The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Authentic Focaccia Recipe

ohc5e's picture
ohc5e

Authentic Focaccia Recipe

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of a great focaccia recipe. I like to think of myself as a pretty competent baker but every time I make one I am disappointed one way or another.  I lived in Florence for six months and was spoiled with focaccia that had a crunchy, oily, almost orange colored crust with a chewy, open crumb.  When I make one at home it usually comes out with a dry, dense crumb and uniform, small holes.  Does anyone have a recipe that comes close to that description or is this a pipe dream? I have a sourdough starter, maybe I will try a recipe using it this weekend to see if that makes a difference. Thanks...

manuela's picture
manuela

I have found is the recipe by Hamelman in his book "Bread".

I grew up in Italy and his focaccia is really very very close to the ones I remember having there from the bakeries; even if it is impossible to perfectly replicate their results in our home ovens, Hamelman's gets really close to the authentic ones. His recipe has been my favorite for a long time

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

There's a recipe in an old Cook's Illustrated that I use; it makes super focaccia.  I'll have to look for it, but when I find it, I'll post it here for you.

RFMonaco's picture
RFMonaco

Cooks Illustrated Focaccia


1-1/3 cup cooked grated potato
1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil (for the dough, more for greasing the pan and adding to the top of the dough)
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

First you take one large potato and nuke it until it is tender. I’ll be honest - I have not tested the difference between a white and a russet. I’ve used both.

Once it is tender you have to let it cool down. Warm, room temperature, or cold – it doesn’t seem to matter.

Peel off the skin and grate the potato. You need about 1-1/3 cups of grated potato.
Then, make a starter with 1-1/2 teaspoons of yeast, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water. Warm water, in the world of bread making, means between 105F and 115F.

Mix those together with a fork or whisk in the bowl you are going to use to mix up the dough. Then cover it with plastic wrap. Let it sit for about 20 minutes. It will foam and rise a bit.

After 20 minutes add: 1/2 cup warm water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the grated potato and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (thereabouts).

Then it’s time to add the flour. When it comes to making bread I rarely dump in all the flour at once. This recipe calls for 3-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. I have never tried it with bread flour so don’t know if that would change the taste or texture. I’ve never used anything but all-purpose.

I prefer to mix the dough in my standing mixer with the dough hook. You can mix it with a wooden spoon, too. It just requires more muscle.

You’ve already used 1/2 cup of that flour in the starter so dump in 2 to 2-1/2 cups of flour and mix it together. Keep adding flour until it isn’t sticky. If you are using a mixer keep adding the flour until it hangs in a cohesive hunk and doesn’t ooze off the hook.

If you are kneading it by hand you should transfer it to a lightly floured counter once the ingredients are mixed together. Then knead it and knead it and knead it some more. It needs to be smooth and elastic.

Put a tablespoon of olive oil into a clean bowl and then add the dough. Toss it to coat the dough. Cover it with a towel and put it someplace warm to rise. It’s supposed to double in size.

I usually preheat the oven to warm and then put the covered bowl into the oven and turn it off. Especially in the winter, it’s hard to find a warm spot in my house.

Don’t try and rush this recipe. It needs plenty of rise time.

Once it rises to double its size, spread it out on a cookie sheet greased with olive oil. Or you can use a Silpat, a nonstick reusable pan liner, without the oil.
Then brush olive oil over the top, sprinkle with kosher salt and some crushed rosemary, fresh or dried, if you like.

At this stage, it’s good to let it rise for as long as you can. The puffier it gets the more tender it bakes up. I usually let it rise on top of the oven and rotate the tray after a half hour or so.

After it is to the height that you want, or you can’t wait any longer, pre-heat the over to 425F. Bake the focaccia until it is golden brown (about 25 minutes in my oven).

Let it cool enough so that you don’t burn your mouth when you eat it. Then enjoy.

I’ve seen recipes that use focaccia in place of sandwich bread and I guess you can use this or even top it with bruschetta.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Hi, your recipe sounds really good, but could you please confirm the correct amount of yeast? Do you use instant yeast? I'd love to give this a try, A.

RFMonaco's picture
RFMonaco

I never made this recipe...yet. I found it on the web as written. I would suspect that Cook's Illustrated used active yeast in the amount stated, thoughI will be making it shortly .

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

It's absolutely the best focaccia I've ever made, and I vary the toppings depending on what fresh herbs I have on hand; chives, tarragon, basil, etc.  It's been too long since I've made this!

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

Yes, that's the recipe.  I got the Baking book, ATK, out of the library last night and was going to post the recipe today, but you beat me to it.  No matter, it's still the best focaccia I've ever tasted.  Do you dimple the dough?

bwraith's picture
bwraith

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/5025/two-sourdough-focaccias-raisin-and-savory

The link above is for a focaccia recipe I like to do. I don't know if it's the style you are looking for, but the crust and crumb are at least similar to what you describe. If you don't want to do it with sourdough, you could change the levain to a poolish by using all the flour and water in the storage starter and the levain along with about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of yeast, let it rise and peak, then refrigerate it if necessary until you want to use it, and get a yeasted version of the recipe. The yeasted version will probably have a slightly softer, less chewy, lighter crumb than my sourdough/yeast hybrid version.

Bill

SteveB's picture
SteveB

I might as well add another one to the mix:

http://www.breadcetera.com/?p=96

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

goody1006's picture
goody1006

Hi--

Growing up, I had a wonderful Italian family next door to me.  I absolutly loved the focaccia she always made--in fact, it became sort of a joke between families, and when I left home for the military, any time I came home on leave, Madaline would send over a plate of fresh, still warm focaccia, to welcome me home!

she gave me her recipe a couple of times over the years, but between moves, kids, relationships, I've no idea what became of them.

A MAJOR difference in how she did hers, and ANY recipes I've seen in text, online, etc.. is she DEEP FRIED hers--not baked!

Anyone else do this, or heard of this way?  Could it be a regional thing?

Thanks,

goody