I don’t know about you, but the beautiful days of this past week have made me feel like hell. After months of cold weather, the first days of [real] spring are synonymous with celebration. So this week I felt like eating fresh food, salads, raw vegetables, sandwiches, nothing complicated [but still good]. And in the middle of it all, I decided to make focaccia for the first time.
What is focaccia?
Focaccia is a flatbread of Italian origin. It is characterized by small pits all over its surface and is soaked in olive oil. Plain or flavoured, it can be used as an accompaniment to a meal or as the main dish [e.g. sandwich].
How to prepare focaccia?
The dough is similar to bread [and pizza] dough: flour, water, yeast and salt, but focaccia also contains olive oil. I always use fresh yeast, but you can [as always] substitute with dry yeast [for more information, click here]. The kneading can be done in a food processor [with the hook] or by hand without any problem.
After the first resting time, simply place the dough in a mould. Traditionally this mould is rectangular.
I used a 23 x 33 cm pan, which gave me fairly thick focaccia, which I wanted for making sandwiches, but you can use a larger pan for thinner focaccia.
And don’t forget to form the characteristic wells of this bread.
How to flavour it?
The recipe I present here is the basic one. You are free to decorate it, varying the toppings according to the use you want to make of it. I prepare a simple base of olive oil, garlic, and herbs [rosemary, oregano or thyme] which I cover the top of the focaccia [before cooking] and add ingredients as I wish. It can also be topped with vegetables, meat, and cheese like a pizza. The possibilities are endless
Focaccia (easy basic recipe)
- 450 g of flour
- 50 g of semolina (you can replace by classic flour)
- 15 g fresh baker's yeast (or 7g of dry yeast)
- 330 ml of lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 8 g of salt
For the finishing touches
- olive oil
- semolina (or flour)
Exemples de garnitures (optionnel)
- herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano…)
- cherry tomatoes
- coarse salt
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water (the water should not be too hot or it will deactivate the yeast).
- In the bowl, mix the flour and semolina (you can use just flour, the semolina gives the dough a little more texture and crunch). Add the salt, oil and water/yeast mixture. Mix coarsely and transfer the dough to a floured surface.
- Work the dough with the palm of your hand, kneading for about 10 minutes.
- Cover it with a clean cloth and let it rest for 45 minutes in a warm place.
- Oil the dish and flour it with semolina (or flour). Place the dough and gently stretch it to the edges
- Make wells with your fingertips all over the surface of the dough. Brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with toppings if desired.
- Cover again and let stand another 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Bake the focaccia for 20 minutes.