Month of August: “Tassajara Bread Book” Recipe: Olive oil Focaccia with Rosemary

“He loved me and didn’t want me hurt. What was worse, he didn’t even understand that I had the right to hurt.” Rosemary Sutcliff

Rosemary is symbolic of remembrance.

My intention today was to be at the studio calmly and peacefully making bread. I am at the studio making bread but not calmly and not peacefully. Halfway through the rising, my stepfather called to say that my mother is once again going to the emergency room. She has had another acute episode in the setting of a chronic illness. We are all on an up and down course with her. She is aging, she is ill and she suffers greatly. So here comes another kind of grief, anticipatory grief. My sister stopped by and we talked as the bread was rising and that was comforting. We are preparing for the unknown, as much as one can. This grief work is tough and we don’t get a say in how much is thrown at us. It’s just one slow step at a time.

Ingredients: 2 cups warm water under 125F, 3 packets of active yeast, 3 tablespoons of fresh rosemary minced, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup unbleached white flour, 1.5 cups whole wheat flour, 3 cups unbleached flour, olive oil for glazing, course sea salt

Start with adding yeast to the water. Stir in the rosemary (I chose to put the rosemary on top instead of the inside), olive oil and salt. Stir in 1 cup of unbleached flour and 1.5 cups whole wheat and beat for 100 strokes. Fold in remaining 2 cups of unbleached, 1/2 cup at a time. Turn onto floured board and add an additional cup fo flour if needed to keep dough from sticking. Knead until smooth and elastic. Let the dough rise for an hour or until doubles in size. Punch down and let rise for an additional 40 minutes. Divide dough in half and shape as desired. I used most of the dough in a 9×13 pan with an additional piece pressed into a cake pan.

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