September 27, 2009


I could feel the heat. It was most definitely alive. Warm and ever expanding. You could smell the yeast, even with the windows open and ceiling fan going.

I poured the fluid, bubble rich mass into the oiled sheet pan. With my hands coated with olive oil I coaxed the dough into all four corners. There it would rise for another two hours, undisturbed.

At 475 degrees dressed with a glaze of red sauce, oregano and a dusting of parm it would bake for 15 minutes.

Our eyes were lit up. Our stomachs greedy. The Italian sliced. We both held our breath, waiting for the first glimpse of crumb. 

A sigh of relief. Beautiful. Exactly what we were striving for. Infinite tunnels of air colliding and joining. A delicate maze created with flour, salt, water, yeast, sugar and heat.

The charge of making bread, any kind of bread, is a serious charge indeed. Figuring out how a recipe works in your kitchen can be frustrating. So many considerations from the accuracy of oven temperature to air quality and then some. We're still learning what makes for good bread in our kitchen.

Tonights foccacia success was years in the making. Years of testing, failing and trying...trying...trying. And that's just one type of bread. Don't get me started on how long it took us to get our ciabatta recipe down. But it was worth every minute. We take bread seriously in this house. Our expectations are high. We can't help it.

Six hours to rise. 5 minutes to prep. 15 minutes to bake. Less than 20 minutes to eat.


  1. yay for yeast! and that oven shot is amaaazzing.

  2. I was happy with that shot too. :)

  3. I have never ever had foccacia success, only some dreary failures. I'm tempted to ask for your recipe and tips but I know the only way is trying, failing, dusting off and trying again...
    ..I'd still like your recipe.
    you are right bread is a serious buisiness.

  4. Rachel,
    Here's what I do to get my results...
    1 1/2 cups warm water (between 70 and 90 degrees)
    3/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
    1 teaspoon sugar or honey
    While the yeast is feeding off the sugar in the warm water I whisk together 1 teaspoon of salt with 3 cups of all purpose flour. I add the wet to the dry and using the dough hook I mix on the lowest speed of my mixer for about 5 minutes. Things will look soupy. I splash some olive oil into a medium bowl to coat and transfer the dough into it. I then spread even more olive oil on the face of the dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or tea towel and place in a warm spot (I place it on the windowsill at the front of my house were I receive full sun). Let dough rise for 4 hours or more. After 4 hours pour the dough into a sheet pan that has been well oiled. Coat your fingers and the face of the dough with oil so you can spread it to all four corners. The dough shouldn't resist. Let it rise for another 2 hours. About 30 minutes before you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. I remove all the racks in my oven and place our pizza stone on the bottom. We also have an oven thermometer, priceless addition to kitchen cooking arsenal. It doesn't take long to bake, just 15 minutes or so. Good luck!

  5. thankyou, grazie, thankyou...WE will let you know xxx

  6. Prego! I will keep my fingers crossed.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.