Our kitchen is small….in fact, its so small two of us don’t fit, and I sometimes want to place Max in the sink just so I have some counterspace. We (ok…Rob) was finishing up the last three steps of our hardwood stairs, and we had a dinner date with some friends. Feeling rather smug about our bread baking challenge, we of course, offered to bring some fresh baked bread. As Rob was sawing and hammering away, I thought I would try my hand at focaccia. Now, apparently, the secret to good focaccia is a russet potato. A cooked Russet Potato keeps the bread moist and tender while adding a touch of sweetness. I had 3 white potatoes in the fridge and they simply weren’t going to do.
So, I asked Rob to pick one up on his way from Home Depot…He was all starry eyed about the saw horse he thought of building to make my trim painting easier, that he completely forgot the potato. Sign number 1 that it was not going to be our bread day .
I ran out to the store, and stood in line for 20 minutes for my little potato amongst curious on lookers who wondered why anyone would buy just one potato….I should have bought two.
I rushed through the bread making, only half paying attention as I threw cups of flour, and teaspoons of yeast into the bowl, thinking more about the painting I had to do, than the bread I was making.
Once kneaded, I oiled a bowl, covered it with saran wrap, and looking at the disaster that was my counters. I thought that the oven would be a nice draft free place for the bread to rise for the next hour and a half.
Max went down for a nap; I painted; I started getting hungry. The night before, Rob had made a tremendously amazing pizza, and it had taken every ounce of will power to leave 2 slices for our lunch the next day. Excited, I walked over to the stove and cranked it to 400.
Max woke up; I fed him. Rob started complaining about a funny smell; I ignored him. I settled Max down and noticed the bizarre smell he had mentioned. Thinking nothing of it, I opened the oven to throw the pizza in.
And there was my lovely bread exploding out of the bowl, with saran wrap melted to the top, and the crust starting to bake….oops.
We only had a few hours until we were expected at our friends. We can just buy bread, Rob insisted. We couldn’t fail in our bread baking challenge so early..I did a quick calculation and figured that we had just enough time to do a second loaf (subbing white potatoes for russets).
In the end, we had a rushed, but not to shabby focaccia…and a few lessons learned: 1. The oven is not to be used for extra storage; 2.If something smells funny there is probably something horribly wrong with your bread.
As we speak, Rob is trying to show up my focaccia with a beautiful light Deli Rye rising on the counter!