Proofing dough

Making Vegan Focaccia the Witchy Way

So, today my boo and I decided to make some bread, specifically focaccia. It was his first time making it and I’d only seen my momma do it before so it could have gone really badly, however I think it was a pretty good success.

Firstly we found a basic recipe on the interwebs and worked out what ingredients we needed:

  • 300ml/½ pint tepid water
  • 1½ tsp dried yeast or 2 heaped tsp fresh yeast
  • 500g/1lb 2oz ‘00’ flour or strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 150 ml extra virgin olive oil for topping
  • medium coarse sea salt
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, torn into small pieces

Along with this we also decided to add three cloves of garlic because garlic is good. Plus one of my flat mates may be a vampire and I don’t want him eating my food.

SO! After a wee trip to our local ASDA we finally had everything (we needed flour and yeast because I was so unprepared.) We also maybe accidentally bought cookies. The first step was to prep the yeast.

1. Pour a little of the tepid water into a small bowl. Add the yeast and blend using your fingers. Leave the yeast for five minutes to soften and dissolve.

Ok so I messed up this step. I didn’t read the instructions properly and boo was busy sorting out banging choons on spotify so I ended up adding my yeast to the whole 300ml of water. However it didn’t seem to be too bad and it smelled super good so I just powered through.

2. Mix the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. You may like to transfer your mixture to a pastry board or other flat work surface at this stage and prepare the dough there, in traditional Tuscan style. Otherwise, mix the dough in the bowl.

Yeah I’m nowhere near fancy enough to have a pastry board so we did it ye olde English way. In a bowl.

3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and salt mixture. Pour the blended yeast and water into the well along with the olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Gradually add the rest of the tepid water until a sticky dough is formed.

This was really bloody sticky. Obviously I used my hands and even after vigorous washing they still smell like dough. MMMmmm.

4. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface. Gather any stray pieces. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding a little extra flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic and the dough no longer sticks to your hand. To see if it is ready, you can carry out the stretch test: pull off a piece of dough, it should be elastic enough not to break quickly when stretched out.

5. Next accumulate any stray ends and rough sections by 'chafing’ your ball of dough. Hold it and curve your hands around it, use your palms to pull at its sides gently while you slowly rotate it, letting your little fingers meet underneath. Do this for five minutes. You should be left with a neat, smooth ball.

6. Oil a bowl and place the dough inside and cover with either oiled cling film or a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size - about 1½ hours depending on the room temperature.

This was the point in the process where I remembered to take pictures. Also I messed up my elbow kneading the dough so boo took over. 

Before Proofing

After Proofing

That rose so much oh my word it was huge and the house smelled soooo good.

7. Use your fist to knock it back, then knead it again for a further two minutes.

8. Leave to rest again, but only for 5-10 minutes

It was at this point where I decided to go off recipe a bit and make up my own nonsense. I’d seen in other recipes that people had made a garlic and rosemary oil infusion to put on the focaccia and it looked goof so I gave it a go. 

9. Add a few teaspoons of the remaining oil into a saucepan and then add 3 cloves crushed garlic. Once the garlic has browned, add the rest of the 150ml of oil, and then add three sprigs of rosemary. When it reaches its boiling point remove from heat immediately and save for step 11.

10. After proofing shape the dough by placing into a shallow baking tray, using your hands to spread it out to a depth of about 1.5cm/¾in, then allow to rise again, covered with a tea towel, until doubled in size - this will take about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

11. Strain the oil and save the rosemary and garlic pieces. Gently drizzle the oil onto the dough, don’t worry if it looks like there is too much, there isn’t. Then add the rosemary and garlic pieces and press into the dough with finger tips, creating dimples.

12. Sprinkle with sea salt/coarse salt and then bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is crusty and cooked through to the base. Serve.

I’m not gonna lie, I forgot about the salt until about 15 minutes into cooking but I added it then and it turned out pretty well.

Voila! The finished focaccia! Made with love. I couldn’t have made it without @dommadude so thank you <3

★ Peace out witches!!! ★

Thought I’d share one of the many ways I like to enjoy my beetroot hummus (recipe in the previous post). I like to serve it alongside some fresh homemade pretzels- these pretzels are so dense and doughey, and make the perfect pairing with the rich hummus. This is certainly not something I’d make as a quick lunch on a regular basis, but it’s perfect for a treat or to serve at a potluck when I’ve got more time to spare in the kitchen!

I got the pretzel recipe from this YouTube video:

Hope you’ll give it a try! This pretzel recipe is the most fuss-free one I’ve come across (no need to spend hours waiting for the dough to proof and rise), so it comes together fairly easily. I dusted 3 of my pretzels with some sea salt before baking, and topped the final one with some cinnamon sugar (1 tsp sugar to 1/3 tsp cinnamon for 1 pretzel) to have as a mini-dessert! 

Contrary to popular belief, they have occasionally watched things that were not Doctor Who. But even when it comes to television, Fitz and Jemma developed a ~system.  

  • In the winter, they love to watch BBC’s Natural World. They bury themselves under a duvet and watch every new documentary enraptured, religiously whispering animal kingdom’s trivia to each other. They never eat during these, and they kindly pretend not to notice the quiet sniffling and seldom tears when a little penguin happens to be eaten by a seal, or when a lion cub nudges the side of its motionless mother.

  • After a stressful day at work, they watch Paranormal Files when they need to vent or bitch, Mythbusters if they need to feel vindicated and to see stuff being blown up (“Remember kids, the only difference between Science and screwing around is writing it down,” they scream along, while picturing the many ways they could stab their idiot SciOps coworkers in the eyeballs) and Dark Matters when they need to feel better about themselves (“It’s on the Science channel, Simmons. The science channel.”)

