Italian Focaccia Recipe
Focaccia is a beloved Italian flatbread known for its soft and chewy texture, rich olive oil flavor, and delightful toppings. Whether you enjoy it as an appetizer, a side dish, or a snack, making homemade focaccia is a gratifying experience that brings a taste of Italy to your kitchen. In this recipe, we’ll guide you through the steps to create a classic Italian focaccia.
For the Dough:
- 500 grams (about 4 cups) bread flour
- 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) salt
- 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) sugar
- 7 grams (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 350 milliliters (about 1 1/2 cups) warm water
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Topping:
- 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh rosemary sprigs (or other herbs of your choice)
- Coarse sea salt
- Optional toppings: sliced olives, cherry tomatoes, or thinly sliced red onions
- Activate the Yeast: In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Stir gently and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy. This indicates that the yeast is active.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread flour and salt.
- Add Yeast Mixture: Pour the activated yeast mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
- Knead the Dough: Mix until the ingredients come together, and then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic. You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook for this step.
- First Rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise for about 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven to preheat as well.
- Prepare the Pan: Grease a baking sheet or a shallow, rimmed baking pan generously with olive oil. You can use a 9×13-inch pan for a thicker focaccia or a larger pan for a thinner version.
- Shape the Dough: Gently transfer the risen dough to the prepared pan. Press it down with your fingertips, spreading it evenly to fill the pan. If the dough resists, let it rest for a few minutes and then continue spreading.
- Second Rise: Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise again for about 30 minutes. It will become slightly puffy.
- Add Toppings: Using your fingertips, create dimples in the dough’s surface. Drizzle the top with extra-virgin olive oil, ensuring it fills the dimples. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and fresh rosemary sprigs (or other toppings of your choice).
- Bake: Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the focaccia is golden brown and has a crisp crust.
- Cool and Serve: Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then, transfer it to a wire rack to cool further. Slice and serve.
Tips for Perfect Focaccia:
- High-quality extra-virgin olive oil enhances the flavor, so use the best you can find.
- You can customize your focaccia with various toppings, such as olives, cherry tomatoes, or thinly sliced red onions.
- Be creative with herbs and seasonings to suit your taste.
With this recipe, you can create a flavorful and aromatic Italian focaccia that’s perfect for sharing with friends and family or enjoying as a savory snack. The combination of soft, chewy bread and fragrant olive oil makes it an irresistible treat straight from the heart of Italy.