Sometime in the middle of the night last week I awoke with a strong urge to bake focaccia. The dimpled, rosemary and salt flecked bread drizzled with olive oil and baked until golden brown beckoned to me until I decided to rise early Thanksgiving morning and make it. In a corner of the kitchen I kneaded the soft white dough, working it into an elastic ball. The backs of my arms soon began to ache, but a quick peek at the timer provided the nudge I needed to continue; only a few minutes had passed. Eventually the dough became smooth and responsive, sticking less to the countertop and pulling easily as I folded it over itself. I left it to rise in a ceramic bowl covered with a favorite white cotton tea towel. In two hours time it seemed as though the dough not only doubled but may have tripled! As I pressed my fist into the inflated dough it released its air, letting out an audible hiss. I felt quite excited at this first time experience, and began to wonder about the wonders of white flour, a type which I am less accustomed to using. I coaxed the dough across an oiled cookie sheet and left it to rest for another 30 to 40 minutes, after which came the fun part. I lifted the tea towel and giddily trod my fingertips across the bare dough. Rosemary freshly trimmed from the garden, a drizzle or two of olive oil, and a few pinches of sea salt topped the bread, sometimes settling inside the miniature caverns. I then baked it for a bit over 30 minutes, made a makeshift cooling rack from a colander (my husband’s clever idea) and let it rest until ready to eat. For someone used to sourdough, I found the bread tasted bland, though the children enjoyed it very much. Next time I will add more rosemary or olive oil. Perhaps I will even experiment with some other toppings. I really delighted in the process and enjoyed watching the dough change and react, from the initial kneading and rise to the punching down and dimpling of the dough. I love that baking bread necessitates a tactile experience, and find that it satisfies some quiet inner yearning. Maybe it is simply letting my inner child roam free to explore — and take part in — such an elemental and nourishing process.