Bread is the life. Focaccia in honor of my friend’s fanfiction.

Sweet Loki, it’s been too long since I’ve posted anything, but between a bout of depression and then a temp job that lasted a month, I haven’t had the time or energy to really cook, much less post to my blog.  That will all hopefully change, however, as I’m feeling much better than i had been there for a while.  Recently, a friend of mine has been writing a Supernatural fanfiction with a friend of hers called PWP: Pie Without Plot that is absolutely delicious.  Almost literally, except that you can’t actually taste what’s in it on your computer.  See, in it, Dean and Sam and Castiel have opened a bakery.  Isn’t that enough of a tagline to get you interested?  It was enough for me!  And it’s been enough for the whole of their audience, many of whom now sit and read each new installment over their breakfast and tea, and many even more have either gone bread-crazy buying in the store or baking themselves.

I am one of the latter.

In one of the most decadent chapters, Castiel makes focaccia and certain things ensue from that that are…ahem…delicious in and of itself, but one of the results is that everyone who’ve been reading this fic have been buying, baking, and eating focaccia.  I had wanted to make it before tonight, but I just hadn’t had the energy with work.  So now that I’m currently unemployed again, I wanted to celebrate my bit of freedom with a nice spaghetti dinner (I should probably blog about how I make my sauce at some point) and focaccia.  I’d always heard that this was one of the easiest breads to make, and it is.

Starla, I hope that this post makes you feel happy!

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon white sugar

2-3 teaspoons yeast

1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

Herbs and garlic for taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 425-450º F (depending on how hot your oven heats to).

In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Yeast and sugar in warm water

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour; stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

Dough unrisen in EVOO

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly. Pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the dough with oil and sprinkle with salt and herbs if you’re using them.

Dough risen Dough on oiled pan Dough with herbs

In the last photo, the focaccia is topped not just with salt, but a blend of garlic salt, onion powder, rosemary, and thyme, which I put together into my mortar and pestle and crushed together until it was blended.

Italian herbs crushed

But I’ve seen with focaccia that you can put anything (or nothing!) on it or in it.  Whatever suits your personal tastes.  I want to make one at some point that has slices of red onion on it as well as garlic and rosemary, and I’ve even seen some with black olives, which is also a consideration (perhaps black olives and sliced mushrooms!).  I think the possibilities are endless.

And finally, bake focaccia in preheated oven for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness. If you like it moist and fluffy, then you’ll have to wait just about 10 minutes. If you like it crunchier and darker in the outside, you may have to wait 20 minutes.

Focaccia cooked Focaccia cooked and cut

I was initially concerned when I saw how brown this was (I’d cooked it at 450º for 10 minutes rather than the 475º that the original recipe called for because I know that my apartment oven tends to cook things really hot, especially on darker pans like what I’d used).  Next time, I think I’m going to try it on 425º and see how it does.

And finally, the fluffy on the inside, crunchy on the outside focaccia on my plate with my spaghetti.  The very last photo is my plate with my beer.  It’s a local brew called Lobo from Pedernales, Texas, and I hadn’t had it before.  I decided to give it a try, and I have to say that I’m impressed.  It’s reminiscent of Harp, but perhaps just a hint bitter, which surprisingly I like in this beer.  Normally, I don’t like beer/lager/ale that’s really bitter (so I tend to avoid all brown ales), but this one has a really robust flavor, very yeasty (goes great with dinner!).

Focaccia and spaghetti Focaccia and spaghetti and beer

One of the fun things about making focaccia tonight was that just when I started to make the dough, “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas started to play on my Pandora, and any fan of Supernatural will recognize that as the song that plays repeatedly at the beginning of almost every episode of every season.   Talk about kismet!  That or it was Dean and Castiel’s way of peeking in and blessing my adventure into focaccia-making.

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