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.