprinkle the whole thing with however much freshly cracked black pepper your young’uns can take, and top it off with the cheese. Let rise for 45 minutes.
Place the pan of dough on the baking stone and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and raise heat to 425º. Using potholders and a large spatula, carefully lift the focaccia out of the pan, sans parchment, and place it directly on the baking stone. Bake for another 4 or 5 minutes, until well-browned and crisp-bottomed. Place on a cooling rack and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. This bread doesn’t last long enough at our house to cool off too much!