Italian whole wheat focaccia crackers

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient
½ pack (1-1/8 teaspoons) active
Dry yeast
½ teaspoon Sugar
¾ cup Warm water
1⅓ cup All-purpose flour
½ cup Whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Shortening
Olive oil for the tops

"This is an adaptation of Italian focaccia. It is one of the most crispy and crunchy crackers, as well as one of the most substantial.

Try serving Focaccia Crackers with soft cheese or garlic-flavored cream cheese. It is somewhat more difficult to make than most other crackers, but worth twice the trouble. 375~F. 20 to 30 minutes In a small bowl, combine the yeast with the sugar and ¼ cup of the warm water. Set aside in a warm place until the mixture starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl or in the food processor.

Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the yeast mixture and the remaining ½ cup warm water. Blend to form a dough that will hold together in a cohesive ball.

Knead well by hand for about 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface or by pulsing about 25 seconds in the food processor. Knead until the dough is smooth and springy to the touch.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn it over to coat all sides. Cover with a damp towel and set the dough in a warm place until it has doubled in bulk, about 1-½ to 2 hours.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface or pastry cloth. Roll it into a rectangular shape approximately ¼ inch thick. Place the dough on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a damp towel, and let it rise for another 35 to 45 minutes.

Using both hands, gently push your fingertips all over the top of the risen dough, leaving indentations throughout. Cover it with a damp towel again and put in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1-½ to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375~F. With your fingers or a soft pastry brush, lightly brush the top with olive oil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until very crisp. Cool on a rack. When cooled, break into small, irregularly shaped pieces, or into 2 large crackers that can be broken off as they are nibbled. VARIATIONS: Sprinkle the top of the dough with rosemary, basil, or your favorite herb after brushing with the olive oil.

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