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Experiments in bread making

I picked up some sour dough starter from my grandmother a few weekends ago, hoping to create tasty sourdough loaves for sandwiches and to eat with dinner and such.
Well, the sourdough experiments have all gone awry, so to boost my bread-making ego I went back to making regular old dry yeast bread.
This loaf turned out beautiful. I topped it with melted butter, fresh chopped rosemary, crushed garlic and dried tomatoes. The tomatoes turned out to be a bad idea because they just burned, but everything else was perfect.
before baking
I started perfecting my focaccia bread after I spent $4 for a loaf at a farmers market.
As I was eating the $4 bread, I thought to myself, "I bet I can make this cheaper."
Sure enough, after a little googling I found a recipe and discovered there were only five ingredients.

I start with dry yeast and warm water in a small container, stir it up till it's creamy and smooth.
The finished product.

Then I add the yeast water to about 2.5 cups of flour and add water till i'm happy with the texture.
I tend to bake based on experimentation over recipes. There are lots of great focaccia bread recipes online, some are more complex than others. It's suppose to be a flat bread,  my most recent experiment was pretty puffy, but I liked it.
After I mix it all together and get it so it's not too sticky, I make it into a ball, put it in a oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth and let it rise. Should take a half hour to an hour.
Once it's risen place I place it on my baking sheet, cover with olive oil, sea salt and anything else I feel like spicing it up with. Rosemary, garlic, olives, parmesan cheese, you can get as creative as you want.
I cook it for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
It's so easy and people are usually fairly impressed.

I'll keep you posted on how any future sourdough experiments turn out. I think I might try again tomorrow, which means I need to make a sourdough "sponge" tonight. Wish me luck!


Abbie Reed said…
Oh I LOVE making Focaccia! I haven't made bread in forever 'cause I wasn't allowed to have it for a while (poor husband and kids). I'd love to hear about the sourdough, I had a pet sourdough starter once named Steve... but his life was cute terribly short by bugs, it was not pretty.
Kate said…
Yum, yum, yum! In Morocco, bread is eaten as the staple dish for every meal, four times a day. In my family, there are around 8 people at every meal, so you can only imagine how much bread is needed! Remarkably, my host mother bakes all the bread for the house, by herself every day! That, and your wonderful posts about breadmaking, have really inspired me to start baking bread when I get back! I will definitely be bugging you for some more recipes! :D
Forevermelody said…
Ooooh, thinking about the bread in Jordan makes me miss the Middle East so much my heart hurts. Next experiment - Pita!
I remember being in Jordan and really feeling the scripture about Christ being our daily bread driven home in a big way. Did you feel that too Abbie?

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