Full disclosure: I started another blog. I even posted a photo on it, and started writing my first post. Then, as I started customizing the template, I realized that it looked strangely similar to this very blog. I guess I'm not immune to New Year Fever, to new beginnings, clean slates, fresh starts, etc. But one of my goals for this year is to exercise perseverance, to put in the time that doing what I want and getting better at what I do takes. I am easily distracted and discouraged, so this is the year of focusing, of figuring out, of improving. I'm afraid that I'll become a "jack of all trades, master of none," so this is the year of mastery, for better or worse. Even if I never own a bakery, I still love the craft of it, the art and silence, the intimacy with food, the generous rewards of breaking a bread that I have made.
My other blog, it was called 365 Chances, because what is a year if not that? 365 chances to invent, to discover, to do, do, do. To read and write letters, to share and commune. There are so many things this year can be, so many chances.
The first chance I've taken is to start making my own bread. Inspired by Emma's goal to bake a loaf of bread a week, I've decided to get a jumpstart on my dream of owning my own bakery by learning the trade of breadmaking. I have to say, my first attempt was a hit. Here she is:
This recipe is from Vegetarian Bible:
Tomato & Rosemary Focaccia
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, extra for garnish
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
6 oven-dried tomato halves
1 tsp sea salt
Sift together the flour and salt, then stir in yeast and rosemary. Make a well in the center and pour in 4 tbsp of the olive oil; mix quickly. Stir the lukewarm water in slowly. Turn onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 2 minutes.
Now brush a bowl with oil. Shape the dough into a ball, put it in the bowl, and cover with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Brush a cookie sheet with oil. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and punch with your fist, then knead for one minute. Put the dough onto the cookie sheet, cover with a damp dish towel, and let rise for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half. Whisk the remaining oil with a little water in the bowl; dip your fingers into it and poke dimples into the dough. Place the tomato halves into the dimples, drizzle with remaining oil mixture, and sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary sprigs.
Lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake the bread for 20 minutes.
And then sit down and eat warm bread that you just made.