Italian Focaccia (Focaccia) - one of the most popular ancient types of bread that have survived to this day. This crispy bread was born thanks to the ingenuity of the villagers, who made up for the lack of food with an irrepressible imagination. From one classic recipe in modern kitchen, many baking options with a variety of seasonings were born. It is believed that focaccia became the first national dish in Italy.
Even the famous pizza is just the evolved descendant of flat bread. Paradoxically, but having arisen due to the need to save money, today the cake has settled in the ranks of the menu of prestigious restaurants. Let's forget about our figure for a while and plunge into the appetizing world of Italian focaccia.
Most historians believe that focaccia first appeared during the Etruscans in northern Italy. Its name comes from the Roman "panis focacius", which translates as "bread in the center of fire." In the era of the Roman Empire, the cake was baked in the ash left after the fire, and not above the flame.
The focaccia recipe among the Romans consisted of coarse flour, olive oil, water and a small amount of yeast and salt.
In those days, they ate it quite simply, tearing it with their hands and dipping it in water acidified with vinegar. In our time, such a meal does not sound very appetizing, but for people who are exhausted from hard physical labor, the main task was to eat cheap and satisfying.
In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church used focaccia quite widely during religious festivals. But most often it is served during the sacrament of the Eucharist as the "body of Christ." This tradition has gone from the great availability of unleavened bread. Although some claim that her recipe is pure and spotless with foreign ingredients, and thus perfectly symbolizes the Lord, free from sin.
To speak of focaccia today means to imply Liguria. It was this northern region that became the mother of a huge number of varieties of flat bread. But in addition to Ligurian bread options, almost every region of Italy has its own traditional way of making it.
The classic focaccia dough contains 5 main components: flour, water, olive oil, salt and yeast. The form of baking is absolutely unlimited. It can be round, square, in the form of elongated stripes. Traditionally, the yeast cake is tender, porous and has a thickness of 1.5-2 cm. The yeast-free bread is thin and crispy.
Based on the classic focaccia, many product variants have been created. Many of them are characterized by the original name. For example, in Liguria 3 versions are the most popular:
- Focaccia Genovese (Focaccia Genovese or Focaccia classica di Genova) - This is a classic baking, characterized by a glossy, oily crust and a light, porous crumb. Its height ranges from 1-2 cm.
- Focaccia di Recco (Focaccia di Recco or Focaccia col formaggio) - a thin yeast-free cake with a layer of cheese.
- Focaccia di Voltri - bread, which contains the same components as in the classic version. But it is significantly different in appearance and taste. This is a thin, crispy product with large air bubbles.
Outside of Liguria, there are unusual variations. So, in the north-west of Italy, sweet focaccia (focaccia dolce) is widespread. It is sprinkled with sugar, supplemented with raisins, honey or other sweet ingredients. In South Tyrol, there is a special love for tortillas with potatoes and rosemary (focaccia con patate e rosmarino).
In fact, you can improve a famous product in many ways. We will talk about this below, but for now, let's move on to the classic focaccia recipe.
Everyone knows that only knowledge of the classics in most recipes helps to experiment and create incredible masterpieces.
The cake is tasty not only in combination with numerous fillings, but also in its natural form - with olive oil and rosemary.
And the aroma that surrounds the whole house with fresh pastries will not leave anyone indifferent. We guarantee that there is nothing easier than preparing a classic focaccia.
Components required for the test:
- Flour from soft wheat varieties of fine grinding - 350 g;
- Boiled water at room temperature - 210 g;
- Olive oil - 1 tbsp. spoon;
- Dry yeast - 7 g;
- Sugar - 2 teaspoons;
- Salt - 5 g.
Ingredients for surface lubrication:
- Olive oil - 2 tbsp. spoons;
- Salt is a sliver.
Note that in the manufacture of the product at home, the Italian flour grade 00 is used.
So, combine dry flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Add water and oil and knead the dough until elastic. We send it to an enameled container and cover it with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place. Ideal option: preheat the oven to 50 degrees, turn off the heat and, placing a bowl of dough in it, close the door tightly.
After the lapse of time we take the dough into our hands and gently mash for about a minute to "drive out" the air from the inside. Then evenly distribute it in a pre-greased baking dish (35 * 28 cm), cover and let rise again.
With our fingertips we make indentations along the entire surface of the cake and leave it for the last time for 10 minutes. Final touch: grease the focaccia with oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake in a preheated oven to 200 degrees for 25 minutes.
Of course, fresh pastries have the maximum rich taste. But, nevertheless, you can store your bread in a cloth bag for about 2 days. In this case, it is recommended to slightly heat it in the oven before use.
