Authentic Italian Focaccia

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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?

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INGREDIENTS, makes 1 large focaccia

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, then, 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.

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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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62 Comments Add yours

  1. Sugarbakers says:

    I am so excited to find your blog, and can’t wait to try so many of your recipes! Thank you for sharing!

  2. darlene says:

    i need tablespoons and cups ,,please ,in your recipes

    1. Darlene, I’m in the process of updating every post to include cup/spoon measurements..hang in there…

      1. darlene says:

        THANK YOU SO MUCH ,,MADE THE BREAD WITH OLIVE YESTERDAY SO GOOD

      2. darlene says:

        DO YOU USE LESS YEAST WHEN WANTING THINNER CRUST FOR PIZZA

  3. I am so glad I stumbled across your blog! I am making your focaccia right now!! Super excited to see how it turns out!

    1. Great Nicole! Let me know how you go!
      Silvia

  4. awesome… thank you… a nice, traditional recipe I can teach my daughter…
    Do you have any for Sicilian bread… my grandmother use to make it but i can’t recall the full recipe… thanks…

  5. Kim says:

    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!

    1. Kim, it’s because of people like you, with a true passion and need for authentic Italian flavors, that I will keep posting recipes! You made my day! xx

      1. Kim says:

        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. Hi Kim,
        I’m off to Liguria today…. I will be thinking of you! I will try and taste the best pesto and replicate it to make a cracking Lasagna for you.
        Ciao

  6. Steve says:

    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?

    1. oops…Thanks for spotting that typo! Bake for 20-25 minutes!

  7. Steve says:

    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?

    1. STeve, I am so sorry for you, i can feel your frustration and disappointment. Did the dough rose when you left it to prove? Do you think your oven temperature might have been to high?

      1. Steve says:

        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?

      2. 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!

    2. Steve says:

      Thanks again. I’ll give it another shot.

  8. Kelsey says:

    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!!

    1. I hope you went well with this focaccia recipe! I make it regularly now, my kids go crazy for it.

  9. Sorana says:

    Hi Silvia,
    I’ve been lucky enough to holiday in Italy at various points in my life and I have only tasted authentic focaccia there. I couldn’t get enough of it and I realised that the focaccia I had eaten before (and since) was just bad imitation. That was some years ago! I googled for images today to see if I could find a focaccia that looked right and the one I clicked brought me to your blog…..I cannot wait to try your recipe. Thank you so much for sharing, and I’ll let you know how I go.

  10. Isabella says:

    Ciao Silvia
    Just discovered your blog…love it and the beautiful pics! I tried your focaccia recipe. I don’t think it turned out quite as good as yours, but i’m willing to give it another go! I am an Italophile, love everything Italian and learning the language. I travel there every year and write about my journeys. Your site is great and I love the recipes, very clear with the accompanying images.
    Will be visiting regularly!

    PS> hope you don’t mind that I have linked to your blog from my post. You can find it here http://www.italianjourneys.com.au/favourite-italian-things/

    Thanks!!
    Isabella

  11. Silvia says:

    Hi Silvia, I’m making this tomorrow to bring to a friends house, thanks!!

    1. Hi Silvia,
      I hope it was a success!
      Silvia

  12. Leah says:

    Did I miss something? Using 2 3/4 cups flour with only 3/4 cup water isn’t working at all – for me. After mixing 5 minutes the flour is not all moistened, and not beginning to, and will never, be smooth and elastic.

    1. Flours vary and a little adjusting is always necessary. In you case it seems like an extra tablespoon of water or two will do the trick. Good luck!

  13. 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

    1. Thanks Loretta! I am so glad you liked it! There is also a recipe for Focaccia with cherry tomatoes on my blog, I thought you may like it.
      All the best
      https://silviascucina.net/2013/02/11/focaccia-pugliese-home-made-focaccia-apulian-style/
      Silvia

  14. Giovanni says:

    Ciao Silvia,

    Per le misure usi English o Amrican Cup. Grazie mille

  15. Joris P. says:

    This is soooooooo delicious! I almost finished the whole focaccia at once!!
    I have already tried many of your recipes, I don’t have any idea why I never tried this one before!!! I am going to make your rosemary olive bread now, however, without food processor… I guess that should also work…
    Thanks for the lovely recipes!

  16. 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!

    1. 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

  17. This is just lovely Silvia! Thanks for specifying the need for authenticity here- I am so used to the other kind! This is definitely on my list of things to bake! Hope you and your family are well 🙂 xx

  18. chris says:

    Hey Silvia
    I’m so excited to try this recipe. I spent a few weeks in Genova as a teenager visiting family. I became obsessed with this stuff! I’m so happy to find a recipe that isn’t the thick doughy stuff i find in North America. I have a question about a different recipe. My aunt made a minestrone soup but it was green and seemed like it was pureed. Any idea what this is and if so, how its made? Thanks! I’m glad I found your blog!

