Focaccia bread is an amazing bit of history. This bread has been around thousands of years, spanning from the Greek yet landing in the laps of the Italians. It’s a savory bread which is light, airy and offers a different level of finish than a pizza. Many compare this to a flat bread, or as the precursor to pizza. I’m not sure I agree with either. While flat bread is an airy puffy piece of dough, flat bread is rather plain, and is lacking the fatty ingredient that focaccia thrives on. I can somewhat see the relationship to pizza, but it is anything but pizza.
Olive oil is a huge part of this final bread. Not only is the dough made with a few tablespoons of it, but it’s also added to the bottom of the cooking dish, like a few more tablespoons.
The result with lots of olive oil is the most buttery, soft dough I have ever worked with. It almost feels like a light compilation of a butter dough, something comparable to a Challah bread dough, or our Zopf dough.
Patience and time is the key ingredient in working with the Focaccia. The final touches are up to your creativity level. I guess first you can determine how your focaccia will be used. Will it be a savory to accompany a big green salad? Or is it a side to a nice tomato soup. It could even be your used for a wonderful sandwich, sliced in half and loaded with whatever you desire in your sandwich.
My conclusion…focaccia is damn amazing. Get familiar with this little Italian ‘Street Food” bread, you’ll find you always like to have some on hand.
- 470 grams flour 2 1/3 cups
- 20 grams yeast
- 1 TBS sugar for yeast
- 2-4 pinches salt flakey sea salt, or a coarse sea salt
- 115 ml olive oil about 6-7 TBS
- 230 ml water warm, about 3/4 to 1 cup
- 115 ml milk 1/16th of a cup
- combine the flour, pinch of salt,half the olive oil together in the mixer. combine the yeast, sugar warm water and milk in another container, pour in while mixer is kneading. The dough will be a wet dough, add a bit more flour until dough doesn't stick on the sides or bottom, but is still oily. Remember, expect a wet dough, maybe comprable to a cake dough, so don't add too much flour, just enough to keep it clean on the sides. Cover with a warm towel and let rise for 1 hr. It's now ready to spread out, and have another short rise before the bake.
- add the rest of the olive oil in the bottom of your cooking pan-this provides a nice moisture to the bread, as well as a crispy bottom.
- scrape the dough out with a spatula. Use your fingers to press firmly around until the dough seems evenly spread and is nice and holey. Now, decide what you're going to top your dough with. I wanted rosemary, olives, and some flaky sea salt.
- add your toppers, and let it rise for a second, shorter rise. Cover with a board and set aside for 20-30 min.Preheat oven to 180-200 C. Be sure your focaccia has plenty of finger holes in the top surface. After the second rise, add the olives, and now begin the bake
- bake for about 25 min., or until golden brown. Bake on oven setting top and bottom.
- cut and enjoy