Let x = leavening

One thing I wanted to add about this week’s bread recipe is that you can make it “quick” or “slow” according to your pleasure. This really applies to any yeast bread. I’ve diatribed before about how time translates to flavor, and even though most focaccia is considered nothing more than a vehicle for good olive oil, fresh herbs, caramelized onions and the like, a little something extra in the flavor department never hurts. Even an hour or two of slow yeast growth will produce a noticeable improvement.

How to change a “quick” focaccia into a “slow” one? Just add less yeast. Yeast grows, after all, so whatever population you leave out will eventually be replaced, it’s just a matter of time. I know it’s scary territory. I myself am guilty of “never mess with a baking recipe unless you know EXACTLY what you’re doing!” hysteria. But yeast is a pretty easy variable to manage. The more time that goes by, the more of it you get.

So go ahead and try taking out half the yeast if you have the time and you’re in a saucy mood. Your dough will take twice as long to rise, but you’ll have twice the flavor. And you’ll feel like a real live baker.

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