This is a version of foccacia, an Italian herb bread that goes great with pasta dishes, hearty soups, or toasted with a topping of tapinade. Makes two flat loaves (or four!) 1 1/2 c. warm water 1 tblsp. active dry yeast 4 c. all purpose flour (I use Gold Medal unbleached, but any all purpose will do) 2 tblsps. mixed dry herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, etc.) or 4 tblsps. finely chopped fresh herbs 1 tblsp. fine sea salt (don't try to substitute Morton's or any table salt) 4 tblsps. ordinary olive oil yellow cornmeal Pour warm water into a large bowl and sprinkle yeast over. Let it stand undisturbed (don't stir) until the yeast dissolves--5 to 10 minutes. Stir in 1 c. flour, 1 tblsp. dry herbs or 2 of fresh chopped, sea salt, and 2 tblsps. olive oil. Mix together until well blended. Mix in the remaining flour, 1 c. at a time until a thick and somewhat sticky dough forms (depending on humidity and the flour used, you may need to add up to 1/2 c. more flour at this stage). Turn the dough out on a well-floured board and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes, re-flouring the board if the dough tends to stick. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Oil the top of the dough ball, cover with a cotton dish towel, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour (again, this depends on humidity and temperature in your kitchen.) Punch the risen dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a flat oval about 1 1/2" thick. (At this point, I shape the dough into four loaves to accommodate smaller appetites and households). Place each oval on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Brush the loaves with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with remaining herbs. Cover the loaves with dish towels and let rise for 20-30 minutes. Place loaves in preheated 400 degree oven and quickly splash oven floor with 1/4 c. water to create steam (this helps the crust get crusty). Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to keep the bottom from getting soggy. This bread freezes well, so I usually make a double batch to have some on hand for pannini sandwiches or snacking with cheese and fruit.