Lately I've been thinking about perspective a lot.
Like when I'm rolling my eyes because there's a long line up in the express lane at the grocery store or tapping my feet furiously at the lagging elevator. Sometimes I freak out if my brownies don't turn out just right.
It's not like I'm going hungry. I should be damn happy that I can even make brownies! And who cares about waiting 2 minutes and 36 seconds for an elevator. There are people who wait years to get a kidney transplant and have to suffer the whole way through it.
I planned to go jogging outside today and now it's raining. Small things.
I broke my favourite coffee mug. Small things.
I spilled cranberry juice on my new white skirt - it's ruined. Who really cares?
Traffic. Uggghhh!! Traffic! Everyone hates traffic. Deal with it.
We plan and God laughs. Truth.
There's no way of knowing what the future will bring us, and material things suck. When we're gone people will remember the experiences we had and the actions we made rather than the things we owned. Small things. They don't matter.
Baking bread is also a small thing. It's not difficult. Don't be scared of it - you can honestly do this.
Focaccia sounds fancy because it sort of is. It's a decadent flat bread practically baked in olive oil - it has a ton of flavour compared to most breads. There's olive oil inside, underneath and on top. Heaven.
Even though it is fancy, it is entirely doable.
First the moderately moist dough needs to rise. It needs to at least double in size, so this means forgetting about it for about 2 hours.
Focaccia dough is a bit more wet and sticky than regular bread dough, like this Spicy Herb & Garlic Loaf. Don't fret. Don't let it get to you. Handle it gently and resist the temptation to add too much more flour. Once it is finished kneading, it should be able to clear the sides of the bowl but still feel very soft and moist, not gooey.
After it rises it will be super spongy and moist. Turn it out onto a well-oiled baking sheet and gently push it out to the edges and toward the corners.
Let it rise again for about 1 hour. It will get all soft and pillowy - the perfect ripeness for you to just poke your fingers in there and leave little indentations. These pockets will serve as little wells to hold pools of olive oil.
Pools of olive oil. I don't need to convince you of that do I?
Bake it to perfection.
It will be so golden, just like a sunrise
Tear off the corner and go to town while it is still warm. At least that's what you'd do if your name is Christina.
Beneath that savoury, crunchy crust is soft, pillowy fluff. This is definitely one of those things in life worth waiting for.
There's a reason why Jesus broke bread at his last supper. It's because it's freakin' delicious!
Rosemary & Cracked Black Pepper Focaccia
Makes one 13x9-inch flatbread
1 ¼ cups tepid water, no hotter than 110 degrees F
½ tsp sugar
3 tsp instant dry yeast
2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for drizzling and greasing
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
1 tsp salt
2 tsp minced rosemary, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Stir together warm water and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and then sprinkle yeast evenly over top. Stir gently and then let stand until the mixture is foamy and frothy, 5-10 minutes.
If yeast does not foam and froth after 5 minutes, toss it and start over again with new yeast because the water was probably too hot and it killed the yeast, or your yeast is dead (bummer).
Add olive oil, flour, salt, rosemary and black pepper. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with a dough hook and stir on low speed (not higher than speed 2) for 10-12 minutes. After the first 2 minutes, scrape down the bowl and add up to 1/4 cup more flour as needed so that the dough does not stick too much to the sides of the bowl.
After 10-12 minutes of mixing, the ball of dough should be smooth, supple and very soft.
Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil. Roll the dough in the bowl to coat it with a thin layer of oil. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and allow to rest in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Brush a 13x9-inch baking sheet rather generously with olive oil and set aside.
Turn dough out onto the baking sheet and press it out to the edges, pushing out the air. If it springs back too much, let it rest for about 10 minutes before pushing it out again. It should feel wet – that’s what you want. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise again for another hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Drizzle olive oil generously over the bread and use your finger tips to press down and make dimples all over the surface of the dough so that the olive oil sinks in and it forms little pools. Sprinkle rosemary and sea salt liberally over top. Bake until crisp and evenly golden on the top and bottom, about 25 minutes. It is ready when it sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven, slide the bread off of the pan and onto a wire rack to cool.