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Recipe for :

Lavender Focaccia
 

This recipe has been reproduced with the kind permission of Linda Stradley who runs the What's Cooking America web site <click here>

Linda says, "My mom was a great cook, but she cooked the typical foods of the 50's of overcooked meat and vegetables. It wasn't until I really got interested in cooking for my family that I discovered the wonders of great food using simple fresh ingredients! I also discovered the love of eating and the problems of weight gain!"

She has always had a fascination with history. Put this together with her love of good food and you have a culinary historian. Linda says, "The research of the origins of foods of America have become an obsession when being introduced to new foods." Traveling with her husband, Don, all around the States, she always combines her pursuit of pleasure and eating with the pursuit of new foods and their history.

She originated the What's Cooking America site in 1997 and continues to maintain it with regular additions. The web site is a continuation of her first cookbook also called What's Cooking America, which she co-authored with her friend Andra Cook. Linda has a new book available called I'll Have What They're Having: Legendary Local Cuisine - for details or to purchase <click here>

Ingredients

1 tablespoon sugar or honey
1 2/3 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees), divided
1 (1/4 oz.) envelope active dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender flowers*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coarse salt (sea or kosher)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

* Found in Health Food Stores, Gourmet Stores, or use your own hand-dried flowers.

Method

  • In a small bowl, combine sugar or honey with 1/2 cup of warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the mixture; let it stand until foamy, for 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Sift the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in remaining water, yeast mixture, and 4 tablespoons olive oil. Mix for approximatelly 5 minutes or until you form a dough; transfer to your work surface.
  • Knead for 10 minutes then add the salt and knead for a approximately 6 to 10 minutes or until the dough is very smooth (if the dough sticks to your hands, add some additional flour, one tablespoon at at time).
  • Spray a large bowl with non-stick cookiny spray. Form the dough into a round shape and place dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place (draft free) to rise for approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in bulk.

    Note:
    At this point you can refrigerate the dough overnight. Be sure to allow the dough to return to room temperature before putting it in the oven.
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Lightly oil a large baking sheet (I use the new silpads instead of oil).
  • Lightly flour work surface and roll out dough into a large rectangle.
  • Transfer dough to the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let rise approximately 30 to 45 minutes or until it doubles in size.
  • While dough is rising, make the lavender garlic topping. Finely chop the lavender. In a small bowl, mix lavender and garlic with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Make dimples in the dough with your fingers by pushing into the dough several times. Brush the lavender-garlic topping all over and into the dimples.
  • Sprinkle coarse salt and pepper on top.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your bread. The temperature should be between 200° and 210°.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool. Let baked loaf cool for 30 minutes before cutting (this is because the bread is still cooking while it is cooling).

Serves 8

© Linda Stradley - What's Cooking America

 

 
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