There’s something about this time of year that has us feeling rejuvenated around food as we find ourselves wanting to be surrounded by yummy, homemade goodness. Soup has always been a staple in our home, and it’s no surprise that we go through our fair share of bread to go with it. While we’re not guys who care about carbohydrates and bread is something we eat every day, it hasn’t been until just recently that we considered making it ourselves.
When it comes to baking we believe that you either have the magic touch necessary, or you don’t. Some people are cut out for it, while others may need some hand-holding.
For us, our abilities around baking are split: Jeremy is skilled at making kick-ass dough, and Adrian is pretty much useless with a measuring spoon. It’s just the way we’re built, and we’re okay with that. But everyone is different, and if you haven’t given baking a try – and we mean beyond making chocolate chip cookies – you really ought to give it a shot.
This past week, we decided to tackle making homemade bread for the first time, and it was a life-changing experience. Okay, that’s probably a slight exaggeration, but after our golden loaf of goodness emerged from the oven, and we were done gushing over our accomplishments, we looked at each other and asked ‘why did this take us so long to do ourselves?’ The answer? Obviously it’s easier to buy in a store, but made from scratch this tasted so much better than any generic store bought bread, and that’s why we both agreed then and there it would be homemade from now on.
We wanted to share the first recipe we tackled, a simple and hearty Focaccia, which we found at allrecipes.com. It had a deliciously crispy, thin outer crust, and a moist, slightly dense consistency that was perfect dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
To make homemade Focaccia bread, you’ll need:
– 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon white sugar
– 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
– 1 pinch ground black pepper
– 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
– 1 cup water
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
– 1 cup mozzarella
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients together, then add the oil and water. Mix until everything is well blended, then knead on a floured surface until your mixture is elastic in texture. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth, and keep in a warm place for 20 minutes, until it rises. Punch down your dough, and place on an oiled baking sheet, forming it into a rough rectangular shape. Sprinkle the top with grated cheese, and let bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
Baking bread is easy, inexpensive, and really quite rewarding. Give it a try, and who knows, you may discover some hidden talents you never knew you had.
Together since 2009, The Food Gays are two Vancouver men who love food. Join them every two weeks right here on GayVancouver.Net as they bring you something tasty.