“No flour, no Torah; no Torah, no flour.” – Pirkei Avot 3:21
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
4 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped leeks or onions
1 cup water
Freshly ground pepper
Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup warm water. Let rest for 5 minutes. Place the flour and 1 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Add the dissolved yeast, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 cup of warm water.
Turn out onto a well-floured working surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. The dough will be fairly stiff and smooth.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, turning it to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours or until more than doubled in bulk.
Punch down the dough and divide it into eight equal parts. Shape each part into a ball. Place 4 balls on each of two baking sheets and let rest 5 minutes.
While the dough is resting, place the chopped leeks (or onions) in a saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well, removing as much of the water as possible.
Preheat the oven to 500° F.
Using the heel of one hand, flatten each ball into a ¼-inch thick circle. Divide the cooked leeks evenly among the focacce. Sprinkly with coarse salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Makes 8 flat breads.
Eat these irresistible focacce warm from the oven, if you can. This recipe is adapted from Edda Servi Machlin’s original Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews (Everest House) which is now out of print. Her most recent volume, Classic Italian Jewish Cooking (The Ecco Press) includes more than 300 recipes from her three earlier books.
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