When you’ve got a head cold to beat the band…
(whatever that means)
And you haven’t left the house in five days…
(so you greet The Boy at The Door like you’re an overly-excitable golden retriever)
And you don’t care if you obstruct half of the finished photo with the lurking shadow of your pasty, mouth-breathing self…
Focaccia is there to provide you with a project.
Now I’m not saying you should jump at the chance to bake for loved ones when you’re all sick-like. But since my ILLLLNESSSSS came from The Boy to begin with so he’d already had and beaten and built up immunity to this OH MY GOD THINNNGG, I felt comfortable with passing the disease around all willy-nilly.
I’m scientific like that.
If you’re looking for uses for your sourdough starter, Your Bad Mama Genny can’t think of a better one. Probably because I’m stuffed up and can’t think at all. You might be able to think of better ones.
So what I’m saying is, focaccia is an excellent use for your sourdough starter. Most excellent, indeed, my precious, precious mofo’s.
If you have access to some greenhouse cherry tomatoes (<raises hand>), even better. If not, hang onto this recipe until tomato season, or do a variation. I love red onion, sea salt, and rosemary on focaccia.
I’m woman enough to admit that I Googled to make sure I was spelling it right. And now I’m flaunting it.
Oh, sweet mother, FOCACCIA!
Can you tell that I’m still sick?
Moreso than usual, I mean.
Sourdough Polka Dot Foccacia
1 cup PROOFED sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 to 3 cups white flour
1/2 cup olive oil, plus some for the cookie sheet
1/4 cup sliced garlic
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
several sprigs’ worth fresh rosemary leaves
coarse sea salt for sprinkling over the top (approx. 2 teaspoons)
Approx. 2 cups of cherry tomatoes–in varying colors if you can swing that (alternatively, try thin slices of red onion or even leeks)
Mix the sourdough starter with the water. Gradually add in half the flour and mix until blended. Toss the salt with the remaining flour and mix into the dough. Sourdough starters vary in consistency, so be a doll and make sure this holds together in a tacky, but not sticky, dough ball before you go on with the recipe, mmmkaaaay? Mmmmmkaaaay.
Mix the dough well before transferring to a lightly-floured surface. Knead that sucker. Knead it good. Knead it ’til it’s a wee bit elastic. Then stop kneading already, Jesus.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Oil a cookie sheet. Spread the dough out onto the sheet until it’s a roughly half-inch thick rectangle. Use your finger to make little polka-dot indentations all over the dough.
In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic over low heat until the garlic is cooked (approximately 5 minutes). Your house will smell like a freaking dream.
Let the mixture cool slightly, then spoon it evenly over the focaccia dough. Press the cherry tomatoes into the dough at random (or hell, in an organized pattern. That’s okay, too. I just have to wonder why you’re trying for organization when you have a the bubonic plague (OH WAIT YOU DON’T HAVE THE BUBONIC PLAGUE THAT’S JUST ME.) Now sprinkle the salt and rosemary leaves and walk away, leaving your focaccia in the warm kitchen.
But don’t, like, walk off for good. Come back and check every so often, ‘kay?
When the dough has doubled and mostly swallowed your cherry tomatoes (so cute!), stick the whole thing in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes (I started checking at 25–I suggest you do the same), or until deeply golden.
Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle immediately with Pecorino-Romano Cheese. Let cool until you can handle it (but it’s still warm), then cut into squares (only as many as you’ll eat that night. The rest will stay moist longer if it’s in a solid slab).
Enjoy the admiration of your friends, lovers, and associations for which you have positive regard.
Sneeze a lot.