I’ve wanted to bake some bread for quite a while, but honestly, I’m rather good at killing yeast. The water is usually too hot even when I think it’s fine. Plus, I usually crave bread when I’m putting dinner on my plate, when it’s too to make some. And then I never get around to making it anyway.
This afternoon I decided I wanted pasta for dinner, which left me plenty of time to decide I wanted to make bread with it. Afterall, who eats pasta without bread? Because I’ve got a serious gal-crush on Isa Chandra Moskowitz and every recipe I’ve tried of hers was amazing, I settled on the Fresh Rosemary Focaccia from her and Terry Hope Romero’s Veganomicon. Focaccia bread in the store (at least at the store I often go to) is around $5 a loaf – way too much for my budget.
Since I’ve never made bread before, I decided I wasn’t going to add any of the optional ingredients. I wanted to just learn to make a basic loaf. I didn’t have fresh rosemary (gosh, what I wouldn’t do for an Aerogarden!) so I used dried. Granted, it might have had a stronger flavor had it been fresh, but I only wanted to use what I had in my kitchen already.
Since I’m new to baking, I didn’t really know what kneading was. Whenever a recipe instructed me to knead, I usually just stuck my hands in the dough and moved it around a bit. So I check out a video from Epicurious which helped a lot.
The focaccia bread came out great. At first I thought I had undercooked it slightly, but it was so delicious. Next time I’d like to make it with kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
For lunch today I made peanut butter tofu. A very well-known Asheville restaurant, Rosetta’s, serves peanut butter tofu that is delicious. Of course, everything I’ve had there has been amazing. I used a recipe from VegWeb, and couldn’t have been happier with the outcome. It didn’t taste exactly like what I had from Rosetta’s, but it was just as good. The peanut butter-soy sauce coating was good enough that I think I might use it as a dip! Who would have thought those two flavors would go so well together?! The recipe was easy to follow and pretty quick.
I’m sure I’ll be making both the bread and peanut butter tofu many more times in the future!
February 12, 2010 at 12:05 pm
Congratulations on your maiden bread voyage! For some reason, when I first started cooking, bread was the first thing I attempted. Very weird! Anyway, even though I am gluten-free these days because of an intolerance, I still love baking bread with my son. It’s so gratifying to punch and knead! Truly fun to see dough take shape.
February 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm
Nice job with the focaccia! When I first got the basics of bread down, I pretty much became addicted to baking my own bread. I haven’t gotten around to homemade focaccia yet, though, so I’ll have to check out that Veganomicon recipe. And why have I not had peanut butter tofu?! Looks and sounds delicious!
February 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm
I try to go to this every year and attend a class! Its fun!
You should come too!
February 16, 2010 at 12:44 pm
That looks fun! I don’t know if I’ll be able to go though, my birthday’s the 19th and I might be in Chapel Hill that night.
February 20, 2010 at 3:44 am
This is such an inspiring post. I always seem to forget to make bread but right now I can’t think of anything better than fresh baked focaccia either with Rosemary or Olives Mmmmmmm. I have fresh Rosemary in the garden too AND olives in the fridge. Is this a sign?
I’ve always felt so overwhelmed with making bread but I seriously need to just get stuck in and try out some recipes. And thanks for the link to the PB Tofu – that sounds delicious – I have bookmarked it.