Thursday, January 24, 2013

For the love of bread

Today I am torn between editing a sock pattern which has been languishing on my desk for a few months and making focaccia with sourdough starter.  Plus, I have an eye doctor appointment.

Obviously, the focaccia dough can be made now and set aside to rest and rise.  But in order to make the dough I have to make an adjustment to the recipe because my sourdough starter is wet.  The recipe calls for a starter that is more dough-like.  This is always a conundrum for me.  I want the math to be simple, as in a simple ratio of flour to water.

Flour to water ratios are rarely simple, usually involving decimal points.  In the US, we are allergic to decimal points.  Our weights and measure system can't be bothered with units of 10.  My solution is to round up or down as the case maybe in the flour to water ratio and then adjust based on the feel of the dough.  Too sticky, add a bit more flour.  Too dry, add a bit more water.  All measurement is cast out the window in these situations.

The other thing that the recipe calls for is unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably organically grown and stone-ground.  I don't have any of this in my kitchen at the moment.  Instead of running down to Whole Foods (which I'm avoiding at the moment for soft political reasons) and buying such flour, I will settle for Trader Joe's unbleached all-purpose flour.  Besides, it is raining.  Otherwise, I have all the exact ingredients called for.

So here’s the plan.  Make focaccia dough with half the additional yeast called for to allow for a slow rise to bring out more flavor.  Edit the pattern.  Go to the eye doctor.  Check on the dough to see how much it has risen.  Continue to edit the pattern.  Check dough; prepare it for  shaping and second rise.  Finish editing pattern.  Check dough and prepare it for third rise.  This is the fun one because you get to poke it all over with your fingers and drizzle it with olive oil.  The oil will pool in some of the dimples, looking a bit like golden ponds.  Bake the focaccia and eat while still warm.

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