This morning I didn’t wake up until 10:30 am, so the focaccia got a late start today. Especially considering the fact that the yard sale started at 7:00 am. I’m not too fussed, though. I needed the sleep and the sale goes well into the afternoon. And if it doesn’t sell, I’ll just take it to the church picnic tomorrow. On a side note, were you aware that it is practically impossible for Christians to get together and not eat? Try it sometime. I dare you.
Anyway, to baking… At this point in the morning, the sponge looks something like this:
Spongy, right? It also smells all fermenty and yeasty and amazing. Too bad I can’t put that on the Internet…Okay, so then add a cup of warm water (again, not too warm or too cold or the yeast will fail).
Then add two teaspoons of regular salt. [This will be the plain batch, so salt is the only seasoning.]
Stir it up while making whooshing sounds. It helps. I promise.
Start adding the flour (up to four cups total) by the cup, mixing it all in before adding more.
You will probably add about two and a half cups in the bowl before it looks like this:
Then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour (about a cup and a half, maybe less).
When it’s elastic and firm (not sticky), form it into a round. Then grease a large bowl with cooking spray and put the dough in it, turning once to grease the whole thing. Like this:
Cover with a dishtowel, place in a warm spot in your kitchen, and let it rise for an hour.
While we’re waiting for it to rise, let’s take a look at the second batch. Here, I’ve already added the water and the salt to the sponge. Now I start grinding in the Italian herbs.
Feel free to go to town. I really don’t think it’s possible to over-herb this bread with the grinder. I’m pretty sure your arm would wear out before you did any lasting damage. Anyway, stir it up, add more if it doesn’t look flecky enough.
Then add the flour until it’s stiff enough to turn out and knead. Look how flecky!
And oh the aroma. Again, I wish I could put this smell on the Internet. Knead it, put it in a greased bowl, and set aside to rise for an hour.