Focaccia is a classic Italian flat bread that is savory blend of extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs (rosemary in this case) and usually a sprinkling of course sea salt. You can add any number of toppings such as olives, tapenade, fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto, anchovies and more. In this video from Chef John of FoodWishes.com, you'll learn exactly how to make this wonderful bread.
Even if you're not a big fan of baking (I'm not), this focaccia bread recipe might just be tempting enough to add to your cooking repertoire. Read Chef John's blog post and original recipe here.
The Origins of Focaccia
The word focaccia derives from the latin word for hearth. In Italy, this flat bread is very often made "at the hearth" in wood-fired ovens, much like pizza, which adds another layer of delicious, smokey flavor. Crisp and toasty on the outside with the perfect chewy bite on the inside. Mmmmm.
What to Serve Focaccia With
Fresh, warm slices of focaccia served alongside summer salads and light pasta dishes is one of the best ways to enjoy this rich and indulgent taste treat. If the weather turns cool, whip up a bowl of hot soup just as an excuse to indulge in this savory, chewy bread.
For an easy lunch or dinner option, serve slices of focaccia with a platter of cheeses, olives, and your favorite charcuterie. Because charcuterie and focaccia are both quite rich, a little goes a long way. Serve with a crisp bottle of your favorite chilled white wine, a summery rosé or even a hearty red. A fresh green side salad is nice but optional. Great for unexpected guests or a quiet dinner at home. Everyone can assemble their very own "perfect" small plate of flavors.
Olive Oil - The Key To Focaccia as a Sandwich Bread
Focaccia also makes an excellent sandwich bread. The moisture from the olive oil means you need very little in the way of dressing with your sandwich. Fresh tomatoes, grilled peppers, a variety of deli meats and you have an unbelievably tasty lunch.
Focaccia is a rich and chewy savory bread that is perfect with summer salads, light pasta dishes, as a sandwich bread or with hot or cold soup. The time it takes to make this bread will depend on the heat and humidity of your kitchen. Don't rush it. Make it on a day when you can leave it to do its thing while checking back occasionally. It's worth the effort! Best eaten fresh.
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (105 degrees F/41 degrees C)
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup semolina flour
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (optional)
- 2 3/4 cups bread flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or to taste
- Whisk yeast with warm water in a mixing bowl
- whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, semolina flour, and 2 teaspoons rosemary until thoroughly combined.
- Mix in 2 1/2 cups bread flour, using a wooden spoon, until dough is too stiff and sticky to mix.
- Turn dough out onto a floured work surface.
- Knead, dusting with remaining 1/4 cup bread flour as needed, until dough is soft, smooth, and slightly elastic, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Drizzle dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil, spreading oil over the dough.
- Knead briefly, about 2 minutes, to incorporate olive oil.
- Repeat with 1 more tablespoon oil. Knead 2 or 3 more minutes to incorporate olive oil. Drizzle dough with 1 more tablespoon oil and knead in as before. If dough seems too sticky, knead in a little more flour.
- Knead until dough is soft, smooth, and elastic, 1 to 2 more minutes (7 to 8 minutes total kneading time).
- Drizzle 1 more tablespoon olive oil into a large bowl, place dough into bowl, and turn dough in bowl several times to coat with oil. Cover bowl with aluminum foil and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.
- Coat a sheet pan lightly with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Turn dough into pan and press gently into a rough rectangular shape using your fingers, pressing out air bubbles. Cover sheet pan loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 15 to 20 minutes to relax the gluten.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon more olive oil onto the dough, spread oil onto dough, and poke 3 or 4 oil-covered fingers deeply into the dough to make dimples all over the surface. Poke holes all the way down to the bottom of the pan. Fill in any spaces with holes until entire surface is covered with dimples. Let rise until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
- Sprinkle 2 teaspoons minced rosemary over top of dough. Drizzle 1 more tablespoon olive oil onto the surface of the dough and brush on very lightly to avoid moving the rosemary. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake in the preheated oven until focaccia loaf is lightly golden brown, about 15 minutes. Brush 1 last tablespoon olive oil onto the loaf. Transfer to a rack and let cool before cutting.
As with all dough recipes, you may need a little less or little more flour. The total weight I added was about 12 ounces. This will work with just all-purpose flour, but I prefer the bread flour and semolina.
There are dozens of different and delicious toppings with which to accessorize your slab. A few of my favorites would be chopped olives, caramelized onions, and sliced grapes.
photo credit: L.Richarz
via photopin cc
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