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I overcame my fear of baking with yeast this weekend!

I have never successfully been able to make a bread product in all my years of baking. I have tried over and over again with no real success. Until this weekend. I decided I wanted to make focaccia and that I would make it come hell or high water. So I found a good recipe, read it over a few times to make sure I knew what I was doing and dove in Saturday afternoon. One of the things that I always had trouble with was the proofing stage. I never was able to find just the right not too cold/not too warm spot. Well, you can imagine how happy I was when I found out that my electric oven has a proofing setting. I swear, this made all the difference. After the first rise, the dough was so beautiful and smelled so yeasty that I just knew it was going to work. Then, when I spread it out on the baking sheet, it stayed where I stretched it to and did not keep snapping back. The dough was amazing!

The focaccia turned out perfectly and tasted delicious. It went especially well with the homemade ricotta I tried this weekend (also a first). :)

Now I cannot wait to jump back into the kitchen and try my next baking with yeast project!

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  1. Nice work! People buy proofing boxes they believe so much in the perfect proof. Kneeding and proofing with give you the dough that dosnt snap back.

    Ricotta too nice!

    Are you not a fan of oil, salt and rosemary and herbs? I even just like oil, salt and lots of fresh pepper on my focaccia.

    1. Fantastic! I think baking makes one a better cook all around.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JustCharlie

        I agree. Funny thing is that I have baked since I was about 10 years old (53 now). I can bake just about anything that does not call for yeast. It was always the bread category that I was uncomfortable with.

      2. I have been yeast phobic forever. And am married to a bread lover. Thanks for the inspiration!

        1. Good for you!!
          I find yeast dough really versatile, with just minor substitutions like switching milk with water, using butter instead of olive oil, adding eggs and perhaps honey, one can go from Pizza dough to rolled Yeast breads to fruit layered sheet cakes and sometimes even Poppy seed cakes. All in one afternoon! Really great if you prep for a family holiday/ party. And if you have a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl, you can really cruise…. :-)

          1 Reply
          1. re: RUK

            I do have a KitchenAid and that dough hook was wonderful!

          2. You know, it's odd. There is SO MUCH olive oil in the bread and on the cookie sheet when it baked, plus I did drizzle some over the top. It just does not show in this picture. The overall taste of the focaccia is wonderful and you can difinitely tell there is olive oil present. I also did sprinkle with kosher salt (again, hard to see) but next time I will use sea salt instead. As for the rosemary, the recipe did not call for it, plus I am not a huge fan of it on focaccia so I did not add any.

            5 Replies
            1. re: ttoommyy

              Is the recipe on-line? If so, could you please link it? I've never baked yeasted bread until recently, when I started making my own pizza dough and Lahey's no-knead bread, but I've been thinking of branching out.

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  Thanks so much. Now I've just got to find the dough hook to my KA mixer!

                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    This recipe is very close to my fail-proof one, but 2 additions I usually add: cup of sweated onions and sometimes a cupful of drained sun-dried tomatoes. Adds even more moisture and lovely flavor. Congrats on overcoming your yeast fears!

                2. re: ttoommyy

                  Good for you! It looks delicious. If you do it again and want to take it up some, try Peter Reinhart's herb olive oil. It adds another level to it.


                3. Great job! I have the same issue you have with yeast. It always seemed way to complicated but lately I have been determined to make Italian loaves. I am still working on it. Your focaccia looks awesome. I would add green and black olives as a variation.

                  1. Looks good... I pinned the recipe to try myself. I'm thinking a ham and cheese foccaccia would be yummy. I don't have a mixer though - think it would be difficult to mix by hand? I haven't made bread since I was a kid...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Kajikit

                      Not hard at all to do by hand. In fact, when I now make it in my KA, I kind of miss the hand mixing/kneading!

                    2. Congrats!

                      Don't you love the smell?

                      I make a batch of yeast-based pizza dough every week. It's kind of addictive.

                      Happy Baking.

                      1. Congratulations. Try a coffee cake with cinnamon. Makes your house smell like heaven, and for about $2 you can make what costs $ 18 at a bakery.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Querencia

                          Bakery coffee cakes cost $18.00 ? Wow, I didn't realize. Haha I guess I can afford the *fancy" vanilla for home now.

                        2. Wow, this will inspire more than a few here, I'll bet.

                          1. Congratulations!

                            A simpler way would be to use instant yeast - you don't need to proof it, just mix it with the dry ingredients, add the liquid ingredients, and let the dough rise. People use it in bread machines, but it works fine however you use it.

                            1. Instant yeast (aka rapid rise or bread machine yeast) does not need to be proofed. Just stir it into the flour before adding the wet ingredients. No proofing is necessary.

                              1. Thanks for all the kind words and suggestions!
                                I know my focaccia looks kind of plain, but I was going for a more authentic focaccia like one would find in Italy. That is why I chose the recipe I did. I really am a bread "purist" and just like the taste of bread without any additions or toppings; when I want something with added ingredients like that, I gravitate more to a pizza or even a sandwich.

                                1. Great job overcoming! That looks delicious.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. Not quite inspired to make bread entirely from scratch yet... but I went to the supermarket and hunted up the frozen bread dough so I can have a reasonable facsimile thereof. Ham and cheese rolls coming up on the weekend!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Kajikit

                                      If you can mix, you can make either no knead bread or artisan bread in 5 minutes. Super easy.