Cooking Fine Focaccia
To prepare a thin cake, we need the same ingredients and in the same amount as for the classic version.
The difference between the processes begins after kneading the dough. We divide it into 4 parts. We form balls, put on a baking sheet, sprinkled with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 70-90 minutes.
When the volume of the test increases approximately 2 times, then it is time to move on to the next step. We transfer the balls one by one onto the floured work surface and roll out thin disks with a diameter of about 30 cm.
In this case, the time for raising the test is not maintained. Lubricate the cake with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake in an oven preheated to 250 degrees for 4-6 minutes.
Ready focaccia is flat and crispy. It is unevenly "decorated" with large air bubbles.
For the most part, yeast focaccia is baked on the territory of the republic. But if it comes to a tortilla with a filling inside, then most often the dough for it does not contain yeast.
We want to share with you a recipe for the very popular Focacci di Recco or fresh baked goods with a layer of cheese. It can serve as a great alternative to pizza. It cooks easily and very quickly, since there is no need to wait long for the dough to ripen.
We will need:
- Flour - 250 g;
- Water - 120 ml;
- Olive oil - 30 ml (+ for lubrication);
- Salt - a pinch;
- Soft cheese (ideally strakkino) - 300 g.
If you do not have the opportunity to buy a strakkino, replace it with any soft curd cheese. In the most hopeless situation, you can take processed cheese.
At the beginning of cooking, sift the flour into a deep bowl, in the center of which we pour a pinch of salt and pour water and oil. All is well kneaded until the dough is uniform. Cover and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 parts and roll out the rolling pin to a thickness of not more than 2 mm. Evenly distribute pieces of cheese on one layer and cover with another, pinching the edges. Lubricate the surface with a small amount of olive oil.
Bake in the oven with convection, preheated to 200 degrees, for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown crust. Let cool and your focaccia with cheese is ready for use.
There are so many variations of focaccia fillings that you can make your favorite flat cake, focusing only on your mood and desire.
To obtain a fragrant version of the product, spicy herbs are used: rosemary, sage, basil, oregano. They sprinkle the surface of the dough, after lubricating with olive oil. Seasonally, focaccia is decorated with tomatoes before baking. As a rule, Cherry fruits are cut in half for this.
In yeast form, chopped onions or garlic are often put in the dough. Although some prefer to see these spicy vegetables on the surface of the bread. At the same time, onions are placed on it before baking, and garlic - after (as well as fresh herbs).
Unlike the classic focaccia, the yeast-free option practically requires a filling. In addition to the cheese mentioned for these purposes, take:
- Slices of sausage, bacon, minced meat;
- Potatoes and other vegetables or vegetable mixtures (usually ready-made);
- Sweet versions include raisins, nuts, jams and slices of fresh fruit.
Today, focaccia with pesto sauce is very popular. It is prepared in two ways:
- Smear the yeast cake with the sauce before baking;
- On thin dough (with or without yeast) lay slices of boiled potatoes, which are then covered with pesto. A second layer of dough is placed on top of the resulting "pyramid", pressing the edges tightly.
Honestly, the decoration and stuffing of Italian bread has no specific restrictions. Use your wild fantasy to the maximum and enjoy the result.
Like most white types of bread, Italian focaccia is taken hostile by nutritionists around the world. With a sufficiently high calorie content (249 kcal per 100 g), it practically does not have nutritional value. The energy balance of 100 g of the product consists of:
- Proteins - 8.8 g;
- Fats - 7.9 g;
- Carbohydrates - 36 g.
A large amount of carbohydrates in the composition of the cake automatically transfers it to the ranks of products that must be used with caution in people with type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Mineral salt is slightly present in bread. Nevertheless, patients with arterial hypertension should adjust their diet taking into account the use of focaccia in order to avoid surges in blood pressure.
The presence of gluten indicates that the product should be completely excluded from the diet of people with celiac disease.
A nice plus cakes - vitamin E in the amount of 2.22 mg per 100 g. This is approximately 20-30% of the daily needs of an adult. Tocopherol is a powerful antioxidant. He participates in the work of the reproductive system, prevents the formation of blood clots, and is also responsible for the healthy appearance of the skin.
To summarize, we recall that everything is good in moderation. By limiting the portion of focaccia to 50-70 g, you will not only not harm your body, but also get easy pleasure.
Softly and gently, in a delicious way, we came to the end of the article. Live sweetly, love honestly, bake festively and remember: "Without pancake, it's not Shrovetide, without focaccia, it's not Italy!"