Monday, September 8, 2008
Since I was a child, I have loved the smell of fresh, warm bread. Unfortunately, that smell was a treat I could find only at restaurants. I have very few complaints about my childhood, but every now and then I envy those who reminisce about the heavenly smells that continued to pour out of their mother's oven day after day, be it baked goods or homemade breads. That is a memory, I am resolute, that my future children will not be deprived of. But for now I'll stop being so melodramatic and will carry on with the more optimistic view.
The fact that my boyfriend is not the devoted sweeth tooth like I am (and often criticizes for my "always leave room for dessert" lifestyle), I am content with the fact that he is, like me, a bread fanatic. So in my recent attempts to master all things domestic (and to put more on the table than sugary, adorable treats) I have decided to progressively advance with baking homemade breads.
This herbed focaccia marks Day One and the warm, earthy smells of oregano, thyme, and basil that bombarded me as I opened the oven door could well have been fireworks celebrating "Day One's" victory.
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. 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 for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Day Two: I begin the conquest of the loaf.