On a notebook I keep with me since I moved to Turin, I collected some of the recipes I tried and turned out to be good. Among these recipes, the one for focaccia has a place of honour.
Focaccia is a flat, very soft bread. Italians don’t see it as bread, though. The recipe comes from the region where I lived, Liguria. The original version is plain, without any topping, just seasoned with splashes of olive oil. Other versions include toppings as onion, tomatoes, vegetables and rosemary, as I did in this case. Also the thickness, the crunchiness and the amount of oil can change. I like the soft, thick, but not oily version, other like the thinner, but more oily one. It’s up to you, it’s just a matter of how you spread the dough and how long you keep the focaccia in the oven.
As always, I want to warn you: we don’t have any scales, yet. And also when we had, I am always changing quantities, usually taking away sugar and adding flour, so trust your finger tops. The dough has to be soft, not sticky, but also not too heavy. This is the recipe is the one I have in my notebook, and is for a big tray, not the small one I made;
350 ml lukewarm water
600 gr white flour
25 gr fresh yeast (or one 7 gr pacage of the granular one)
4 TBS olive oil
1 ts sugar (i used honey)
For the topping
..and then you can add whatever you want (try cherry tomatoes and oregano!yumm)
Pour a small amount of the lukewarm water (approx. one cup) in a small bowl. Add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar. Set apart for 10 minutes, until bubbles have formed.
In a big bowl, put the flour and add the yeast mixture, the oil and slowly add the remaining water. Mix and knead until you have a ball of soft dough.
Dust the bottom of the bowl with a bit of flour and leave the dough to rest for two hours, covered by a wet cloth.
After two hours, oil a baking pan, take the dough and spread it all over the tray (it should be approx. 1 cm thick). Make some small pits in the dough with the tips of your fingers. This is not only to give the typical form to the focaccia, but it holds the flavours of the toppings and, of course, of the olive oil.
Allow to rest another 30 minutes.Meanwhile you can get you toppings ready and preheat the oven at 190 °C.
Add the toppings you chose and remember to sprinkle with salt.
Put in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the focaccia is golden.