Since the end-times are upon us, I figured may as well have fun doing some DIY. I'm joking, though it's challenging times I don't think it's anything we can't get past. I wouldn't believe the media too much, everyone has an agenda to make things seem dreadful and scare people into giving them full control of everything. Scared people tend to think and act less rationally and more emotionally. Keep your wits about you as they try to manipulate things into action we normally would vehemently oppose.
In this crazy quarantine scenarios so many of us are living with, I decided what better to do than to see if I can figure out how to make our own food. We've all been so accustomed to just going to the store and buying the finished product. When you do that though, you lose so much of the understanding of what goes into it and the ingredients behind it. I will admit, until now, I've only really dipped my pinky toe in the water of making all of my own food, but after doing this, my wife (@ssiena, I am getting her to post something soon!) and I really appreciated it and learned how easy it is to make our own food! It felt great to be able to make it successfully, it gave us hope that we could sustain ourselves a heck of a lot longer than a lot of people we know who depend on buying things pre-packaged from the stores. That pre-packaged food flies off the shelves a hell of a lot faster than the ingredients to make all of it on your own.
One excellent, albeit unplanned, outcome of what we are living and dealing currently with is that making your own foods is so much healthier for your bodies. Freshly made food has little to no preservatives and we control what we put into it. This makes it a form of natural medicine in my opinion, since we all have to eat, we should try to eat and make the best things we can. It's just one step we can take to improve our situation, both mentally since it keeps you engaged and active, and physically since it means you are making (for the most part) a better product than you could buy at the store. Mental
The particular bread I was making was a simple Focaccia. It's hard to be Italian and not make your own stuff! We thankfully make our own sauce but now we can add a nice Focaccia to this, and soon we will be making a batch of Pasta I will absolutely share once we do it.
I have to first give credit to the blog that we got the recipe off. I've followed on Fakebook this page for years, Cooking with Nonna. It's run by a great Italian cooker from New York (of course) and she shares a hell of a lot of awesome recipes that are from her family and other places. Cooking with Nonna The food she makes on her blog reminds me of my time in Italy and I've even discovered some fantastic new recipes as well!
The ingredients we needed were so simple, it was great!
1/4 a tablespoon of yeast
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 a cup of warm water (<= 100 degrees)
6 tablespoons of olive oil (we use extra virgin now, tastes much better)
Making it was equally as awesome and easy. First you need to combine the yeast and warm water in a bowl. I learned after the whole process was done that the bowl I used to do all of this was actually way too big. Next time I will use a smaller bowl but I had no idea. You need to let the yeast and warm water combination sit for some time. I used this time to measure out and combine the cup of flour and the teaspoon of salt into a separate bowl so we can mix it together. This lets the salt be properly mixed around so you don't bite into the bread on one end and get a big mouthful of salt, gross!
Once you let the yeast sit for 8 minutes or so to activate a bit more, you are going to want to slowly start to add in the flour. I added it a bit at a time and it took me 5 different pours to combine all of the flour in with the mixture. I whisked it all slowly and made sure to scrape the sides of the bowl so all of the flour was properly mixed in. Hidden contest for those who read whole posts, what's behind the bowl below? Win some free hive for being the first to point it out! I think .5 hive is a decent prize.
It was actually starting to look like a real bread batter. At first I thought it was going to be a soupy mess but the flour and yeast combination really does make a bread!
Once I was finished mixing all of the batter together, some recipes say to let it sit so the bread can rise, some say pop it in the oven. This particular one said pop it in the oven. I don't think we will be doing that part next time, but more on that later. I was letting it sit for a little bit while I coated the bowl with olive oil. The olive oil bowl was where I planned on letting the whole mixture sit to rise but turned out the recipe didn't call for that, more on that below.
With the recipe we were using, the written one said to let the dough rise. If you watched the video however they said to put the bread in the oven at 100 degrees for an hour. Our oven didn't have a setting for 100 degrees, the lowest was 170 so that didn't work out as planned. I also didn't know how big of a pan I needed to use for the recipe. This pan was way too big, as you can see with the picture below. The olive oil didn't coat the pan enough and I couldn't spread it out enough where it covered the pan while not breaking apart.
Needless to say, this doesn't look like the normal Focaccia bread you see at Italian stores.. It looks a lot like a corn bread or something lol. It was delicious though, thankfully!
I cooked it in the oven at 475 for 25 minutes, though I should have taken it out at possibly 23 or 22, since you can see it was a little too crispy in some areas.
Not having the right pan, and not having the pan be oiled enough leads to a bit of a messy looking Focaccia. Thankfully in the true spirit of conservation though, after I was done sharing the bread with our son, I came back an hour later and actually chipped up those really crispy pieces and they are now some great Focaccia crackers!
What are you doing?
What are you doing for yourself in these times that is a DIY activity you may not have done before, or even ones you have! It's empowering to be able to do something like this, especially as easy as it was. I would enjoy hearing from whoever does it, so please let me know!
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