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We have the best ingredients in the world,’ said Eyal Shoni, chef-owner of the highly praised Oceanus Restaurant in Jerusalem and Herzliyya. “The soil is not easy, but the warmth of the sun gives our food strong feeling.” Chef Shuni, a former filmmaker in his early forties, looks at food the way others look at fine paintings.
When I prepare this bread, a great showstopper at his restaurants, I often serve one loaf with a variety of cooked salads and dips as an hors d’oeuvre, and the second I use as a base for the Palestinian mousakhan, creating a stunning main course. Start the dough about three hours before you plan to serve it.
1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 2 cups of the water and let sit about 10 minutes, or until the yeast begins to bubble.
2. If you are working the dough by hand, put the flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons each of the rosemary and oregano in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture and enough additional water to make a sticky dough. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes by hand. Let rise in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap, for 1 hour. If you are using an electric mixer, put the yeast mixture in the mixing bowl. Add the flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and oregano and, using the mixer’s dough hook, work the dough for 15 minutes. Turn into a greased bowl and let rise, covered with plastic wrap, for 1 hour.
3. Punch the dough down and knead 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in the machine. Turn the dough into the greased bowl and let it rest again, covered, for another hour. It should be very elastic.
4. Preheat the oven to 450°F degrees and grease 2 cookie sheets.
5. Divide the dough in half and form 2 balls; let rest, covered, 15 minutes. Roll out each ball of dough, then stretch it as thin as possible, to a rough circle about 18 inches in diameter. Place on the cookie sheets and bake for a total of 8 minutes, turning once after 4 minutes and again after 3 minutes, switching racks if using one oven.
6. Flip once more, then brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining rosemary, oregano, and sea salt. Return to the oven for another 30 seconds or until slightly golden.
7. Place the bread on the table and let your guests use their hands to tear it apart. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information does not include the Olive oil or extra sea salt for sprinkling.
Nutrients per serving (% daily value)
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