Le Ricette Della Mamma #1 | Easy Focaccia Recipe

Focaccia with tomato
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The authentic focaccia Barese recipe that will make you feel like in Italy

 

My Mamma’s focaccia always reminds me of these long summer nights where we enjoyed an aperitivo outdoors. My taste buds would get excited by the sweet scent of the Italian bread baking in the oven in harmony with herbs. I just couldn’t wait until I could taste that soft focaccia along with a Spritz Aperol, while listening to my grandmothers’ jokes in our backyard surrounded by olive trees.

This focaccia recipe (pronounced foh – kah- tchah) is the traditional way of making this authentic Italian food, straight from my Mamma’s recipe book. It is quite easy to make and results with a satisfying fluffy texture. 

The focaccia is a great alternative to pizza that can be eaten for lunch or dinner. It is also a simple snack if you feel a bit peckish.

 

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Focaccia Ingredients & material

Ingredients

  • 470 g Italian 00 flour – if not found can be replaced by strong white bread flour
  • 230 g lukewarm water 
  • 12 g salt
  • 16 g sugar
  • 5 g brewer’s yeast – or 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 45 g extra virgin olive oil 
  • Black olives 
  • 1 Large handful of cherry tomatoes
  • Oregano

Material

  • Plain surface
  • Baking sheet
  • Oven tray

Italian 00 flour is considered “the” flour to use for making typical focaccia or pizza. It brings this soft yet chewy enough texture to the dough and contains between 8-12% of protein.

Brewer’s yeast brings that extra flavor to the focaccia’s dough and is much slower than baking yeast. In case of using dry yeast, substitute a little less than half of the active dry yeast for the brewer’s yeast, since the active dry yeast is a more concentrated form. In this case, warm water is recommended as it will help the sugar and yeast to melt well. Using a thermometer can help prevent the water to not be too hot or too cold. In case if you would prefer to avoid sugar in your focaccia recipe, you can substitute it with honey or agave syrup. 

 

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Focaccia step by step

Focaccia is one of my favorite home-made recipes as the original ingredients make it be so simple to follow for beginners, and can easily be combined with other dishes for a complete meal. This pizza alternative is also naturally vegan friendly as it mainly uses herbs and/or vegetables. No fancy equipment nor professional knowledge is needed as it is easy to make by the hand of with the help of a regular mixer. 

  1. Melt the yeast and sugar in warm water while mixing well with a fork.
  2. Add the salt directly to the flour. This is important as salt neutralizes the leavening.
  3. Gradually add the water mix to flour along with olive oil. 
  4. Knead the dough for 5 min by hand or using the mixer until it forms a homogenous mix.  If the dough is too soft, a little flour can be added.
  5. Roll out the dough by hand using a bit of oil. Do not use a rolling pin as it releases air from the dough and therefore makes it less soft.
  6. Make a ball out of the dough and transfer it to a large oiled bowl, cover it with a cloth and let it rest for 2 hours in the warmest place in the kitchen, or inside the oven with the lights on only, until it doubles in size.
  7. Once the dough has risen, place it in the oven tray and press it gently with your fingers, from the center to the edges. 
  8. Preheat the oven at 220 °C/425 °F, and in the meantime add the tomatoes and olives previously cut in half, 2 tbsp. of olive oil mixed with oregano and sprinkle some sea salt or coarse salt all over the dough.
  9. Leave to prove for a further 20 minutes, then bake for 20 minutes until golden brown on top and soft in the middle.

 

Tips for an authentic Focaccia

As Mamma would always say, successful focaccia is when there is a perfect symbiosis between a tiny bit of crisp on top and mellow soft inside. She would always suggest adding a boiled and crushed potato for a softer and fluffier dough. 

She also says that it is important to keep in mind that olive oil the softness of focaccia, but hey, we know that it is something to be used with moderation 🙂

It is possible to keep the focaccia in the fridge, folded in a plastic wrap, for up to 3 days, and in the freezer for about a month. 

 

Focaccia variations

The advantage of focaccia recipes is that it can be used for many variations depending on your taste and desire. 

Garlic Rosemary Focaccia: Steam the garlic until soft, mash it with a fork, and add it to the olive oil along with rosemary herbs.

Onion & green olives Focaccia: Cut 2 white onions and green olives into slices and add it directly to the dough before cooking. Once baked, add basil leaves on top before serving.

 

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Marinated balsamic onion & thyme Focaccia: Cut 2 red onion onions into slices, add garlic powder and salt, fry at medium-low heat until golden brown. Add 5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and thyme leaves, lower heat to minimum and cook for 3-4 min then let it cool. Add the fried onions directly to the dough and bake.

Eggplant & dried tomato Focaccia: Slice the eggplant and grill without oil. Cut the dried tomato into pieces then add both tomatoes and eggplant to the dough, sprinkle rosemary herbs all over before baking.

 

With all these variations you can also add garlic along with olive oil, cheese such as Parmesan or Taleggio, and use different dried herbs. 

 

Enjoy your focaccia! 

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