Inspired by a fantastic stromboli-type offering in the breadbasket at Scarpetta, I decided I wanted to figure out how to recreate that bread for myself. (Apparently, making a panini just wouldn't cut it.)
So I decided to try to make some focaccia from scratch.
I will only say that, while I was kneading the dough, I knew something was wrong. I knew I had the wrong consistency, and that it wasn't going to come out right. But, I am also stubborn, so I spent the full 4 hrs making the bread, just to see how it would turn out.
I do not have one of those fancy stand mixers with optional dough-hook attachment, so I had to do it all by hand. Extra tricky as I have never made bread before, other than something like banana bread, which isn't made from a dough, but rather a batter, and so harder to screw up.
Then I tried to halve it so I could experiment even further, making one regular focaccia, and one stuffed with prosciutto and smoked mozzarella. Good idea, but with crap dough, not a chance of proper execution.
Drizzled w/ evoo and lots of salt, I baked the bastards off anyway.
But the flavor wasn't all bad, so I thought today that I'd try to turn it into a flatbread pizza kinda deal. Fresh mozzarella, garlic, olive oil, salt, basil, etc...
There is just no saving shitty bread. Turning it into croutons would just be an insult to the unsuspecting salad-eater as they broke a tooth on the extra-hardened nuggets from further toasting.
I did, however, eat all that melted mozzarella and tomato topping. And it was good! So HA!
There is my first attempt at bread. Ending in total failure. See, I will post my failures... just grudgingly. And I may not acknowledge them in the future, no matter what evidence you produce. Just sayin'...
Also, I have since learned that a dear friend of mine used to make this bread ALL THE TIME growing up. She will soon be imported from Brooklyn and chained to my kitchen to help me not suck at this anymore. Until then, I am going to have to haul my butt down to 74th to buy my focaccia at Salumeria Rosi. And OH NO I guess I'll have to pick up some fresh burrata while I'm there.
However will I survive?