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 cooking shows, Salt Fat Acid Heat. Adapted from Diego Bedin 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 a 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.
Place the sheet pan in the oven with the oven light turned on to let the focaccia dough rise until 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.