Midnight– the best time to make a focaccia!!
It’s not, really, but this is when I’m doing it. My mother is in town to help my Big Sis take care of my New Niece, and she’s making a big bowl of pasta tomorrow night. I promised to make bread. Most of my breads, for want of a better word, suck. But I’m trying.
- I combined 2 cups bread flour and 2 cups all-purpose flour, one package yeast, and a handful of salt in a large bowl, and stirred it all up with a fork.
- I added, bit by bit, about 1.7 cups of warm water (which is nearish to 13.5 ounces, which the recipe calls for), and kneading it into the dough still in the bowl.
- When it seemed dough-y enough, I put it on a floured surface and, as the recipe says, “bashed it around for about five minutes”.
- I put it back in the bowl, floured it a bit, and then allowed it to rise. I put it on top of the oven, preheating to 400.
- While that was happening, I chopped up some various veggies I had gotten at the Whole Foods salad bar (grilled eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, and raw red onion). I diced up the sun-dried tomatoes and left the rest chunky, then put them in a bowl with a healthy dose of olive oil, so that they could soak in all the olive oily goodness. I can’t tell you how proud I was for thinking to raid the salad bar. Pre-cooked veggies!! I’m a frickin’ genius!!
- Except that my dough wasn’t rising. After an internal monologue that would have made Lady Macbeth say, “Hey, sweetie, don’t be so hard on yourself”, I decided to attempt to save the bread using this tip from Ehow.com.
- Though I tried to proof the yeast twice, it didn’t seem to be proofing. By that point, however, the bread seemed to be rising on its own. Goddamn bread. Such a tease. Whatever. YOU TAKE YOUR SWEET TIME, BREAD.
- I help myself to an Ooey Gooey Brownie and a Netflix episode of Family Guy to calm myself down.
- Okay, so maybe two brownies.
- Patience is a virtue. Like good bread baking. Or something. I’m Netflixing, and waiting for bread to rise. Sigh.
- After, like, AN HOUR– THANKS BREAD, I punched down the dough. It felt good.
- I drizzled a healthy dose of olive oil into a pan (my slightly-smaller than 9×13 pan, larger than an 8×8 pan), and spread it around the pan. I turned the dough over in the pan until it was all oily and gorgeous, which made me feel more amenable to the dough. I needed to let it rise again, so I kept it on the warm oven (still all preheating, wasting mucho gas) under a dishtowel.
- I have to confess, half the reason I watch Family Guy is because Seth McFarlane sounds a lot like exactly the kind of wiseacre douchebag I used to date. Also because any show that features Patrick Warburton deserves to be watched. He was The Tick and Brock Samson. Just sayin’.
- JEEBUS, bread takes forever to rise. At this rate I’m going to get exactly no sleep.
- After the bread has finally gotten all puffy again, I spoon the vegetable / oil mixture over the dough, and add on some Parrano shavings (it’s apparently a kind of cheese from Holland. I don’t know, it was whatever was near the express line at Whole Foods.
- The focaccia takes about 25 minutes to bake, and my apartment smells yeasty, eggplanty, and amazing.
Verdict: Pretty delicious, though not as good as it could be considering it took two hours, and I have to wake up at 8am. If I make this again (and I’m gonna try at some point), I would mix some parmesan into the dough, and let it rise more.
But hey– real bread to bring to dinner tomorrow night. Worth it.