There’s really nothing like the taste of freshly baked homemade bread. Your friendly neighborhood corner bakery is always there to supply you with all kinds of bread, but no, baking your own bread, though time consuming and tedious, is a achievement all on its own. It’s something special. Really special. Remind me to bake bread more often and be my own bakery. Well, someday.
I made focaccia today. I was inspired by Beti’s (of Beti Vanilla) attempt at focaccia. It looked so great that I had to try it for myself. I wasn’t disappointed. It has no eggs, it’s crusty and dense. I’d like to believe that it can be likened to a blank canvas. It’s that kind of bread. You can go crazy and stud it with dried fruits or fresh herbs. Well, I didn’t go crazy with mine. I gently peppered it with dried rosemary to give it that rustic, “I could just lounge all day and munch on it” taste.
It was a good thing that I didn’t go crazy. A few days ago, at the airport while waiting for my flight, I was perusing the stalls for pasalubong (something to give to the people at home), and luckily I gave Rajah Manila (Filipino delicacies) a chance. They happened to sell The Fruit Garden jams and I took home small jars of their mango-ginger and mango-lavender. An even, generous spread of the mango-ginger on warm focacia is a match made in heaven. After taking photos of the finished product, I rewarded myself with just that – a warm piece of happiness.
It’s not really focaccia itself that I’m putting on a pedestal, rather it’s the experience of making freshly baked bread. It’s something else. Words can’t entirely capture the feeling. Just do it and you’ll understand.
Cheers to a happy day (!)
Focaccia (makes 2 large buns; adapted from Beti Vanilla)
- 2 1/2 c. of flour
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 c. warm water
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
- In a large bowl mix 1 cup of flour, sugar, yeast, salt and rosemary. Add olive oil and warm water.
- Beat on medium speed using a hand mixer with the dough hook attachment (or a stand mixer if you have one) for about 3 minutes stirring enough remaining flour until the dough is soft.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes until smooth, adding more flour if necessary.
- Place dough in a medium bowl greased with olive oil. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for an hour.
- When it rises deflate the dough and divide it in two shaping each half like a giant cookie. Put it in a prepared pan, add some olive oil on top and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for the second time. Preheat oven to 400 F/200C
- Using your fingers, make small holes on the surface of the dough and drizzle some more olive oil, brushing it gently.
- Bake them at 400°F/200 C for about 15 minutes – 20 minutes (do not over-bake) until light golden brown. Serve with jam or spread of choice. Enjoy!
I was supposed to post this yesterday but the internet connection was prohibitive. Standby for my contribution to the food blogging community’s Chinese New Year celebration!