Authentic Italian Focaccia

I feel the need to specify authentic because I am afraid l there is an overall misconception about what focaccia is and should be.

Focaccia should not be thick or doughy. I have encountered so many of this kind, such disappointing, heavy-as lead thick breads so wrongly called Focaccia, that I am now compelled to speak for its true identity and get rid of this misapprehension once and for all. Focaccia is its own thing and it’s one of the most recognized marvels of Liguria, a God-blessed region in north-west Italy. It is light, airy, bouncy and ever-so-satisfying. Each little (or big!) bite, so well seasoned with salt and ligurian extra-virgin olive oil is a joy for the palate. Focaccia is said to have been created by the masterful Genovese artisan bakers and to this day all Italians young and old know that it is in Genova and the nearby villages that you will find the best Focaccia. In Italy we love it so much we mostly eat it plain, fresh from the oven, warm and inviting. I have finally managed to snatch the recipe from my brother, a professional Chef who made Focaccia daily when he worked at “Il Genovese” , in Milan in the late 90′s. This recipe is so great I have been baking trays for two days straight…

Can you blame me though?

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of dried yeast

3/4 cup lukewarm water

1 teaspoon of barley malt syrup or honey

320 gr (2-2/3 cups) 00 or plain flour

2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons of salt

For the glaze : 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil , 1 tablespoon of water.

How to

1. In a large bowl dissolve  yeast with water, add  flour, oil and  barley malt syrup or honey. Knead for 5 minutes, then add the salt.

2. Knead vigorously until it looks smooth and elastic (feel free to use an electric mixer with a dough hook).

3. Shape into a ball and rest for 20 minutes in a bowl, covered with a tea towel.

4. Stretch it with your hand to form a rectangle and fold into 3 or 4. This step will give strength and texture to your dough and is essential in order to obtain a soft,  airy and chewy focaccia.

5.Place the folded dough in an oiled oven tray, cover it with a tea-towel and let it prove for around 90 minutes or until it doubles in size.

6. Once the dough has risen, stretch it out to cover the tray and sprinkle the surface with seasalt.

7. Let it rest for another 30 minutes, than, using your fingertips, press the dough down onto the tray to create lots of little holes.

8. Drizzle the holes with the glaze and sprinkle with some more salt. You can top it with caramelized onion or cherry tomatoes if you wish, but , believe me, this is already amazing as it is.

9. Let it rest for another 20 minutes.

10. Bring your oven to 200 C (390 F), then bake for 20-25 minutes  until it looks slighly golden and utterly irresistible…

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28 thoughts on “Authentic Italian Focaccia

  1. I grew up eating AUTHENTIC focaccia & spent 6 weeks in Sestri Levanti with relatives when I was 15 where I ate it morning, noon & night. After I grew up & had a family of my own I moved too far out of the city to pick up real focaccia whenever I wanted it so I started my mission trying to make it at home. I’ve been attempting to bake focaccia at home since 1998 with no luck! I’ve tried every recipe there is! recipes from family, recipes from italy! & it just never came out right. Your recipe worked!! it’s perfect! I’ve made 7 trays in the last week. I had to thank you! thank you so much!

      • The other recipe I’ve always wanted to recreate is a pesto lasagna which my Aunt made for me during the same trip to Italy I spoke of before. My Aunt has since passed away and I’ve tried to get the recipe from her daughter, my cousin. Something gets lost in translation and while I’ve received recipes for others I’ve yet to get one for a pesto lasagna. It was so delicious! Soft & fluffy, light & delicate not too rich like what I’ve come up with while trying to recreate it. Since you definitely understand the difference between Italian food and Italian/American food I thought I’d give it a shot and ask if you by chance may have a recipe for it that I could try. Thanks again Kim xxxxxx :)

  2. Silvia, when you said, “Bring your oven to 200 C (390 F), then until it looks slighly golden and utterly irresistible…” Do you mean preheat oven to 390 F and bake until slightly golden and utterly irresistible? About how long does it take to get to that point?

  3. Silvia, I have completely failed at this recipe! I was up until 1:30 am making this and was so looking forward to the bread, but it turned out hard and crusty. Maybe my dough didn’t rise enough. What brand of yeast do you use?

      • Maybe my yeast wasn’t activated. The dough didn’t double, but did get larger than it was. I proved the dough in a gas oven that had some warmth from the pilot. Did you add sugar to the yeast?

      • I normally use barely malt syrup when making bread doughs. Honey or sugar will be fine too. Salt in only added after the dough has been kneaded for a few minutes, as it can stop the activation of the yeast.
        I colder climate, a yeasted dough will take more time to rise. I hope this helps!

  4. I am making this tomorrow and can’t wait! My husband and I traveled to Italy last spring and have been craving real Italian focaccia. I was just wondering how much this recipe makes? Is it just 1 pan or 2 also what size pan do you use? Thanks so much!!

  5. Hi Silvia,

    I just made this last night and now I understand why everyone loves focaccia, I’m already desperate to make another batch, what a wonderful recipe! Thank you for going through each step in so much detail, it really made it easy. Am exploring the rest of your blog at the moment and very much looking forward to trying some of your other delicious recipes!

    Loretta

  6. When I originally commented I appear to havee clickedd the -Notify me when neew comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with tthe exact same comment.
    Is there an easy method you can remove me frlm that service?
    Cheers!

    • Hi, sorry about this. Have you tries going back to the page where your comment is and see if you have an option to un click the button? unfortunately I can’t do it from my end.
      Sorry I can’t be more help

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