Man shall not live by bread alone, but it sure makes it easier - right? I know this will be hard to believe, but I've been working-out and really paying more attention to my health lately. I'm being very successful and I already have more energy and feel like all the cylinders are firing, ya know? One would think flavorful Italian Focaccia Bread would be the opposite of that, but it actually helps.
Italian Focaccia Bread (with toppings)
Because quality beats quantity in almost everything about food for me, the experience of making my own bread (machine or by hand), controlling the ingredients and adding the flavors to my liking means I will not wolf-down slice after slice of tasteless processed bread that will end up as a ball of glub in the pit of my stomach. I've always liked the saying, "Everything in moderation, including moderation". As I attempt to reduce my servings, my sugar, my calories, etc. etc., I also must make time for foods that feed me emotionally. Otherwise, I turn into a three-year-old and feel punished. Having a great tasting, earthy piece of Focaccia with a small slice of salumi or mozzarella and arugula salad not only fills me up with food, but also with a sense of time well spent and I can still be eating healthy. If that sounds weird, it may be because you aren't allowing yourself to be as important as you make others, or your kids, or partner. I was brought up with a deep sense of others and frankly get embarrassed at time spent on myself. You can bet, I'm working on it though and I'm starting to like it...a lot. :DMy adult daughter gives me a hard time because I love and over-use the example of the airline message the attendants tell you before take-off, "...Put your mask on first, before you try to help others." It's my fav metaphor and she busts me for using it way too much. But it's so true, for everything!
If it sounds like Italian Focaccia can change your life, well then you've been taking me too literally, hahaha. However, I think slowing down the shoveling and taking a little more energy with what gives me energy has already made me more successful.On a side note: You've probably heard of SlowFood by now, but have you read what it's really about at SlowFood.com or SlowFoodUSA.org . They have an insightful way of encouraging all of us to return to placing value on what we put into our planets, our bodies and our minds.Here's a simple Bread Machine way to make Italian Focaccia: (you can also make it by hand)
RECIPE: Italian Focaccia with Rosemary & Onions or Focaccia with Tomatoes & Cracked Pepper
(** for a Gluten Free recipe look at GlutenFreeGirl.com)
1 1/2 cups Water
2 2/3 cups Bread Flour
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tbls. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
2 Tbls. Olive oil (plus more for topping)
2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
If you're using a Bread Machine:
1) Place ingredients into the canister in the order as given. Choose the Basic Dough mode.
2) When the dough is ready, spread out on a parchment lined and oiled baking sheet. Punch down in dimples by using your finger-tips, all over the dough. Let rise in a draft-free area for about 1-1 1/2 hours.
3) Sprinkle with your choice of toppings, drizzle with olive oil and bake in a 350F oven until baked through, crunchy on the outside, yet soft on the inside (about 20 - 30 minutes).
If making by hand:
1) Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water (about 100F) by letting it sit for about 15 minutes in a bowl until frothy.
2) In a large bowl add the flours, salt, sugar, oil, the remaining 1 1/4 cup water and the yeast/water. Mix with a heavy wooden spoon until you have a rough dough.
3) Flour dust a work table or board and empty the dough onto the board. Knead for about 10 minutes until you've reached a nice stretchy dough. (This can also be done in a mixing bowl with a dough hook)
4) Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl for about 1 1/2 hours, covered.
5) Punch dough down, knead the dough for just a few turns on the board, then spread out on a parchment lined and oiled baking sheet. Punch down in dimples by using your finger-tips, all over the dough. Let rise in a draft-free area for about 1-1 1/2 hours more.
6) Sprinkle with your choice of toppings, drizzle with olive oil and bake in a 350F oven until baked through, crunchy on the outside, yet soft on the inside (about 20 - 30 minutes).
Toppings as shown:
onions cut into slivers
roasted tomato slices
fresh rosemary sprigs
Italian dried herbs