Baking · Bread · Uncategorized

Focaccia

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.

Goodnight.

Focaccia
Resting on our makeshift cooling rack.
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3 thoughts on “Focaccia

  1. The children were not the only ones who enjoyed the bread. The saltiness provided a good balance to the blandness. It was yummy!

  2. I love focaccia bread, but you’re right, it can be bland at times. Sounds like you had a lot of fun making this bread and I’m glad ot hear that everyone enjoyed it nonetheless 🙂

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