Ligurian Focaccia (Traditional Italian Style)
Focaccia is popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil, salt, sometimes herbs, and may at times be topped with onion, cheese and meat. It might also be flavored with a number of vegetables.
Focaccia can be used as a side to many meals, as a base for pizza. Focaccia is present in many variants in Italy itself, for example the focaccia alla genovese, originated in Genoa, or the focaccia alla messinese, from Messina.
Focaccia is best eaten warm, but not hot; leave to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before serving, or leave to cool completely.
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 5g powdered dried yeast
- 10g fine salt
- 325ml warm water
- About 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for coating
Focaccia, made all over Italy, is simply a flatbread made with flour, water, salt, and occasional other ingredients. The Recchelini insist that while focaccia can be made anywhere, their bread is “something else,” perhaps because of the addition of cheese. The regular, unverifiable myths are trotted out, this one being that a Saracen attack pushed the coastal people inland, where they made due and made bread with what they had: flour, salt, and cheese. Quotes from the website confirm that a sort of focaccia with cheese was made for the crusaders in 1189…though it does not mention Saracens. Check out more about Italian Food History.
To knead by hand: mix the flour, yeast, salt and water in a bowl to form a sticky dough. Add the oil, mix it in, then turn the dough out on to a clean work surface. Knead until smooth and silky, about 10 minutes.
Or, to use a food mixer: fit the dough hook and add the flour, yeast, salt and water to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, then add the oil and leave to knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.
Shape the dough into a round and coat with a little extra oil. Leave to rise in a clean bowl, covered with a plastic bag. When it has doubled in size, tip it on to the work surface and press into a rough rectangle. Place in a lightly oiled shallow baking tray, measuring about 26 x 36cm. Press the dough in with your fingers, right into the corners. Now leave to rise, covered, for about half an hour.
Preheat your oven to 250°C/Gas Mark 10, or as high as it will go. When the bread looks puffed up and airy, use your fingertips to poke deep holes across the whole surface, almost to the bottom. Drizzle the top generously (but not swimmingly) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to about 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Mark and Jo collect the recipes from around the Mediterrean and some have fast become favourites at Doof Doof, like this Focaccia recipe.
Bread is the soul of a good Italian meal. Easy to share, its the extra virgin olive oil which gets “focaccia” with a crunchy border and a soft interior. We get our Olive Oil from local New Zealand organic suppiliers.