Rose's Best Basic Loaf as Rosemary Flat Bread

Someone on the blog asked about Harvest King flour (now called General Mills Bread Flour) and focaccia which reminded me that I was planning to post the recipe I created for the launch. It is based on the recipe I offered for the back of the flour bag with just a few minor modifications.Please note that if you weigh the water and flour you wil get the large holes and desired texture but if you measure, and the hydration is not adequate (you added more flour than called for or less water) it will still be good but not as open a crumb so pay attention to the consistency. It needs to be very sticky when first mixed. If necessary, add more water. It will become much less sticky after the first rise. Only give it one rise and then the shaped rise for the most open holes. Also, this dough benefits from adequate kneading in order to puff up well, i.e. don't use the no knead method here.

Harvest King Focaccia The secret to the stretchy dough which bakes into a puffy flat bread with large irregular holes, is adding 11% oil and increasing the water to 72% hydration. Also makes great pizza!

Makes: Almost 2 pounds/876 grams of dough (14" x 11" x 1-1/2" high):

3 cups/1 pound/454 grams Harvest King flour (General Mills Bread Flour)
1/4 cup/1.25 ounces/35 grams whole wheat flour
1-1/4 teaspoons rapid rise, bread machine or other instant yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1-1/2 cups/12.5 ounces/354 grams room temperature water
1 teaspoon mild honey, such as clover
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil plus 4 teaspoons for oiling the pan and top of bread
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles
fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper to taste

Equipment: A baking sheet or half size sheet pan, or a 14 inch round pizza pan

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour, whole wheat flour and yeast. Then whisk in the salt. Stir in the water, honey, and oil.

Using a mixer with a dough hook or by hand with a wooden spoon, knead (if by hand stir vigorously) for about 3 minutes or until the dough begins to come away form the sides of the bowl. It will not come away completely and should be very sticky to the touch.

Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. After the first 30 minutes, scrape the dough onto an oiled counter and with oiled hands stretch it and give it a business letter fold. Repeat this a second time. The dough will no longer stick to your fingers. Set the dough back in the bowl and let it finish rising. (Stick a finger into the center of the dough and if it keeps the indentation it's ready.)

If baking it the following day, press down the dough and set it in a large oiled zipper type storage bag, leaving a tiny bit unzipped for the forming gas to escape, and refrigerate it. Remove it to room temperature 1 hour before shaping.

When ready to shape the dough, spread 2 teaspoons of all onto the baking sheet and set the dough on top. Flatten the dough gently with your fingertips to about 12 inches by 10 inches and 1/2 inch high. Try to keep as much air in the dough as possible. Oil the top of the dough with 2 teaspoons of oil.

Cover with a large container or oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise until doubled to 1 inch high--about 1 hour. While the dough is rising, set the oven rack toward the bottom and place a baking stone or baking sheet on it. Set a cast iron skillet or heavy baking pan on the floor of the oven or on the lowest shelf.

Preheat the oven to 475˚F/250˚C for 45 minutes or longer.

With your finger tips, deeply dimple the dough all over. Sprinkle with the rosemary, salt, and pepper. Quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot stone or hot baking sheet, and toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door and bake 5 minutes. Turn the sheet half way around and continue baking 10 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (An instant read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 210°F/99˚C). Remove the bread to a wire rack to cool completely or until just warm.