I actually got this started yesterday evening, on Day 1 of Seven Days of Sourdough, as there was a 12-24 hour fermentation period. The original recipe from Cultures for Health promised a simple bread, “Italian in origin and beautiful in simplicity and flavor.” However, right off the bat, my spidey sense was tingling; I might have bitten off more than I could chew on this one.
At one point, the instructions said, “Add the flour and mix until a sticky dough begins to form. Knead in the bowl with wet hands for several minutes…”
Well, even after adding an additional cup of flour, there was no way to knead the very wet, sticky “dough”. But not to be deterred by such trivialities, I forged ahead. After all, I’ve never made focaccia before. Maybe it’s supposed to look like cake batter…?
For toppings, I nixed the garlic and just used rosemary from our herb garden and coarse desert salt from a past trip to South Africa.
My second stumbling block was when I realized I didn’t have a “large baking sheet with a lip all the way around”. I had two small-ish baking sheets and thought, easy-peasy, I’ll just divide the dough into two. All that handling effectively deflated the dough, achieving what the instructions explicitly stated not to do. The result was…
Nevertheless, I’ve made it this far, so into the oven they went. Surprised doesn’t begin to describe how I felt when this came out…
Hurray for forging ahead in the face of almost certain failure!
Verdict: I really had my doubts about this one. But I have to say it came out much better than I could ever have anticipated. The sourdough flavor was subtle, but definitely held its own against the rosemary. Dip with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper, and I could eat this every day!