It’s the spring quarter, and I have yet to fully come to terms with the fact that this is the last nine weeks of my undergraduate studies at Northwestern. It’s weird because I’ve been so preoccupied with preparations for the future -- fellowships and medical school applications -- that I think I have not had a chance to truly appreciate the present.
Soo, this spring, I want to be able to enjoy my last months as a college student in Chicago, especially now that I know for sure that I will be leaving the city and spending the next year in Boston. Despite having ventured to the various parks, museums, shops, and neighborhoods of Chicago over the past four years, it feels like I’ve only just grazed the surface of what the city has to offer and there are still many new and exciting places to explore. Which is great. I have a list of things to do this last Chicago spring...like, bike down the lakeshore path to the city, see the Museum of Contemporary Art, try the Bongo Room, and relish another pistachio & honey ice cream from Jeni’s.
In the spirit of trying new things, I have decided to face my long-held fear of yeast, which is -- to be honest -- not grounded in any reality. Cue, focaccia.
Focaccia is the perfect beginner’s bread. Easy to make, no fuss, and no kneading necessary. It requires few ingredients outside of flour, warm water, and yeast. After a two-day slow rise and a second rise, you get a beautifully golden crusted focaccia with a satisfying chew and a springy flavorful top, packed with the flavors of rosemary, thyme, mozzarella, and other spices. Dip in olive oil to as a snacking bread, or slice in half to make a sandwich. Enjoy!
From Food52 | Yield: 6 - 10 servings
3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or high-gluten bread flour)
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 cup warm water
1/8 cup olive oil
Shredded mozzarella & parmesan cheese, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, garlic powder, for topping
Whisk together flour, salt, and yeast. Add warm water and stir by hand until sticky dough forms. Pour olive oil into container. Transfer dough to container, turn to coat, and cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator to rise for 1 or 2 full days.
Line 9 x 6.5 inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer dough to prepared pan. Spread out as much as possible. Place in warm place (oven, with light turned on) and let rise until doubled in size, approximately one hour. The dough should feel fluffy.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Pat focaccia to even thickness of approximately 1 inch on baking sheet. Dimple entire dough using fingertips (kind of like playing piano chords on the dough), and drizzle with olive oil. Add toppings. Bake 15 minutes, or until top is uniformly golden brown. Enjoy!
Storage: Store in air-tight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 5 days.