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Torino 0, Napoli 1: Left To The Death

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A completely dull and unwatchable match was punctuated at the end by a (somewhat controversial) last-minute goal for Gonzalo Higuain.

Giuseppe Bellini

The kindest thing I can say about that match is that it happened.

ssc napoli blog sbn

Torino 0
Napoli 1 Higauin 90'

A no-knead bread can be such a wonderful thing. It's simple to make, easy to customize for flavor, and so rewardingly tasty that it's kind of amazing that everyone doesn't make it all the time. People always assume that making bread by hand is a lot of work, but the first stage of prep almost takes longer to gather your ingredients than it does to put together.

First, the basic recipe:

3 cups bread flour (I like Harvest King bread flour) [Conor's note: I'm far more partial to King Arthur flour myself]
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine table salt (or 3/4 tablespoon of kosher salt)
1 1/2 cups warm water
Covered pot (five-quart or larger cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic, enamel...something that can go into a 450F oven.)

-Source

Just combine and mix up the dry ingredients in a large bowl, add the water, mix it until you have a goopy mess, cover the bowl, set it aside, and you're done for now. Let it sit overnight and then some, for a total of somewhere in the range of 12-20 hours. Don't be stupid like I was the first time I made it and put the bowl in your refrigerator, though, because the dough won't rise and you'll very rightly feel like an idiot the next morning when you go to pull it out.

Once the dough is done rising, drop it on to a floured surface and wet your hands. If you're adding other ingredients for flavor (I recommend rosemary and garlic, but things like cheese, ground pepper, or really anything else can work), this is the time to do it, though you'll have to do a little bit of folding and kneading to work it in. Once the dough is ready, just grab the corners, pull them to the middle, and flip it over so you have a vaguely dome-y blob.

Take the dough and put it on either a piece of parchment paper or a floured towel and stick it in a bowl to do one last rise for about two hours. Once there's around half an hour left, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit and stick your baking container in there. The container should be a heavy pot of some kind. A cast iron casserole pot is pretty much perfect, but a good heavy stock pot works as well. Both the pot and the lid need to be able to take high temperatures, so avoid anything flimsy or that has plastic.

Once it's ready, pull the pot, line it with parchment paper, and transfer the dough into the pot. If you put the dough on to parchment paper for that last rise, skip the lining and just drop the whole shebang in there. Bake it covered for half an hour (you can use several layers of tin foil if you don't have a workable lid for the pot), then uncovered for about 15 minutes. To check the "readiness" of the bread, tap it; if it sounds kind of hollow, it's done. If not, stick it back in for another couple of minutes.

Let it sit to cool for a little while (enjoy the crackling sound it makes as it settles!) and enjoy with butter or a dipping sauce. I like making a sauce with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little garlic, a little citrus, and an herb of some kind (I usually use basil or oregano, but you can get creative). It's also great to use with a fondue, if that's your thing.

ssc napoli blog sbn

Oh, right, the match. It sucked. A lot. Napoli got held to a standstill by Torino's B team. Once Ciro Immobile and Alessio Cerci came on, it seemed like the match was almost inevitably over. Somehow, though, Torino kept fluffing their chances, including a ludicrously skied shot from Immobile on what looked a certain goal before his final touch. Then Gonzalo Higuain latched on to a long ball over the top from Marek Hamsik, took a couple touches to set himself, and fired home as the fourth official was readying his board to indicate added time at the end of the match.

There's the minor issue, though, that Higuain's goal never should have counted. There was a clear push off from the Argentine to get space from Kamil Glik, and while Glik over-exaggerated his fall a bit, it was a clear foul that the ref ignored despite having a clear view. Whatever, I'll take the three points after a performance that poor.

Napoli had to win this match in order to stay in the race for second, and actually drew level with Roma for the time being after the match, though Roma are dominating Udinese as this is being typed. What's concerning, though, is that Napoli's form has been consistently poor ever since the Coppa Italia semifinal win over Roma, and with a tough run of matches coming up that includes a visit from Juve, Napoli have to turn things around right now. There's no time to gently pull themselves up, or else they'll be left adrift in a hurry.