  • Lazy Sunday afternoons are for The Great British Bake Off. It’s a bloodbath. They get very passionate about GBBO (They don’t speak of Custardgate. Ever.) and one time Jemma shouted at their TV screen so loudly that the neightbor’s baby began to cry. She insists Fitz’s mum should be on the show, and actually scoffs every time someone screws up slow proofing dough products (“I’m telling you, Fitz, I will threaten your mother with your life if she doesn’t go next year.” “Dear God”).

  • When they’re feeling sweet or melancholic, they watch anything about space. From NASA missions to Interstellar and everything in between. Fitz is secretly bored by 2001: A Space Odissey, and Jemma doesn’t really like Star Wars (“Ugh, Parsecs are units of distance, Fitz, not time! You know who else made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? Every damn piece of junk ship that ever made the Kessel Run, that’s who!” “Piece of junk…!” “Han Solo is a joke, honestly” and maybe Fitz makes a sound that is closer to what a whale does as it dies when he squeaks “Respect him!”) but they make it work anyway.

  • Every Summer, they catch up on a tv series and Fitz always insists on junk food, during. 2012 was Battlestar Galactica (“You know who Adama reminds me of? Commander Gonzales” “Holy shit”), 2013 was Breaking Bad (“My crystal meth would be purer than his” “We’re not going to cook crystal meth, Simmons” “I’m not saying we should be producing illegal substances in our lab, Fitz. I’m just saying that if we wanted to, we’d be better drug lords than those two”), 2014 was Parks and Recreation (Jemma left right in the middle of season four, and he never watched the rest. It is speculated nobody could mention ‘Calzones’ around him but as nobody in their right mind would ever talk about calzones, the issue was moot). In 2015, Fitz doesn’t watch anything except for the same video feed, over and over again.

The halflings au is becoming one of my favs fast;; I wanna thank @pasdechat because without her prompt (and encouraging inspiration ;) )it wouldn’t exist.

I wrote this small drabble for her spontaneously one day and I feel since the halflings au is becoming a bigger thing, I might as well post it here for you guys to read too (:. Another special shout out to the radical @furryrightactivist and @skiretehfox for their really adorable fanarts ;;w;;!! Thank you both so much ♡♡♡

(small note: this was all written before I decided the little fact about Eli’s ears so don’t mind the small inconsistensies ;u; ;;; )

“Umi, does this look okay?? Please tell me I look presentable.” Eli steps into her navy haired friends living room, her hair tied in its signature ponytail and ears upright and alert.

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Sugar on the Asphalt: Forty-One
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Bet you weren’t expecting this!! But I hope everyone enjoys and I’d like to hear what you think! <3

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are you leaving with buckeyes cupcakes; august 26, 2013

I didn’t need an alarm clock to wake up Monday morning. In fact, I woke up just shy of 6:00, already anticipating the small hands rapping against the door, Jane and Catherine buzzing with both energy and hunger pains after a solid nine hours of sleep. It was part of our routine that I’d come to expect, so when I woke up to the sound of drizzle pattering against my window and Harry’s shallow and steady breathing in my ear instead of the girls, I sighed. Not because I wasn’t happy, or comfortable, or perfectly content with his face buried in my neck, but because unlike laying around at the hotel, I actually had things I could do here.

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Let’s talk about bagels.

As a pretentious New Yorker, I take my carbohydrates very seriously – this includes both pizza and bagels. I have no shame in admitting as much. Just as pizza is not simply bread with sauce and cheese slapped on it, a bagel is not simply round bread with a hole in the middle. The ingredients and method used to create a real  bagel are what sets it apart from that which you can buy at a grocery store or chain eatery (I’m looking at you, Panera + Einstein).

I couldn’t get a decent bagel in Utah, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. While this recipe is not perfect, it will get you about as close to New York bagels as humanly possible without building some of your own wooden bakeware.

The “secrets” to the New York bagel:

  1. Overnight proofing – a lot of bread doughs require 60-90 minutes of rest. For the best bagel results, you need to allow for a retarded fermentation. In a refrigerator, the fermentation process will happen more slowly, allowing the yeasty flavor to better permeate the dough. It will also allow the water content in the dough to be more evenly distributed. I’ve tried a more conventional dough proofing process, and the bagels stunk. Don’t shortcut this.
  2. Barley malt syrup – If you google bagel recipes, you will usually find that they call for a tablespoon or two of whatever sugar you have (typically either table sugar or honey). This is complete malarky. You need to use barley malt syrup. I have only been able to find it at Whole Foods, but I guarantee that without it, your bagels will just taste like rolls. If you’ve never had a New York bagel, you won’t care. If you have, you will notice that the taste difference is staggering.
  3. Poach  before you bake – Real bagels are poached (boiled) in a solution containing barley malt syrup, salt, and baking soda. This gives the bagels their chewy external texture and their lovely golden sheen. Lazy/commercial bakers will skimp on this step by either brushing the bagels with a baking soda/water solution or omitting it entirely. Fools.

There are a couple of actual baking techniques involving baking the bagels on wooden boards and such, but these are advanced and not wholly necessary tricks of the trade. Honestly, while I think they would improve my bagels’ quality, I am too lazy for the time being. That said, if you don’t have a baking stone, I suggest that you get one ASAP, because these really don’t turn out as well when baked on a metal baking sheet.

Now that you understand what will be required of you, feel free to proceed forth to my carefully crafted (with the help of my professional bagel-baking father) bagel recipe at your own risk.

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