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Classic Focaccia.....from Liguria. This recipe is typical of the focaccia you'd buy in Genoa as well as Liguria, where it's known as Focaccia al Olio or Fugassa.
The Romans baked focaccia....'focus' was Latin for 'fire' and 'panis focacius' was a flatbread baked in the coals.
The focaccia we know today dates from the 16th century. Bakers would test the heat of the morning ovens by baking focaccia and it sustained them through the long mornings.
You'll find focaccia all over Italy and, indeed all over the World. However, traditional Genovese focaccia should have a hydration level of 55% and be about half an inch thick. It's chewy with a soft inside and a topping rich in olive oil and sea salt.
250 mls of lukewarm filtered water
370 gms of strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon of malt extract or honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon instant dried yeast
½ teaspoon sea salt
For the topping and salamoia (see below)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of lukewarm water
Sea salt flakes
If you're mixing by hand or using a stand mixer, add the water to the yeast and then add the flour, malt or honey, oil and salt and mix thoroughly. Mix until you have a sticky dough. Turn the mix out onto a floured board and knead until you have a silky and pliable dough. (There are 'Help' videos and articles in the 'Useful Web and YouTube links' on the left hand side of this page).
Place the dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place (22⁰C - 25⁰C) for about 1.5 to 2 hours.
The dough should have doubled or even tripled in size.
Oil a baking pan.
Tip the dough onto the pan so that it becomes covered with oil. Turn the dough over and oil the other side.
Pat the dough down into the pan. Try and achieve a uniform thickness.
Cover the pan with a tea towel, cling film or parchment paper and allow to rise for a further 30 - 60 minutes until it has doubled in size.
Prepare the salamoia.
Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to 3 tablespoons of luke warm water and beat thoroughly.
Once the dough has doubled in size....pour the salamoia over it.
Oil your hands and imprint dimples all over the surface of the dough.
Sprinkle coarse sea salt or salt flakes.
Preheat your oven to 230⁰C and bake on a low shelf for 15 - 20 minutes.
When baked, brush the focaccia with olive oil to taste.