Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Continues to suck

Yesterday about the only good thing that happened was I got a lot of work done on the information architecture course I'm going to teach starting July 6th - and this despite the jackhammering in the basement of my building. It was way too hot, John was in a bad, pessimistic and down on himself mood, and I overflowed the laundry sink by washing the cat-hair-covered fleece throw & full size blanket that are usually wadded up on the couches.

I folded all the laundry, though, and we ate tuna melts on my home made focaccia - I believe I have perfected the sandwich focaccia. This is based on Carol Field:

2/3 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 teaspoons (scant TBLS, or 1 package) active dry yeast
1 cup flour

Measure the water into a mixing bowl, and sprinkle the yeast over. Let it sit until the yeast foams, about 10 minutes - if it doesn't foam, throw it out and start over with new yeast. Add the flour, and mix with a rubber spatula to make a soft batter-y dough. Cover (I like to just put a plate on top of the bowl) and let rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour (30 minutes is enough, but if you want to go for a walk or something, an hour is OK).

the sponge
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup white wine (room temperature)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups flour, approximately
2 teaspoons salt

Add the liquids to the sponge, and then add the salt and flour. If you have a stand mixer, do this in the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until the dough clears the bowl adding a little more flour, by the tablespoon, if necessary. Increase the speed to medium, and let the mixer knead for 3 minutes. By hand, after the liquids, start by mixing in one cup of flour, and then adding the rest more gradually. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and satiny. Form the dough into a ball, transfer to an oiled bowl, and turn the dought once to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 1 hour.

Shaping and baking:
Pour 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan. The key to getting the focaccia the right thickness for sandwiches is baking in the 13 x 9 x 2, standard casserole size, pan. Scrape the dough into the pan, approximately on top of the oil, and turn to coat it. With oiled fingers, press the dough out to the edges of the pans as well as you can. Let rest 15 minutes, then stretch again, dimpling the surface of the dough with your fingers. Let the focaccia rise about 45 minutes, until puffy.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Fill a spray bottle with water. Place the focaccia in the oven and mist the walls of the oven with water. Do this three more times in the next 10 minutes, then let the focaccia bake about 20 - 25 minutes more - undisturbed - you can check it, but don't spray it anymore! - until it is golden brown.

Naturally, in keeping with the overall suckiness of the day, the Brewers lost while I was folding the laundry - and it was just about the dictionary definition of a sucky game - it was 3 - 0 Twinkies when I turned on the radio; the Brewers got their score up to 3, but the Twins scored like 4 runs on some Brewer fielding mistakes, and all this happened in the first four innings; the game just dragged on and on and the Brewers never scored - they left guys stranded on base almost every inning - 12 runners in all, according to the news this a.m. Their manager said the " 7-3 loss to the Twins Tuesday night at Miller Park may have been the worst game the Brewers have played all season."

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