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Traditional Focaccia Bread {Ligurian Focaccia}

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Focaccia bread is one of the most famous Italian flatbreads.

This Ligurian Focaccia, is the most classic, Italian Focaccia recipe. Soft and spongy inside it’s generously coated with extra virgin olive oil and large coarse sea salt that creates the perfect crust.

This recipe is typical to Liguria region and Genoa in particular where it’s called focaccia al olio or Fugassa in Genoese dialect.

And I bet, wherever in the world you might be, every time focaccia is mentioned this classic Focaccia

Traditional Italian Focaccia {Focaccia Genovese}

The word focaccia (pronounced “foh-KAcha”) has Latin origin. Focus – means fire and Panis focacius  literally means “a flatbread baked in the coals”.

Often, with the word focaccia people refer to all its possible variants. However, this term mainly refers to the classic Focaccia Genoese.

It’s about ½ inch thick, a little chewy but still soft inside with a delicious olive oil crust on top and on the bottom. For those of you guys who are serious into baking, traditional Focaccia Genovese has approx. 55% hydration ratio.

Traditional Italian Focaccia {Focaccia Genovese}

Focaccia Origin

Focaccia as it’s known today dates back to 16th century.

Bakers were making focaccia early in the morning, before baking first loaves of bread, to test temperature in the wooden oven and munch on something hot and filling early morning.

But before I get to the authentic Genoese focaccia recipe let’s see some of the popular focaccia bread “cousins”. They are very similar to the staple focaccia but each with its unique characteristic.

Different Types Of Focaccia Bread

You can find its variations all across Italy. Thin or tall, salty, salt free or even sweet; crunchy  and oily or soft and friable, with topping, plain or stuffed with cured meat – just to name a few.

Interestingly, ingredients remain mainly the same for all types of focaccia: water, flour, yeast, extra virgin olive oil and salt. Pretty much as those for pizza.

But the recipe, the taste so as as the name changes when you move from one region of Italy to another.

In Rome, for example, it’s lighter and a bit taller (just enough to slice in in half and make a sandwich). Typical to Rome it’s called Pizza Bianca. The best and most classic way to enjoy it is cut in half and make mortadella sandwich (or mortazza).

In Tuscany “focaccia” or better to say focaccia type of flatbread is called schiacciata, ciaccia o schiaccia, which literaly means “pressed” due to its characteristic dimples. It’s less browned on the top and sometime might be even pale-ish with semi-crunchy crust.

About an inch thick it’s perfect for panini.

Both schiacciata and pizza bianca compared to classic focaccia have a higher percentage of water and high hydration results in a softer crumb.

There are also other types out there, less famous but still delicious.

Focaccia Barese stuffed with tomatoes.

Schiacciata catanese (schiacciate di Catania) stuffed with tuma cheese (first salt cheese) and anchovies.

Focaccia or schiacciata messinese (schiacciata di Messina) stuffed with potatoes, broccoli, tuma cheese, tomatoes and more.

In Liguria, you’ll also find another typical and pretty famous Focaccia di Recco or fugassa cö formaggio in genoese dialect – focaccia stuffed with fresh cheese.

Its origin seems to go back to the twelfth century. According to a document thin bread stuffed with fresh cheese was offered to the crusaders leaving towards the Holy Land.

Today we’ll be making the most famous and classic version of this bread – Classic Focaccia Genovese.

It’s the mother to all flatbreads. It’s about ½ inch thick, a little chewy but still soft inside with a delicious olive oil crust on top and on the bottom.

