Everybody makes mistakes. We learn this the hard way, as we commit our own follies, and we may suffer this lesson the even harder way when someone else blunders. But wise new-agers and seasoned old-timers alike assure us that life isn’t what happens to us, it’s what we do with it. So we not only learn from our bungling and our disappointments, but we grow and improve, when we open up to take advantage of new insights and explore new paths. Often life’s missteps serve to remind us what is important, what we need and what we love.
That’s enough preambling for one post. What’s this lapsed loaf about? Recently I prepared a round of my Irish Style Brown Bread and noticed as I mixed the batter-y dough that it didn’t seem quite right. Even as I poured (rather than plopped) the mixture into the pan, I knew I had erred. But I forged ahead, placing the loose mass into the oven, hoping something edible would emerge. I rechecked my recipe and realized I had left out the whole wheat pastry flour. Weighing in at more than one-third of the flour called for, surely this omission spelled mealtime failure! To my surprise and my family’s delight, the bread was delicious, if slightly imperfect, and then of course the light bulb lit up—a quick focaccia!
Little local cherry tomatoes, abundant and sweet, top this easy round with pop and zing. This season we’ve been enjoying Sungolds from Hairston Creek Farm, Finca Pura Vida and Flint Rock Hill at the SFC farmers market at Sunset Valley. Local red onions, local cheese and backyard herbs flavor your flatbread in a flash.
So turn that trip-up around and get back on track with this easy round of manna.
QUICKACCIA makes one 9″ loaf
- 182 grams (1½ cups) organic all-purpose flour. Whole Foods 365 brand in the 5-pound bag is usually the best value.
- 3 5/8 (1 cup minus 1½ Tablespoons) ounces Richardson Farms whole wheat flour (available at their Barton Creek farmers market location) or organic whole wheat flour.
- 1½ teaspoons cream of tartar, sieved
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda, sieved
- 1 teaspoon salt. I use Real Salt.
- 1½ Tablespoons organic sugar. Buy this in bulk or look for Central Market’s brand in the 2-pound bag.
- 2 Tablespoons organic butter, softened. Organic Valley is my favorite all-purpose butter. If you didn’t stock up when Natural Grocers offered their near-clearance-priced sale, click for a coupon.
- 1½ cups organic or local buttermilk or yogurt. I make my own yogurt from local goat milk. Click to see how. Swede Farm Dairy is back from babymaking (SFC market at Sunset Valley). Wateroak Farms is taking a market break but will still be available at Wheatsville Co-op and Whole Foods.
- shredded local or organic cheese of your choice. For local queso check out Full Quiver Farms at the Barton Creek Farmers Market or Brazos Valley Cheese Co. at the Austin and Sunset Valley Farmers Markets.
- local cherry tomatoes, halved if round and halved or quartered if oblong.
- local red onion, sliced thin. We’ve been buying these up from Jackie at Flint Rock Hill (Sunset Valley) for $1.25 a pound. She’s got potatoes—red or brown—for the same price, too.
- fresh backyard herbs, chopped. Oregano pairs perfectly. Sage and rosemary remind us of fall and work well also.
- coarse salt, preferably flaky—we love Murray River Pink. Check out the bulk salts at either Central Market or Whole Foods and find your favorite!
- local or organic olive oil. Check out Texas Olive Ranch for the Lone Star State lube. I like Central Market’s value-priced organic brand for cooking.
Preheat the oven to 400°. If you bake your loaf in a handleless pan, you can use the toaster oven. A heavy 9″ round pan works best and cast iron is ideal. Lube the pan with the olive oil and sprinkle the bottom with wheat bran or cornmeal. I sift the bran out of Richardson Farms flour for certain recipes and have amassed a stash in the freezer.
Whisk together the dry ingredients (flours through the sugar) or just dump them into the food processor and let ‘er rip. Add the butter and process to blend or rub the fat in with your fingertips. Pour the flour mixture back into a bowl and add the buttermilk or yogurt. Stir quickly with a fork to evenly moisten the dough, then use a flexible dough scraper to fold the dough over itself just a few times to bring it all together and develop a bit of structure. Using the scraper, place the dough mound in the pan. Spread and flatten the dough with a small offset spatula, or use the back of a spoon.
Toss the onions and herbs with some olive oil. Top the dough with cheese, tomatoes and the onion mixture. Sprinkle with the coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, plus red pepper flakes if the kids are out on a sleepover (lucky you!). Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until well browned.
Loosen the sides of the quickaccia with a metal spatula or butter knife before turning the bread out of the pan. Re-invert onto a cooling rack and let cool a few minutes so y’all don’t go scalding your tongues!
Enjoy this bread, the fruit of my flub. Be happy and carry on!