When it comes to the delicate matter of Focaccia the authentic, 100% born-and bred Italian proudly turns into a -very- opinionated baking expert. Be it as it may that most Italian would rather buy their focaccia at the local bakery instead of baking at home, they all seem to reach a common agreement when it comes to texture, flavor and, most-importantly, the lightness of the crumb. Don’t try to sell an Italian a dense, doughy, thick bread, whose resemblance to authentic focaccia is a mere matter of those glistening holes dimpled on top. No, no, to the authentic Italian Focaccia connoisseur, that will not do. Focaccia, is not a bread. It is it’s very own creation and you will know you have sunken your teeth into the real thing, when you bite into a feather-light crumb, that comes apart with the slightest involvement of your jaws, leaving you wondering how on earth it is possible to pack so much flavor and such a delightful texture into one humble mouthful.
The secret is now unveiled!
Ingredients, adapted from my Focaccia Genovese recipe
1 tablespoon of dried yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon of barley malt syrup or honey
320 gr (2 3/4 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 dried oregano, 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes, salt flakes to taste.
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 sea salt.
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.
Bring your oven to 200 C (390 F) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until it looks slightly golden and utterly irresistible…
- From the kitchen: Roasted Garlic, Kalamata Olive and Shallot Focaccia (loveandcupcakesblog.com)
- Ricotta Gnocchi with Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia (dailygluttony.wordpress.com)
- Focaccia Loving (acupofteawithmrsb.com)