Dough (for two loaves):
2 1/2 c warm water
2 T olive oil
1 T sugar
1 T + 1/2 t dry active yeast
2 1/2 t salt
6-7 c unbleached white flour
Orange Lavender topping:
about 1 T olive oil
4 t chopped fresh lavender (about half leaves and half flowers)
1 small orange, sliced as thinly as possible
2 t sugar
- To make dough, combine water, oil, sugar, and yeast in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, and let sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast is puffy.
- Add salt and about 5 1/2 cups of the flour and knead with oiled hands or stir with the mixer's dough hook, adding more flour as necessary to form a slightly sticky but workable dough. Knead about 12 minutes by hand or about 5 minutes with a stand mixer.
- Form dough into a ball, coat with oil, and place in a large, oiled mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and place somewhere warm. Allow dough to rise until doubled. (This can take anywhere from about 45 minutes to more than 2 hours, depending on your yeast and the room temperature.)
- Punch down dough and divide into two equal pieces. Preheat oven to 400°.
- Lightly oil 2 baking sheets, and stretch each piece of dough into a rough rectangle, mostly covering a baking sheet. You can leave the edges rounded and uneven for a more "rustic" look. Let sit, covered loosely with plastic wrap, for about 15 minutes, then uncover and lightly dimple the surface of the dough with your fingertips. Brush each loaf with a generous coating of olive oil.
- For the orange focaccia, arrange orange slices on top of dough, then sprinkle with lavender and lightly press the lavender in with your fingertips to make it adhere to the dough. Top with sugar.
- For lemon focaccia, arrange lemon slices and asparagus spears on top of dough, brush asparagus with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake about 20-25 minutes or until tops of loaves have golden-brown splotches, then cool on baking racks.