Bread Will Be Bread ...
The beauty of bread is that it's damn near impossible to screw it up.
People are daunted by the notion of baking bread, but honestly, I don't know why.
I learned how to bake bread when I was 8. Perhaps that's why it seems easy to me. Kids don't know enough to think about all the things that can go wrong in a given situation. They just plow ahead with whatever interests them at the time. I love that about kids. I need to remember that about myself, that there was a time when I just did for the sake of doing.
And such it is with bread. Dough feel a bit too dry? Add a bit more liquid. Dough feel a bit too wet? Add a bit more flour. So long as you don't kill your yeast, odds are you're going to end up with something edible.
Last night, I felt like baking again, so into the kitchen I went to make my usual loaves. But then English Teacher Dave called and it's tricky to knead while holding a phone, and I wasn't inclined to dig my headset out of its drawer and the hour was getting late, besides. I didn't want to stay up long enough to finish the bread, let it rise, bake it, and let it cool enough to slice it before putting it in the freezer.
So I cradled the phone in my shoulder long enough to give the dough a few turns, I plopped it in a bowl in which I had poured a bit of olive oil, covered it, and put it in the fridge to rise overnight.
I settled into my comfy chair to finish my chat with Dave, and later, I headed to bed.
This morning, I pulled the bowl of dough out of the fridge, oiled a pan, pushed the dough into place, letting it rest a bit both to warm up and to relax so I could push it into the corners. I crushed some garlic and mixed it with olive oil and brushed that on the dough. And then I rubbed some dried thyme between my palms and sprinkled that about. And some coarse sea salt. And a few passes with the pepper mill. And I popped the pan into a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes and figured either it would turn out or it wouldn't.
I'm happy to report that it did. I should have oiled the pan a bit more. The loaf was a little fussy about releasing, but I slid my spatula around the perimeter and it acquiesced.
And I let it cool a bit and cut it into squares and handed one to mom, who had stopped by, and took one for myself, and we noshed and declared this particular experiment a success.
So it's kind of focaccia, but without olive oil in the dough because I didn't set out to make focaccia, per se. I just baked it in that style. But it's right tasty, a bit too heavy on the sea salt this time, but it will toast up nicely or make a nice sandwich or be happy to be eaten plain.
And my house smells amazing.