Elise's Focaccia - Part One

[Edit: This post was supposed to go up last night and there was a whole Pathetically Crappy Friday disaster with my internet/computer.  So pretend this is Friday. Thanks.]

Being back to work is not all it’s cracked up to be (okay, so has anyone ever said it was cracked up to be anything?). Even the two day week could not make up for the lameness that was my Friday. I don’t really feel like going to into all the ways my day sucked, mainly because I started typing it and I just sounded like a whiny baby. So it probably wasn’t as bad as my crankiness level would lead you to believe. In fact, it’s kind of pathetic in how mediocre the crappiness was.

But can I just say that confrontation and conflict, especially when I have to initiate it to stand up for myself, makes my stomach clench, my hands go clammy, and my chest tighten? Because it does all of those things and more. So that was part of the unpleasant roller-coaster I was on today. I’m very thankful it’s the weekend.

Tomorrow, my church is having a yard sale to benefit a young friend who was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. In addition to the normal yard sale wares, we’re selling baked goods homemade and donated by the ladies at church. Sister is making cookies (if she can ever find the elusive recipe that has sent her to tearing our kitchen to shreds) and I thought I would make focaccia. It’s a simple recipe I found in Better Homes and Gardens and kind if made into my thing. You know… The thing you always make when you need to contribute to a meal or event? It’s my thing.

In honor of Pathetically Crappy Friday, I’m going to share my thing with you. All zero of you. Zero plus Roommate, who has eaten this bread and liked it. So there’s that… Anyway, feel free to make it your thing. I don’t care; I don’t own it or anything. And it tastes really good, so it would be a shame not to share it. I found it in my Better Homes and Garden cookbook, but I may have changed it a little.  In the end, it looks like a pizza crust, but thicker. Kind of like a bread hubcap. And herby, salty, delicious hubcap.

[The recipe starts by making a sponge that ferments overnight, kind of like a sourdough starter. So I’ll post the process shots from the sponge part tonight and do a separate post tomorrow to cover the rest.]

Elise’s (Hubcap of) Focaccia

You will need these things:
All-Purpose Flour, Water, Italian Herbs (I use this handy-dandy grinder from McCormick), Salt, Coarse Salt (again, grinder), Olive Oil, and Active Dry Yeast.

[Things you should note: 1. My measuring cup is messed up, because Liar insisted on putting it in the dishwasher when it clearly states that it is not dishwasher safe; 2. The salt container is pretty beat up and may or may not be sporting tape on the top; 3. The salt container is supportive of breast cancer research, as is the Fleishmann’s yeast and I would love to tell you it’s because I am so socially conscious in my consumerism, but it’s really just because they were on sale; 4. I am in no way asserting that any of these brands are the best or anything like that… Again, sale.]

To make the sponge, start with a half cup of lukewarm water (not too hot or you’ll kill the yeast, not too cold or the yeast will not activate) and add a half cup of flour.
Then add a teaspoon of yeast.
Stir it all up.
Then cover it with cling wrap. Do yourself a favor and don’t use the generic kind.
It does this:
A lot. It doesn't cling to the bowl or the food.  Just itself...

[As you can tell, I’m making two batches. One will be herbed, one will be plain. We’ll get to that tomorrow]

Set it aside, somewhere warmish where it won’t get knocked over by a cat. Then come back in the morning to finish it off.

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