In my first attempt at baking bread, I decided to try some focaccia. It was moderately successful. The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of yeast, and I accidentally used the entire packet. Oops. Also, I don’t think I kneaded the dough enough, and it ended up being a little on the dense side. Despite the setbacks, I was pretty proud of the outcome. We enjoyed the bread all week with olive oil and basalmic vinegar. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the instructions…it is totally worth it!
In other news, the husband and I decided on a new and improved “healthy habits plan” – minor and major changes in our diet and exercise, catalyzed by the fact that we have both put on some weight this year. One of the changes is eating brown rice instead of white. Sigh…just saying that makes me sad. We had brown rice for dinner tonight, and man, it is just NOT the same. My Asian instincts are going berserk. I’ll keep you posted on how long that one lasts.
4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a bowl combine 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup warm water, and yeast. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let stand over night at room temperature to ferment. After fermentation, gradually stir in 1 cup warm water, 2 teaspoons salt, and enough flour to make a dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough (8-10 minutes). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour). Turn dough out onto a well-floured baking sheet. Place an extra large bowl upside down over the dough to cover it, and let rest 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475 degrees. Shape dough on the baking sheet into a circle about 11 inches in diameter by pulling and pressing with your fingertips. Make 1/2-inch-deep indentations every 2 inches in dough. Brush dough with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Carefully slide focaccia onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden, checking after 8 minutes and popping any large air bubbles with a sharp knife. Remove focaccia from pan, and cool on a wire rack about 15 minutes.