This was my first attempt in making a focaccia bread, the only other time I made one was a different type of bread that included potatoes in the dough. I firstly need to say this experiment was quite successfull for a first try and I will surely repeat it as soon as I have some friends over for dinner as I think it's a very appetizing starter to share with some Italian typical cheeses and hams and a nice glass of red wine. You can rest assured no one will complain or refuse a second slice of focaccia :)
This particular kind or bread is typical of the Liguria region in Italy, in particular the city of Genoa. Some even have it for breakfast with their morning cappuccino! (and this is definitely not a sweet bread...)
The origins of this recipe date back to centuries ago, and it's part of the popular tradition of the Italian food.
I made three different styles of focaccia: plain with rosemary only, with onions (my favourite one) and with a little bit of tomato paste and feta cheese.
I also need to say that to make this focaccia bread you will need to be quite patient: as the secret of a good focaccia is a well raised dough...so if you're in a hurry better plan to prepare this the day before or...change recipe :)
Here's what I did.
For the dough:
350 grams of strong bread flour
200 ml water (lukewarm)
20 ml oil
7 gr salt
1 tbsp honey (or even better of malt)
7 grams dry yeast
For the condiment:
This is up to your taste/fantasy but for sure you will need:
50 ml of a very good extra virgin olive oil
50 ml water (I use some salt in the water too)
and if you like:
1 onion or
green olives or
I used my precious bread machine as I am too lazy to prepare the dough. I simply poured the dough ingredients in (all but the yeast first, this will be added a little bit later so that it doesn't get in touch with the salt)
and patiently waited for the dough to double its size, it will take approximately 1 hour. If you don't have a bread machine you can leave the bread in the oven (turned off) with just the lights on as it keep the air off and allows the dough to raise at a constant temperature (the one from the oven lights).
Once the dough has doubled its size, set it on a floured surface and fold it once or twice: this will allow the dough to get 'stronger' and easier to work. Let rest for 30 minutes.
In the meanwhile you can prepare your oven tray by using some oil or some baking foil ...I used both :)
I prepared 3 different trays, as I made 3 different kinds of focaccia.
Divide the main dough into 3 separate balls and spread each one onto each tray: while doing this make sure you don't 'pull' the dough with you hands but just 'push' it down to spread evenly on the tray surface.
Leave to rest for another 30 minutes.