Focaccia for non-Italians should be pronounced as fuh·kaa·chiah. Now that we’ve gotten that straight, let’s go back to the roots. How it started to be one of Italy’s most loved breads.
Its texture and flavor are similar to a pizza’s. A flat-oven baked bread that is crusty but soft and light on the inside. In Ancient Rome, panis focacius was a flat bread baked on the hearth which is a brick or stone-lined fireplace traditionally used for heating the home and cooking food. The origin of the Focaccia bread is believed to have come from the Etruscans—who are the ancient civilization in Italy. Today, it is widely associated in the Ligurian cuisine on the North Western region of Italy.
The capital of Linguria is Genoa. It is only fitting that I share with you a recipe for Focaccia Genovese or also known as fügassa. It is known for its finger-sized holes on the surface, brushed or sprinkled with olive oil, coarse salt, and sometimes water before the final rise.
You Will Need:
Baking tray 40X35cm
For the Dough:
Flour 00 500g
Warm water 300 liters
Fresh brewer’s yeast 8g
Oil 30 liters
Fine salt 10g
For the Brine:
Water 100 liters
Oil 2 tablespoon
Fine salt 2 pinch
Coarse salt (for final touches) 1 tablespoon
Work plan preparation (5 min)
• Arrange all the ingredients and necessary materials on the table.
• Carefully weigh the ingredients and prepare them weighed in the bowls.
• Sanitize the work surface.
• Add 100 grams of flour (taken from the total of the flour) 60 grams of water (taken from the total) and the yeast. Knead by hand, shape into a ball and cross-cut. Cover with cling film and let rise at 26 ° for about 1 hour and a half. After the indicated time, the dough will have doubled its volume.
• Add the rest of the flour and the rest of the water to the bowl of the dough. Knead with a whisk on the mixer or by hand for a few minutes until all the ingredients are blended. The dough must hook onto the whisk.
Then add the oil a little at a time and string. It will take 5 minutes and you will slowly see that the dough of the Genoese focaccia immediately becomes elastic and detaches from the walls. You can also proceed by hand. Finally add the salt and mix well. Form a ball.
• Cover with cling film and leave to rise for at least 3 and a half hours. The dough must triple in volume! In winter time, it will take 4 hours and, in the summer, it will take 2 and a half hours.
• Turn the leavened dough upside down on a lightly floured surface work surface. Form a ball. Let stand 10 minutes. Roll out the dough, lightly dusted with flour, with a rolling pin. Transfer the rolled-out dough to a lightly oiled baking pan: cover with cling film and let rise for about 40 minutes.
• At the end of the indicated time, roll out the Genoese focaccia by ironing the edges and stretching them to the edges of the pan.
• Cover with cling film and let rise for 1 hour.
• At the end of the elapsed time, the focaccia dough has taken on a swollen and rested appearance. It is the most important moment! what characterizes the Genoese focaccia: making holes!
• Dust the surface of the dough and your hands with flour. Use 3 fingers for poking: index, middle and ring finger stretched and start to sink your fingers in a decisive and vigorous way starting from the far end of the pan and then slowly come forward towards your belly. This will prevent large bubbles from forming in your bread while baking it.
• Put the water, salt and oil in a jug. Mix well until the salt dissolves. At this point, let your Genoese focaccia rise the last time in the oven at room temperature for about 1 hour and in any case until the brine has halved, because it has been absorbed. Add another drizzle of oil and a sprinkling of coarse salt for final touches.
• The oven must be very hot at 250 °, bake in the lower part in contact with the fire or heat of the oven and let it cook without opening for about 12 minutes.
• Then transfer the focaccia to the upper rack, where it will have to cook for about 10 more minutes. Last brush of oil, turn on the grill and leave for a few more minutes.
You may also add your preferred herbs like rosemary, sage, garlic, cheese, and onions before baking to enjoy a flavorful Focaccia bread. Yu may also do sweet varieties that can be topped with honey, raisins, sugar, and lemon peel, among others. Partake of this in the morning while enjoying a cup of your coffee and maybe dip it in. The soft bread will be moister but the crust still crunchy. You can also include the Focaccia bread on your next grazing table with assortments of cheese and cold cuts.
You can experiment with what you’d like to put in your Focaccia because it is a very forgiving bread and quite easy to work with. How about you? Have you tried making one from scratch? Wasn’t it worth all the effort? Let us know in the comments section! We’re excited about your stories! If you found making Focaccia bread kind of challenging, remember this Italian saying which I loved: Pan di sudore, miglior sapore.