I forget to buy bread every day. Not that I forget per se, but more that I go down to Franca or Gianni (the two shops open in town) around 6, and there are just empty bread baskets behind the counter, mocking my tardiness with crumbs. Franca sees me eyeing the baskets, desperate, and shakes her head sympathetically.
"Non c'è più". No more bread. Again. Shoot.
|My bright, shiny new scale|
I hurried there and saw him leaving with a packaged bag of crostini. Whew. But my catty happiness about his lack of bread soon sank into my realization that I had failed again. I ran into an employee of the restaurant, who asked me what was wrong. I explained I needed bread. He looked at me like I said I just killed a unicorn.
"Non hai comprato pane oggi?" he queried, confused. You didn't buy bread today?
I forgot, I lied, stammering, ignoring the fact that I forget more then I remember. Then a short lecture ensued as I was again reminded that we only have 2 stores open, the flood, everyone needs bread, Italians need bread...and so forth. My American bread failure loomed in the air between us. He looked at his watch.
|Before the oven...|
"Hai tempo da farlo". You have time to make it.
|Cooked to perfection!|
|Foccacia with herbs and sale grosso|
|Italian yeast, much different from what I'm used to|
My American bread purchasing uselessness was now translated into my American bread making willpower. I found a recipe and got to work until Manuel got home, laughed at me, and helped out. It's actually easier then I thought, and Italian yeast, though strange to me, works just as well as our packaged yeast in the U.S. Beer yeast (bread yeast) comes in a squishy cube, and that plus my concession of buying a scale to weigh ingredients made me feel very adventurous. My cups and teaspoons had been working just fine, and I stubbornly cluing to them as long as I could, but it's tedious to translate recipes this way. The measurements get strange - i.e. 1 3/7 of a table spoon. Just odd. So, the scale was bought the other day and christened as I weighed out 300 grams of flour, 6 grams of large grain salt, a pinch of sugar, and then mixed some yeast, tepid water and olive oil in a bowl. I let it sit for an hour, spread it out on some round pans, and baked it at 190 C for 20 minutes (my oven is also European). We scattered more salt and oil across one, and a mixture of salt and dried herbs across another - rosemary, thyme, marjoram.
The foccacia was a success, and now I have a wonderful and quick excuse the next time I forget. IGP, DOC - it's none of these. However, it's delicious, easy and fast way to make everyone happy at dinner time - Italian or not.