Little Pleasures: Glutenfree Sourdough Focaccia with Tomatoes and Herbs

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” John Wooden

“Thinking big” is the fashionable and the one-to-follow lifestyle of today’s world. Whilst it is nothing inherently wrong with it, when one believes that “big” is better than “small”, that “stretching to the limit” is what everyone must do, that “be the best one can be” beats “appreciating the self”, one is simply not being fair to himself. Not every human being is meant to make it “big”, not everybody wants to be multitasking all day long, every day. Some people are just happy to be usual, normal, and – even – boring. Not everybody wants to devote their energy to going for the gold at every part of their lives.

Indeed, some people are appreciative of cold, some like warm, some people adore red, whilst others want white in the world, and so on… The world likes colour. The world likes contrast. We like to do a lot of things that have nothing to do with making it big or being on top. And that’s a good thing, a very real thing. Obviously, not all can be at the top. Nor do we all want to be. For at the top, it’s lonely; the air is thin, oxygen is rare. And, on the bad days, there’s no place else to go, but down…

“True greatness consists in being great in little things.” Charles Simmons

Therefore, appreciating the little pleasures of life is really important. Like successfully growing a plant in the middle of the city (the pleasure of ny beloved husband, that is)…like feeding a child…like receiving a thank you… Little things are what people tend to remember and appreciate when they reflect on days gone by. A little thing may be a fun evening with friends. It may be the joy of learning something new. It may be listening to the giggles of children. It may be the warm feeling caused by a simple act of kindness. It may be noticing nature change. If one neglects, ignores to enjoy the little things of life, then what are they left with but the daily struggles, the disappointments and the disasters that masks the simple pleasures when we least expect it.

Sourdough is sure one of life’s big little pleasures. After ten years of solid baking, the excitement of waiting for the dough to rise still doesn’t fail to entertain me and fill me with pride and joy. My latest adventure into baking with gluten-, soy- and dairyfree sourdough is probably even deeper of a pride…I believe via cultivating natural fruit yeasts I achieved such a strong glutenfree sourdough that – in the final baked products – manages to get rid of all the usual free from characteristics, such as sweetness, slightly disturbing odour and crumbling texture. The glutenfree sourdough starter is one of my daily pleasures now…ant it is indeed one to be noticed and appreciated.

Starter dough
Combine 100 g spring water, 100 g fruit yeast water, 100 g gluten free flour mix, 100 g active glutenfree sourdough starter. Mix all to a soft dough, then cover – leave for 6-8 hours to ferment.

Main Dough
Add 360 g Gluten free flour, about 40-50 g fine corn grits, 8-10 g of salt, 100 g fruit yeast water and about 100 g sprig water into the starter dough gradually, until a soft dough is achieved. Place in oiled bowl and leave it to ferment for about one hour. After the first fermentation process place into oiled or lined baking tray and flatten into the desired size (a large rectangle). Cover loosely and let it rise for 5-8 hours. Once proofed gently create indents with fingertips, oil and place fresh herbs (I used sage, rosemary and thyme) and cherry tomatoes on the top. Bake in preheated 220 degrees C for about 45 minutes or remove tins from oven when nicely golden. Loosen the sides and tip out to cool on a wire rack (tap the underneath if it sounds
hollow it’s done).

“Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.” Frank A. Clark

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