[This is one of three recipes I provided for the beta launch of Foodie.com in February of 2012. The site has just undergone a redesign. Thus, I’m republishing the recipes here so that they can link to me from the new site. The second is here. Here is the third.]
Cauliflower is drizzled with olive oil, rosemary and garlic and roasted atop this addictive focaccia. The dough is part whole wheat, but rises high with the addition of vital wheat gluten. Vital wheat gluten is available in the baking aisle of most supermarkets.
I start this dough by making a sponge using all of the water, the yeast, and a third of the flour, which I let rest at room temperature for an hour before adding the remaining ingredients. This results in a deeply flavorful bread with great rise. If you’ve ever had problems with bread not rising as much as it should, try this method. It does add some time to the recipe, but timing of the sponge isn’t critical. It can stand at room temperature for two hours if needed, or it can be put in the refrigerator for up to a day.
Cauliflower Rosemary Focaccia
1-1/4 cups warm water, about 105 F
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup bread or all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt plus extra for the top
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus extra for the pan
1-3/4 to 2-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups cauliflower florets, from slightly less than a pound of cauliflower
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
Add water, yeast and bread flour to a medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with dough hooks. Combine well with a fork, cover, and let stand for an hour or two. The mixture will bubble up and expand.
Add vital wheat gluten, sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Combine with a fork. If you’re using a stand mixer to knead the dough, start it now. Add 1-3/4 cups whole wheat flour, stopping to combine the last of the flour with a fork if necessary. Let mixer knead dough for 5 minutes on low, or turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes. If dough is sticky, add more flour as necessary, 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time.
Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for an hour until doubled in size.
Turn a cauliflower floret stem side up and slice into 1/4-inch slices. Repeat with remaining florets. Brush a baking pan (preferably a dark one) with olive oil. Spread dough out into a square about 10 inches on a side. Dimple the tops of the dough with your fingers. Press the cauliflower slices gently into the top of the dough in a single layer. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil with garlic and rosemary. Drizzle over the top of the focaccia. Scatter a pinch or two of salt over the top.
Set aside to rise for about 20 minutes. Heat oven to 450 F. Bake for 12-15 minutes until bread is brown at the edge and golden in the middle and cauliflower is brown at the edges.