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How To Make Focaccia Bread – Step By Step

  • In a mixer bowl add lukewarm water and yeast. Let sit for a few minutes until yeast is completely dissolved (photo 1).
  • Combine in a mixer bowl malt (or honey), flour, olive oil and salt (photo 2). Give a quick stir with a spatula or a fork.
  • Start kneading on low speed (photo 3).
Kneading Focaccia Dough in a stand mixer
  • Once flour has been completely incorporated increase the speed and knead for about 10 minutes (photo 4) until the dough comes together around the kneading hook, becomes elastic and smooth (photo 5).
  • Place the dough in a large bowl greased with extra virgin olive oil (photo 6). Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and kitchen towel (photo 7).
  • Let rise for 1.5 – 2 hours in a warm place (75-80F).
  • Past that time the dough should double or even triple in size (photo 8).
Kneading Focaccia Dough in a stand mixer and dough rise
  • Pour extra virgin olive oil on a quarter-sheet 9×13 inch baking pan (photo 9).
  • Let the dough come out from the bowl onto the pan. Turn it over to coat another side of the dough with olive oil (photo 10).
  • Using your hands pat the dough down to fit the pan (photo 11). Try to maintain the same thickness all over the pan. Cover with a lid if you have a lid that fits the pan or with linen towel (photo 12).
  • Let rise for another 30-60 minutes or until it has doubled in size (photo 13).
  • In the meantime, prepare salamoia: beat quickly lukewarm water with extra virgin olive oil
  • Once your focaccia has doubled in size pour salamoia all over it (photo 14).
Forming Focaccia Bread on a Sheet Pan
  • Lightly oil your hands and using your fingers press down the dough to imprint typical dimples all over focaccia bread (photo 15).
  • Sprinkle with coarse sea salt or sea salt flakes (photo 16).
  • Bake in a preheated to 450F (230C) oven for 15-20 minutes (preferably in the lower part of the oven).
  • Once out of the oven brush focaccia with extra virgin olive to taste (photo 17).
Making holes in focaccia

Extra Tips For Perfect Focaccia Bread

  • For the most delicious, soft and spongy focaccia use minimum required amount of yeast.
  • Use 1 tsp yeast (see recipe for details) only if you are not sure in the quality of your dry yeast or using it for the first time. Also, if you need to slightly accelerate rising time of the dough.
  • If the dough had risen quickly the first time and you still have plenty of time for the second rise in the pan and before baking it (for example guests coming for dinner) punch the dough down in the bowl and let it rise again before arranging it in the pan.

Can I make focaccia dough in advance and let it rest overnight in the fridge?

Yes, you can absolutely set in in the fridge overnight with a few simple adjustments.

Overnight Focaccia Adjustments

  • Once you have your focaccia(s) set in the pan, let it rest for about 30 minutes.
  • Past that time prepare salamoia (water+ extra virgin olive oil) and imprint the dimples.
  • Cover each pan with a plastic wrap making it airtight (super important!).
  • Place sheet pans with focaccia in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours.
  • Once ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle with salt.
  • Let rise in a warm place or previously slightly preheated turned off oven.
    Since focaccia dough is cold it’ll need some extra time to rise. Usually it takes 1-2 hours.
  • Bake in a preheated to 450F oven for 15-20 minutes as directed in the last step of the recipe.
  • Once focaccia bread is cooked brush it with extra virgin olive.

TRY ALSO: Pinsa Romana {Roman Style Pizza} – a healthier, more digestible version of pizza

5 from 4 votes

Italian Focaccia Bread {Liguruian Focaccia}

Classic Focaccia Genovese is the mother to all flatbreads. It’s about ½ inch thick, a little chewy but still soft inside with a delicious olive oil crust on top and on the bottom.
Print Pin Rate / Comment
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Rising Time3 hrs
Total Time40 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 cup water lukewarm
  • 2 ½ cup (13 oz) bread flour + more if needed
  • 1 tsp malt or honey
  • ½ tsp dry yeast (1 tsp if needed – see note 2)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil for

For salamoia and topping:

