A few weeks ago, I had been perusing the aisles in the newly renovated Super Target near where I work and I stumbled upon a huge display of Giada De Laurentiis' new line for Target -- a collection of sauces, pestos, and this herb focaccia mix. I decided to go ahead and buy it last week and try it.
First things first, I failed to read the ingredients in the store and suddenly realized that the only ingredient needed is water -- carbonated water. Giada, you're not in Europe. Calm down. This mean I had to go buy a bottle of carbonated water. Apparently, the carbonated water is supposed to make the dough rise.
It did not rise. I was pretty disappointed. I waited for three hours, letting the bowl sit and rest with a little towel over it. I would peak in -- nothing. An hour later? Nothing. Finally, I said, "Whatever, it's going to be the densest. bread. ever. but it will be bread and I want to eat it." I poured three tablespoons of olive oil in the baking pan, kneaded up the dough and plopped it out, pushing it to the sides just like Giada told me to.
Meet the biggest hockey puck ever.
Just kidding. It tasted fine. In fact, it had the texture of focaccia. It was at that moment that I realized -- Giada, focaccia doesn't typically rise. Focaccia is pretty much just pizza dough baked a slightly different way -- you don't let pizza dough rise. My point is: the dough was never going to rise (because using carbonated water as a yeast substitute is a bad idea in general) and it didn't really need to. It tasted fine without rising -- in fact, Danny and I ate the entire thing in a day.
If you buy this mix, I would go ahead and just use regular water. I don't feel like using carbonated water contributed anything, except an extra few dollars to my weekly food bill. The bread itself was tasty and went really well with the eggplant parmesan leftovers we had. In short: the bread was great, the instructions were weird.