The manner of our character changes when one is in hot water. Will the choices that we make change when we are under a pressing deadline? Do you become rattled or shaken and come up with excuses for the choices you’ve made, or do you become stronger and grow, cultivating a life grown through hot water situations. Much like yeast, one of the most complex organisms that I have ever worked with (besides kids…), when put into tepid water yeast makes the most of the situation. Rising to the occasion, using the right tools at its disposal, to get to the bigger and better things in life.
This past week I gave up an opportunity to live in a place that I could only dream was possible. In life, if the water is either too cold or the tools provided are just not right it is impossible to grow. In order to be the best versions of ourselves we must seek out the hot water opportunities for they are the situations that allow us to become the true versions of our better self.
Facaccia from Novi Ligure
For the Focaccia-
4 Cups (500g) all-purpose flour
1 Tblsp (12 g) fresh yeast, crumbled
1 C, 1 tblsp, 2 tsp (275 ml) lukewarm water
1 ½ tsp. (5g) malt or ¾ tsp (5g) honey
1 Tblsp, 2 tsp (20 mg) softened lard or vegetable shortening
1 tblsp, 2 tsp (25 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp (10g) salt
For the Genoese Brine-
½ C (100 ml) water
3 Tblsp, 2 tsp (50 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp (14g) coarse salt
To make the Facaccia: Put the flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Pour the yeast into the flour a little at a time. Stir in the lard, oil and lastly, add the salt. Knead the dough until soft, smooth, and elastic.
Cover the dough with a sheet of lightly oiled plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.
To make the brine: Combine the water, olive oil, and coarse salt in a bowl. Stir to make an emulsion and then let rest.
Transfer the dough to a baking pan greased with oil, stretching it gently with your fingertips until ½ inch (1cm) thick. Prod the surface of the dough with your finger, forming small dimples where the seasoning will collect. Sprinkle the focaccia with the Genose Brine and let it rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
Bake in oven at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the surface of the freshly baked focaccia with olive oil.