The Easiest Focaccia
Let’s talk about bread. And let’s talk about life.
For those of you who go way back with me — you’ll already know that Arabic classes took up the majority of my time in college. I met some of my favorite people, discovered my favorite foods, and daydreamed about someday living in the Middle East, basking in the heat and eating my weight in mana’eesh.
But something that we learned early in our intro courses was the word for bread: khubz. And in the Egyptian dialect, there was a synonym for bread — the same word you used for life: aishe.
That stuck with me.
This, my friends, is my first food blog post since 2014 — it’s been quite a while. And even though I’ve been talking about getting back into blogging for a couple of years, it was really hard to bite the bullet and build up the courage to start writing again. Life gets in the way.
After my first year working at CAVA, we called CAVA the blog killer. Back in the day, everyone on my team had a blog — and then we joined a company that we believed in, and we blogged for CAVA instead. I learned how to take better photos, how to cater to an audience, and how to focus our energy toward creating beautiful recipes and stories with CAVA’s food.
And when it came time to build things for ourselves, we were exhausted. Our blogs died.
I left the food industry for a quick minute, taking a job that taught me so much in so little time — and a job that also reminded me that I loved the food industry, and missed those weekly photo shoots that gave me so much doubt in my days working for a restaurant chain. So I left it, and decided to explore this abyss of freelancing and running your own business. And after years of stress, of restaurant openings and delays, of messy photo workshops with my favorite people, and the frustration you feel when you lose the love you once had for your work — I let it all go. And for the first time in what felt like years, I have my life back.
I emailed friends and colleagues, cold called businesses, and took gigs that were outside of my comfort zone. And I learned that when I’m not at a day job, I’m actually pretty bad at managing my own time. But I was free to work out in the middle of the day, and free to take on whatever photo projects I wanted, at whatever time I wanted. The freedom is worth it.
After surviving the holidays, and moving into a new house with a boy, I had this undeniable urge to start baking again. After all, ten years ago, I got to know DC and so many people I love through learning how to bake with Sweetsonian. So in this new house, with a new beginning, I was ready to bake.
There’s no wonder the Egyptians call it life. It’s the carb of all carbs, and something I simply cannot realistically give up (and sometimes I wonder — why did I ever want to?)
With just a few cheap ingredients, you can create something so full of warmth and full of life. So obviously, it was one of the first things I wanted to make for coming back to the blog.
Given my absence from baking and writing together, I turned to Bon Appetit’s Shockingly Easy, No-Knead Focaccia recipe. Step by step, it was easy, and I even doubted the proof of the yeast — but the ingredients did everything the recipe said they would. After tasting the bread, I adapted some measurements and ingredients to better suit the flavor I was going for, so here’s the jist of that below.
Enjoy bread, and enjoy life. Neither lasts long enough.