After another late night when I stumbled in the door exhausted at one pm (long and not-bloggable story), the logical thing to do would be to take a nap. Not me. Being a chronic insomniac and a fidgeter, I lay down for about half an hour before deciding to go make bread.
Focaccia was my introduction to breadmaking and is still one of my favorite easy snack foods. I go “rustic” with my loaves, preferring to eat them in randomly hacked wedges rather than doing something so fancy as making a sandwich with them. A few herbs and spices, some olive oil, and boom. With a vegetable and perhaps a bratwurst on the side, you’ve got dinner!
I’d been having issues getting my bread to rise the last several times I made it, though. A combination of cold kitchen, not-warm-enough water, and general lousy bread karma actually resulted in my throwing away at least two batches. Quelle horreur, I know! This time, I engineered a solution that won’t work for everybody, but one that I’ll have to remember. I made some pasta, removed it from the pot by means of tongs, and balanced my bowl on top of the pot of still-steaming water! (With the weird size of my bowl, it was actually floating *on* the water.) Not widely replicable, but perfectly functional, and for once, I have a loaf of focaccia rather than a lump. 😀
Also, flavorings. You can’t really go wrong with this bread. I tend to throw in whatever looks tasty at the time, resulting in some rather odd mouth combinations…like this one. Quite the recommendation I’m leaving you with, isn’t it? 😛
- In small bowl or mug, mix one-third cup of water with a teaspoon of sugar and one packet of RapidRise yeast. Stir until sugar is dissolved, and let foam for ten minutes or so. Drink some tea.
- In larger bowl, place two cups of flour and your flavorings of choice. If you’re me, scrounge around and add some dill, a shake of garlic powder, and a little bit of juice squeezed from a tomato. The last really didn’t add anything to the flavor, so unless you’ve got a tomato around, skip it. Eat the rest of the squeezed tomato.
- Add yeast mixture to flour and stir until shaggy-looking, then mostly doughy. Add a couple more tablespoons of water until dough combines. Knead or punch around for a minute or so, then remove from bowl, splash olive oil into bowl, replace bread dough and turn to coat.
- Let dough rise until doubled, about half an hour in ideal circumstances. Eat pasta from pot over which dough is rising.
- Preheat oven to 450.
- When risen, remove dough from bowl/pot and smack around for a minute until fully cowed. Grease baking sheet (cooking spray!) and plop dough on top. Arrange dough into flat circle-like thing that looks sliceable.
- Poke holes in top of focaccia with handle end of wooden spoon, for authenticity. Top with either salt or, if you’re me, lemon pepper. It smells delicious, but the combination of spices may be just a leetle too much for less flavor-attention-deficit folks.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until kinda crunchy around the edges and mostly golden. Panic eight minutes in and realize your oven is overheated; turn down to 350 for two minutes, then remove. Eat. Remember to offer to share. 🙂