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, 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.
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.
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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- Bretzels (silviascucina.wordpress.com)
- Focaccia Pugliese (home-made focaccia Apulian style) (silviascucina.net)
- The Ultimate Focaccia (korenainthekitchen.com)
- Focaccia, Revisited (loavesandstitches.wordpress.com)