Focaccia is an oven-baked flat bread, similar to the pizza dough. It has a crunchy crust and a soft inner crumb. What makes the difference between focaccia and pizza is that focaccia has no other topping but an emulsion of salt, water and extra-virgin olive oil.
We owe this delicious leavened product to the city of Genoa (the capital city of Liguria region, in north-western Italy), where it was made since the dawn of time. Now you can find focaccia pretty much everywhere throughout Italy, but it won’t be the same as the Genoese one, as the recipe has been revisited in the various regions.
You can have it as an appetizer or as something to nibble while having an aperitif, or in restaurants as a tastier bread. In Genoa, it is said they dunk focaccia in milk or cappuccino for breakfast!! Would you like to try it too?
Traditionally, various toppings are placed on the focaccia: finely sliced onions, cherry tomatoes and oregano, olives.
Here we are proposing the simplest version, the most traditional one from Genoa.
Start mixing water and 40 ml of oil. Melt salt and sugar in it and pour this in a bowl where there’s half of the flour. Knead a bit till you get a rather liquid batter. Add yeast and knead again. Fold in the other half of flour and go on kneading (elbow grease, guys!).
Leave the dough rest 10 to 15 minutes, covering it with a napkin. Afterwards, place the dough on a previously oiled baking tray; turn it upside down so that it gets oil on both sides and doesn’t form a thin crust while leavening.
Now, the secret for a fluffy focaccia is the leavening time. It has to leaven for 1 hour in the summer, and 2 hours in the winter. Tip: place it in your oven with the light on! It helps maintaining the temperature constant!
Once time has passed, flatten the dough by pressing it with the palm of your hands. Spread a bit of oil over the whole surface of your focaccia and sprinkle with salt.
Let it rise for another 30 minutes. Now, the funniest part. Pour or spray some water over your focaccia, spread some more oil and dot it with your fingers, actually plunging your fingertips in the dough. Don’t you feel like a little child playing with play dough? This way, all the small wells you made will stay moist while baking.
Leave the dough to rise again for 30 minutes, but this time at room temperature, after which you will be ready to bake it for 15-20 minutes to 240°C/460° F.
Once your focaccia is baked, make sure to let it cool a bit on an oven rack. We heartedly recommend to taste it warm and you’ll be on top of the world!!
it.wikipedia.org - Focaccia genovese
ricette.giallozafferano.it - Focaccia Fugassa alla genovese
All images released under Creative Commons license.
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