Instructions

Focaccia Dough

  • In a mixer bowl add lukewarm water and yeast.
    Let sit for a few minutes until yeast is completely dissolved.
  • If you’re using a stand mixer use dough hook attachment.
    Combine in a mixer bowl malt (or honey), flour, olive oil and salt. Give a quick stir with a spatula or a fork.
  • Start kneading on low speed. Once flour has been completely incorporated increase the speed and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough comes together around the kneading hook, becomes elastic and smooth.
    Add a bit more flour if needed.
  • Place the dough in a large bowl greased with extra virgin olive oil.
    Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and kitchen towel.
    Let rise for 1.5 – 2 hours in a warm place (75-80F).
    Past that time the dough should double or even triple in size.
  • Pour extra virgin olive oil on a quarter-sheet (9×13 inch) baking pan.
    Let the dough come out from the bowl onto the pan. Turn it over to coat another side of the dough with olive oil.
  • Using your hands pat the dough down to fit the pan. Try to maintain the same thickness all over the pan.
    Cover with a lid if you have a lid that fits the pan or with linen towel and let rise for another 30-60 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
    In the meantime, prepare salamoia: beat quickly lukewarm water with extra virgin olive oil.
    Beat quickly lukewarm water with extra virgin olive oil for salamoia.
    Once your focaccia has doubled in size pour salamoia all over it.
  • Lightly oil your hands and using your fingers press down the dough to imprint typical dimples all over focaccia.
    Sprinkle with coarse sea salt or sea salt flakes.
  • Bake in a preheated to 450F oven for 15-20 minutes (preferably in the lower part of the oven).
    Once out of the oven brush your focaccia with extra virgin olive to taste.

Notes

NOTE 1: You can make focaccia without any tools combining all ingredients as stated in the process about and kneading the dough with your hands.
NOTE 2: Use 1 tsp yeast if you are not sure in the quality of your dry yeast or using it for the first time.
Also, if you need to slightly accelerate rising time of the dough.
TIP: If the dough had risen quickly the first time and you still have plenty of time for the second rise in the pan and before baking it (for example guests coming for dinner) punch the dough down in the bowl and let it rise again before arranging it in the pan.
Liked this recipe?Follow @italianrecipeb for more!
Traditional Italian Focaccia {Focaccia Genovese}

PRO TIP: Cut focaccia in half and stuff with your favorite cured meat or cheese.

Heaven on Earth 😋

The BEST Italian Focaccia Bread from Genoa

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Recipe Rating




Real Baker

Thursday 6th of May 2021

Barf! Why on earth are you not using weight measurements??!!! “Lukewarm water”....??????? I dabble in precision! A stand mixer....? I care about my dough structure too much to use a stand mixer. Garbage recipe

Kimberly Boyle

Thursday 18th of February 2021

Excellent! I just made this today and it came out amazing!!! Great recipe!! Thank you!!!

Noah Strong

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

Is it possible to set it in the fridge overnight once you have it in the 9*13 pan? Then do the poking and pouring and baking the next morning?

Italian Recipe Book

Sunday 6th of December 2020

Hi Noah, yes, you can absolutely set in in the fridge overnight with a few simple adjustments. Once you have your focaccia set in the pan, let it rest for about 30 minutes. Past that time prepare salamoia (water+ extra virgin olive oil) and imprint the dimples. Cover each pan with a plastic wrap making it airtight (super important!). Place sheet pans with focaccia in the fridge overnight or up to 24 hours. Once ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle with salt. Let rise in warm place, turned off oven works perfectly well for this. Since focaccia dough is cold it'll need some extra time to rise. Usually it takes 1-2 hours. Hope this helps!

BakerBob

Monday 23rd of November 2020

I want to try this recipe but 2.5 cups of bread flour does not equal 13 ounces. Which is correct?

Italian Recipe Book

Monday 23rd of November 2020

It depends a lot on how you measure the flour. Measuring by weight is always more precise. Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy Holidays!

Daniel Bui

Saturday 15th of August 2020

Great recipe! Tasted so much better than anything I've ever had store-bought. Whole family loved it and the one tray didn't last long! :)

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