    1. Hi Chris, thanks for your words.
      My mum makes a similar version of minestrone. She cooks all the veggies and pulses together and then blitzes them with an immersion blender for a smooth soup (more appealing for children and there no big pieces of veggies about!)
      All the best
      Silvia

  19. Stephen Lawrence says:

    Hi Silvia, with these quantities what size of baking tray would you suggest?

    1. Probably arbor 20×30 cm?

  20. Michele Scala says:

    Ciao Silvia,
    For your authentic focaccia what size sheet pan do you use?

  21. Michelle Jackson says:

    just waiting to put my foccaccia in the oven, I’ve added a tiny bit of rosemary at one side as its my husbands favourite, lets see how it works, can’t wait ooohh excited!!

    1. I’m sure it was a hit!

  22. harperwayne says:

    Hi Silvia,

    I have tried to bake this twice and I’m not sure what I am doing wrong but no matter how long I leave it in the oven, it does not brown and comes out rock hard. I let it sit for the correct amount of time, it definitely doubled in size, I followed every step and even ordered tipo 00 flour from Italy. I used to live in Genova and have been wanting to recreate the focaccia that I ate there for so long now, and I was so excited when I found this recipe. Do you have any idea why it isn’t turning brown, and why it comes out so hard and dense? I am at a loss 😦 Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Harper

  23. Paul Grimes says:

    Silvia, thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it today to go with our “Sunday Supper” for Advent Dinner.

    When I started the first batch it was obvious it would not feed seven, so I started a second batch that was ten minutes behind the first. Once I got it in to the pans to cook, I figured I had enough. How wrong I was. I tested a loaf after it came out of the oven, and ended up eating half of the first loaf. It was delicious, especially dipping in the scratch made tomato sauce simmering for the Supper.

    So I am now in the proving stage of the third batch, and I think I’ll be able to behave myself. I wanted to share my success and thank you for the chance to try a new recipe.

    I wish I could share pictures with you, the second batch was modified, adding a blend of Italian herb to the dough, and topping with a sprinkle of toasted garlic. I also used a cast iron ‘pizza pan’ that I enjoy using for baking bread and biscuits.

    Thank you.

    1. Oh, I am so pleased you liked it so much!
      Silvia

  24. harperwayne says:

    Hi Silvia,

    I have tried to bake this twice and I’m not sure what I am doing wrong but no matter how long I leave it in the oven, it does not brown and comes out rock hard. I let it sit for the correct amount of time, it definitely doubled in size, I followed every step and even ordered tipo 00 flour from Italy. I used to live in Genova and have been wanting to recreate the focaccia that I ate there for so long now, and I was so excited when I found this recipe. Do you have any idea why it isn’t turning brown, and why it comes out so hard and dense? I am at a loss 😦 Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Harper

  25. Judith Agar says:

    Just found your blog and recipes they look so good!! Please can you clarify which dry yeast you use regular or easy dried yeast

    1. I’m
      Not sure what easy dry yeast is..

  26. Wendy says:

    Mmm, love focaccia! We just spend 3 weeks in Toscana and ate lots of it. 😋 Thanks for the recipe, I’m definitely gonna try this!
    Ps. Do you use tablespoons of 15 ml?

  27. Steve Dille says:

    Agghh. I love focaccia. This turned out pretty hard more like a cracker. I followed the directions. I saw at least one other person who had similar issue. It didn’t seem to rise to double. I used a untrafine flour (Red Mill), but it was not 00 as I couldn’t find that. Perhaps the flour was not right.

  28. Louise says:

    Hi Silvia! I can’t wake to make this. I notice in your recipe it is only 2 short proving times however in your Instagram stories, you mentioned it had been fermenting in the fridge for 3 days. Can you explain how to do this slow ferment and the difference it makes? Thank you!

    1. Hi Louise. This is the faster method, bit if you want to develop the dough for more flavor and texture, retarding it in the fridge will do that. Good luck!

  29. Adeline Peh says:

    Hi Silvia
    Not sure if anyone has already asked this question.. I came across a few recipes using strong flour. Would it make any difference from yours using plain flour? Thanks!

    1. HiAdeline. Strong flour is high in protein, which is greater bread baking. However you can still use plain flour and be successful

  30. Katherine Hazleton says:

    So excited to try this recipe. Lived in Italy for three years and really missing proper focaccia now I’m back in Canada. One question: 2 teaspoons Salt seams an awful lot. Is that a typo for 1\2 tsp

    1. Hi! Not a typo, focaccia needs salt!!

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