Ligurian Focaccia must be the best focaccia on earth. Fresh out of the oven, you are in for a treat.
The Ligurian version is very simple to make. One of the things I love about this recipe is the flavor and texture. Everything about this bread is to die for, from the thin crust on the bottom and the crispy crust on top to the light moist center. The little indentations that are formed all over the dough, which hold tiny pools of olive oil that soak into the bread after it’s baked, make it so good. The recipe is adapted, with slight adjustments from one of my favorite chefs Samin Nosrat and her cooking show Salt Fat Acid Heat. The recipe is adapted from Diego Bedin and with the help of Joesy Baker.
Joesy Baker is a baker (and yes that’s his real name) out of San Francisco. He wrote a book called Josey Bread Baker. If you are into baking, it’s a great book that I highly recommend.
The name comes from the word “focus”, which means “fireplace” or “hearth” in Latin. The bread was cooked over an open fire or on heated stones. The ingredients were simple back then and the basic recipe has not changed much to this day. Flour, water, yeast, and olive oil are the four essentials. Focaccia can be a blank canvas for delicious toppings, feel free to get creative. I topped mine with fresh rosemary and cherry tomatoes.
Focaccia is a piece of amazing bread. The salt brine and the dosing of olive oil kick everything up a notch. I’m pretty generous with the EVOO, the oil will settle in the dimples of the focaccia and saturate the bread making it so awesome. To finish, sprinkle a good quality flakey sea salt over the bread before it goes into the oven. It will add a delicious saltiness. One thing I realized quickly, once the bread comes out of the oven I need to control myself or I over-indulge, eating way too much. So bake and eat mindfully.
Active dry yeast vs quick rise yeast:
Focaccia is a simple yeast dough that raises twice. I use a quick rise yeast or as it’s called instant yeast. If you don’t have a lot of time to spare and want warm fresh baked bread for dinner, then instant dry yeast may be the best choice for you. Active dry yeast is a much slower rise. Instant yeast has been milled into smaller particles so it doesn’t need to be dissolved into water. Also, enzymes and other additives are included to make the dough rise faster. It makes no difference, it all depends on what you prefer and how much time you have. Active dry yeast has a larger granule and needs to be dissolved in water before using, while instant yeast has a more fine texture and can be mixed right into dry ingredients, without the initial feeding. For my farmer’s bread recipe that I love to bake, I use active dry yeast. However, with the Focaccia recipe, I don’t want to wait for the dough to rise for 14 to 16 hours, so I use instant yeast. Place the sheet pan in the oven with the oven light turned on to let the focaccia dough rise until the dough is light and bubbly. Placing the dough in the oven with the light on provides the perfect environment to let the invisible little creatures, (bacteria) do their amazing work. I let the dough rise until it reaches the rim of the sheet pan.
In Italian culture, it may be served as an antipasto, appetizer, table bread, or snack. Because it’s pretty thick, focaccia can be sliced in half and used for making sandwiches. It’s delicious served with meatballs, a great plate of pasta, a soup or a fresh salad. Focaccia is higher in sodium than other bread. However, we should not ignore the fact, it’s all about a balanced diet. The Mediterranean diet is not only bread and pasta, but it also has a lot of vegetables, meat, and fish. So remember to eat in moderation.
Fresh baked focaccia should be eaten the day it was baked, it’s fine the next day when it’s heated. Should there be leftovers, don’t store them in the refrigerator. I recommend storing it in an airtight container on the counter. Or you can freeze the bread, it will keep for up to three months in a sealed plastic bag. Make sure to press all of the air out of the bag before freezing.
Baked on a sheet pan, the thing I love about this recipe is the flavor and texture.
Extra-virgin olive oil and a good quality flakey sea salt are what make it so unbelievably delicious.
A fun, easy, and versatile bread to make.
A simple recipe that is a crowd-pleaser.
I love this recipe and will bake it over and over again.
A Mediterranean classic that is telling a story about flavor, history, and traditions.
Stale focaccia makes lovely bread salad!
Cube the focaccia, toss with a bit of olive oil (if needed), and toast lightly for the best croutons ever.
Or bake a savory focaccia bread pudding with mushrooms and goat cheese.
Served with a crisp garlicky Caesar salad that sounds like an irresistible amazing lunch dish to me.
Chef Samin Nosrat's Ligurian Focaccia
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup lukewarm water
Make the dough
- In a medium bowl, stir together lukewarm water and honey to dissolve. In a large bowl, whisk flour, instant yeast, and salt together to combine. Then add the water honey mixture and the olive oil. Stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated, then scrape the sides of the bowl clean, pour a little olive oil over the dough, and gently spread across. Place in oven with the light turned on and cover with a towel. Let the dough proof until it has doubled in size. It will take about an hour or so.2.5 cups lukewarm water, 1/2 tsp active instant yeast, 2.5 tsp honey, 5 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp kosher salt, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Add the dough to the pan
- Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons oil evenly onto an 18-by-13 inch (46-by-33 cm) rimmed baking sheet. When the dough is ready, use your hand to release it from the sides of the bowl and fold it onto itself gently, then pour it out onto the pan. Pour an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the dough and gently spread across. Stretch the dough to the edge of the sheet by placing your hands underneath and pulling outward. The dough will shrink a bit, so repeat stretching once or twice over the course of 30 minutes to ensure the dough remains stretched.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Make the brine
- Make the brine by stirring together salt and water until the salt is dissolved. Pour the brine over the dough to fill dimples.1/3 cup lukewarm water, 1.5 tsp kosher salt
Dimple the dough
- Dimple the dough by pressing your first three fingers in at an angle. Pour the brine over the dough to fill dimples. Place the sheet pan in the oven with the oven light turned on to let the dough rise until the dough is light and bubbly. The dough should rise to the rim of the sheet pan. Remove from oven and set aside.
Bake the Focaccia
- Turn on the oven to 450°F (235°C). If you have a baking stone, place it on a rack. Otherwise, invert another sturdy baking sheet pan and place it on a rack. Sprinkle focaccia with flaky salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes directly on top of stone or inverted sheet pan until bottom crust is crisp and golden brown. You can check crust by lifting gently with a metal spatula. To finish browning top crust, place focaccia on the upper rack and bake for 5 to 7 minutes more.1 tbsp Maldon sea salt, flakes
Douse baked Focaccia with oilve oil
- Remove from oven and douse with 2 to 3 tablespoons oil over the whole surface (don’t worry if the olive pools in pockets, it will absorb as it sits). Let cool for 5 minutes, then release focaccia from the pan with a metal spatula and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature.3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate