This post, originally written in August 2007, is from the archives.
This morning, the kids are in need of some fresh bread, and this Tomato Herb Focaccia is what they want. It makes my heart so happy that they love certain things I love to bake. My grandmother was a baker, and I have many happy memories of her baking. I want those happy memories for my kids too.
Its funny to read this post today. My life was so different back then, and yet the need for rest is the same. I hope you find a quiet place of rest today-- be it a rest that is quiet and calm (as I chose five years ago, my young children away at school) or filled with joy and energy (as it is on this Monday morning with teenagers at home.) With love ~ Kellie
What you will need:
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 1 1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup olive oil (divided) (plus extra for the pan)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more if you like)
- Two small Roma tomatoes (opt.)
- 1 cup (or less, or more) Feta Cheese (opt)
- 2 tsp. Italian Herbs (opt)
How you will do it:
Take 1/3 cup of water and the honey, and zap it in the microwave about 15 seconds so your water is warm to the touch and the honey is dissolved. Sprinkle your yeast on the top and gently stir it up. Set it aside and let it rest. About 10 minutes, so it's creamy and frothy.
Now we make the sponge:
Take 2 cups of your flour and mix it with the salt. When your yeast has sufficiently rested you can add it to your flour and salt mix. Add about a third of the oil.
Make sure your 1 cup of remaining water is warm to the touch. Your dough will be happier if he's kept warm.
Then add a bit of the warm water to the mix, keep adding until its thick, but very wet. You will use almost all your water. If it's too thin don't worry about it, today we are resting. It will fix itself later.
Cover that baby sponge up with a kitchen towel for about 10 minutes, He needs a rest. Meanwhile slice up those tomatoes. And get your pan ready for company. Spruce up the jelly roll pan with a good brush of olive oil. Turn the oven to 450 degrees F.
Make yourself a glass of iced tea. We are resting.
Next we add the remaining flour, carefully. Using the bread hook, incorporate the flour until just mixed through, but don't work the dough too much. It won't be happy. When the dough is no longer flour-y, place it on the floured cutting board.
Sprinkle some flour on top. Put some olive oil on your hands (the dough will be sticky). Gently knead it a few times. Not too much. We are resting.
Work the dough into a ball, brush with some olive oil. Cover. He's happier that way.
He needs to rest. About 10 minutes.
Get your pan near you. After the dough has rested, gently place him on the pan.
Roll the dough out. Don't be too rough.
You'll squeeze out all that happy, yeasty, restful, air.
It will spring back a lot on the pan, but take your time.
We are resting.
Take your tomatoes and spread them around.
Sprinkle your feta where you want it.
Add the herbs in dashes.
Drizzle the second (third) of your olive oil.
Place your dressed up dough boy in a draft free place and cover him up.
He must rest. For at least 30 minutes
Longer, if you live somewhere cold.
I place mine on top of the stove on another flipped over jelly roll pan.
That way it catches some of the warmth from the pre-heating oven, but not too much.
Here is the fun part. make little indentations with you finger tips in the top of the bread.
Then! Happiness with the olive oil! Drizzle the remaining oil on your masterpiece.
Use extra. I dare ya.
Pop into the oven for 15- 20 minutes. Shorter if you like your bread soft and pliable. Long if you like the outside crisp and the inside chewy.
Have a taste of rest.
Without rest this recipe is just flour, water and a couple of over-ripe tomatoes. Rest is what makes it good, tasty, nourishing. Rest makes it palatable, so the baker can eat it and have energy.
Today I will rest.
I will not go to the gym. I will not run. I will not go to a friends house. Nor do heavy cleaning. I will not shop.
Why? I knew you'd ask.
Because I need it.
I have been fighting a cold since Saturday. I can't shake it. I tried to ignore it. Push through it. Pretend it wasn't there.
The only way to get better will be to simply rest.
I know rest is important. Vitally important, not just when you are sick, but in life. Sometimes, I just forget. Like my kids, I don't want to miss anything.
Today on my list are restful things: I want to do some writing, some reading, and since I have time, some bread baking; Tomato, Feta, Herb Focaccia Bread.
Oh! and yes, I am doing some laundry because there is no rest from laundry...
Matthew 6:31 - "Come with me, to a quiet place, so you can rest." - Jesus