Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Who needs a therapist when you've got an oven?

Has anyone ever seen that Lizzie McGuire episode where her mom comes in the kitchen and immediately knows something is wrong simply because Lizzie is baking cookies?  I know; lamest example I could have possibly come up with, but I promise I have a point.  
Without getting into a lot of detail, let's just say yesterday was a pretty down day for me.  Cooking is something that gives me joy all the time, and it's absolutely one of my favorite things to do when I need to give my mood a little boost (that, or drinking a bottle of wine).
Today I decided to channel my angst into baking my husband's favorite thing--Foccacia!
Trust me; it's quite a bit easier than many would expect.


One thing that's really important when baking any yeast-raised product is the order in which you add ingredients.  
First, mix luke warm water with the yeast (The warmth of the water will help activate the yeast).
Next, add your sugar, which also helps with yeast activating.
Follow this with flour, oil, and salt.
Salt is an inhibitor for yeast growth, so it should be added at the very end.
**I also added some oregano at this time for extra flavoring--it's your chance to get creative!

Mix the dough with a hook attachment on 2nd speed for approximately 7 minutes, or until the dough pulls away from the edges of the bowl.

Next, form the dough into a ball, place it in an oiled bowl, and cover it with a dish towel.
Allow the dough to proof for at least an hour, or until it has doubled in volume.

Punch the proofed dough to deflate it and place it on a lightly floured surface.  
Gently kneed the dough into a ball and place it into an oiled cake or pie tin.
Use your finger tips to form dimples into the top of the dough, repeating this motion every ten minutes until the dough completely fills the pan.

At this point, add any toppings you'd like.
I enjoy brushing the bread with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkling it with sea salt.

 Bake the bread at 500 degrees for about 8 minutes, or until golden.
It's SO good for sandwiches or as a side for soup or pasta.

Have a delicious day :)

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