Focaccia (Italian pronunciation: [foˈkattʃa]) is a flat oven-baked Italian bread,which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients.
Focaccia is related to pizza, but not considered to be the same.It is quite popular in Italy and is usually seasoned with olive oil and sometimes herbs, and may be topped with onion, cheese and meat, or flavored with a number of vegetables.
However, by far the most typical focaccia is simply baked dough topped with olive oil and a simple herb like rosemary or sage, and salted with coarse salt. It is very popular as a snack in Italy and school children will often purchase a slice from a baker on the way to school, to enjoy at break time.
Homemade Focaccia is usually baked with olives and herbs.Focaccia is typically rolled out or pressed by hand into a thick layer of dough and then baked in a stone-bottom or hearth oven. Bakers often puncture the bread with a knife to relieve bubbling on the surface of the bread.
Also common is the practiCakece of dotting the bread. This creates multiple wells in the bread by using a finger or the handle of a utensil to poke the unbaked dough. As a way to preserve moisture in the bread, olive oil is then spread over the dough, by hand or with a pastry brush prior to rising and baking. In the northern part of Italy, lard will sometimes be added to the dough, giving the focaccia a softer, slightly flakier texture. Focaccia recipes are widely available, and with the popularity of bread machines, many cookbooks now provide version of dough recipes that do not require hand kneading.
Focaccia can be used as a side to many meals, as a base for pizza, or as sandwich bread.
Okay, so I took all this information from the WikiPedia…So What…I just wanted to share this information about this awesomely soft and SUPER Easy to bake Bread!!
So here is the recipe 🙂
Source-Culinary and Cake Decorating School(CCDS-Delhi)
5 tsps Active Dry Yeast
2 tsps sugar
9 Cups flour(Maida)
3 1/2 Cups luke warm water
2 1/2 tsps salt
8 TBsps Olive Oil
2 tsps finely chopped fresh rosemary Or 1 tsp dried rosemary
1 Cup black Olives chopped into thin disks
2 tsps Garlic Bread Topping(any store bought brand)
Take half the water and heat it till it reaches a little more than boiling point..Yes that would be 115 degrees Farenheit. check with a bread thermometer. I did not have one so I just dropped water on the inside of my wrist to test. When it felt warm but not hot — like a warmed milk from a baby bottle — I used it 🙂
The point is to activate the yeast and NOT KILL IT!! So now I mixed this water with the other half that I had not heated and took only 2 tablespoons out of it to dissolve the sugar and the yeast. Mix the mixture well and let is rest for 5 minutes to foam and froth(It is called Proofing) .
Now add 5 Tablespoons of Olive oil to the flour to which the salt and the rosemary have been added.Then with a rubbing action of the palms mix the flour and the oil to resemble crumbs. This takes about 5 minutes while the yeast was proofing. Then Add the Cut loves to the crumbs and mix in.At this point I added 1 large boiled, peeled and grated potato for a soft bread that my kids just love digging into :-). Now incorporate the yeasted mixture into the crumbs and knead into a very soft dough with the rest of the water. I kneaded it for at least 10 minutes.
Form a ball of dough, place in an oiled bowl,cover the bowl with cling film and then let it rise in a warm and draft free place for about an hour- hour and a half depending on the temperature outside.
After an hour of letting the dough rise take it out and place it in the pan in which you plan to bake it. Oil th e pan with Olive Oil. Punch the dough down well. You can hear the popping of the air bubbles inside the dough when you punch it down. You can the shape the dough into a Big family Pizza size Focaccia loaf or 8 mini focaccias. I did the latter.
Sprinkle the Garlic Bread topping generously and allow it to rise once again for another 40-45 minutes. It is important to cover the dough with a moist kitchen tissue or clean clotave h to prevent a dry crust from forming.
Then bake in a pre heated oven at 200 degrees centigrade for 40-45 minutes.
There are multiple variations you can try in terms of herbs and cheeses. This is a very versatile dough. I have tried replacing maida with whole wheat flour and Multi Grain Flour as well and have been rewarded with spectacularly full crusted and nutty bread but the husband likes it the good old soft way!
And I proclaim all over again that “Baking is Therapeutic” And
who knows” It may help me tone my arm muscles as well!!