For the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch.
Hi. I’m still here.
You know how John Lennon says “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”? That’s sort of how I feel now. I told myself almost two years ago when I started blogging that I wouldn’t become one of those people who posted only sporadically.
(Brittany Murphy in Clueless, anyone?)
Being an active blogger takes so much time. Oops.
I’m still cooking, but taking photos and writing the blog post seems to be harder now than it was before. I’ve also done very few Daring Kitchen challenges, just in general. Focaccia has been on my list of things to bake for ages, so when I saw what the challenge for this month was, I figured I could work it into my weekend schedule. When I made this loaf of focaccia yesterday, it had been a long time since I had baked any bread. It felt good.
And the bread tasted good, too. Great, in fact. It’s amazing what you can make with just yeast, water, flour, and a little honey. Those four utterly basic ingredients go from being three very bland things (and one very tasty thing) to one fantastic loaf of bread–comforting, filling, and delicious.
I guess there’s a reason bread is called the staff of life.
from Simply Scratch
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 cups bread flour
- 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 T olive oil + more for coating the pan and drizzling
- Toppings: dried or fresh herbs such as rosemary or basil, cherry tomatoes, coarse or flaked sea salt…
In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine yeast, warm water, and sugar. Let rest for about five minutes to allow the yeast to activate–the mixture should be foamy. Add flours, salt, and 2 T olive oil, and stir to combine. Knead by hand or with a dough hook for about five minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and set in a warm place to rise for one to two hours, or until doubled in size.
After the first rise, punch down and press onto a large lightly oiled cookie sheet. Cover and let rise 30 to 40 minutes. Alternately, after the rise first put the dough in the fridge for baking later.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
After the second rise, sprinkle with herbs. I did half dried rosemary and half fresh basil with quartered cherry tomatoes. Using your fingertips, dimple the top of the loaf. Drizzle with about two more tablespoons of olive oil, and the sea salt (if using). Turn the oven down to 375°F , and bake until golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool five minutes before removing from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.