The first post for Aparna's We Knead To Bake' is this wonderful
Focaccia. Though this has been on my 'to-do' list for a long, long time, I
never dared to try it.Not sure why but maybe because of my distant relation
But when I started preparing it according to the directions given, it seemed like a very easy recipe! And of course its very easy and I must add that its very delicious and filling too!
I was not really sure if my kids will like this. Lil Angel said it looked lovely and she literally couldn't wait till it came out from the oven! She loved it with the soup I made for the evening. Lil Dude was at first not sure how to eat it. He simply removed the tomato slice from a piece and followed his sister's example!I too loved it with soup and had it for dinner.The whole bread was gone in just an hour!!!
is a type of flatbread from Italy, thought to have originated in ancient Greece
but now associated with the north eastern part of Italy. Today however, it is a
flatbread that is found all over Italy and baked in a variety of ways. While
most of us think (at least I do) think of Focaccia as a savoury flatbread,
there is also a sweet variation called the Focaccia Veneta ( also called
Focaccia Pasquale Veneta , Focaccia Dolce Veneta or the Fugassa Veneta) that is
baked in Venetia at Easter time and made with wheat, eggs, butter, sugar and
name Focaccia originates from the ancient Roman “Panis Focacius” which was originally
a flatbread that was baked on the hearth.
of people feel that the Focaccia is not much different from the Pizza and even
go as far thinking it is a kind of square shaped Pizza! However, the Focaccia
is different from the Pizza in more than just shape. Traditionally, Focaccia
has the topping ingredients kneaded into the dough while Pizza has it on top of
the dough. Traditionally, an Italian Pizza crust is on the thinner side, rarely
more than 1/2" thick whereas a Focaccia is at least about 3/4" thick.
Focaccia therefore, tends to be “spongier” and softer whereas a Pizza is
crisper. A lot of oil into the Focaccia dough after which it is shaped and then
more oil is brushed/ drizzled on whereas in a Pizza, oil is not kneaded into
the dough and only used on top. Also, Focaccia maybe served warm or cold (at
room temperature) but a Pizza is always served hot and never cold.
the old days, Focaccia rarely had any toppings except oil and herbs (and garlic
as well) for flavour though this has changed. Perhaps this is why there is this
confusion between the Focaccia and the Pizza!
Caprese is nothing but a basic Focaccia dough topped Caprese style. "Caprese"
refers to something that comes from or is in the style of Capri, an island off
the Italian coast near Naples. Capri is famous mostly for its villas, grottos
and jutting limestone towers, and also for the salad named after it – “Insalata
Caprese” whose signature is fresh tomatoes, basil and fresh buffalo mozzarella
(Mozzarella di Buffala).
means that the topping of the Focaccia Caprese is sliced tomatoes, mozzarella
and basil, in addition to the usual olive oil and herbs that are typically used
in this flatbread.
Though it is fresh
mozzarella that is the best in this Focaccia, if one cannot find it like in my
case, then one must use whatever one has on hand.
Focaccia is usually served either as a light snack, can be made into sandwiches
or be served with a soup or salad to make a meal.
1/4 cup oil (preferably olive oil)
1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
A little more olive oil for brushing
4-5 larg-ish tomatoes, sliced thin
1 6-7” round piece of fresh buffalo mozzarella,
cut into 1/4” slices**
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 tsp finely minced garlic/ paste
Fresh basil leaves for garnishing
First make the
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till
For the dough...
The dough can be mixed and kneaded by
hand or machine. Put the yeast, sugar flour, salt and oil in the bowl of the
processor and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add 1 cup of warm water
(and as much more as you need) and knead until you have a soft elastic dough
that is just short of sticky.
Remove the dough from the processor bowl,
shape into a round and place in a well oiled bowl turning the dough around so
it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should
take about an hour.
(or press out) evenly into approximately 5” by 7”. It alright if it’s an odd
shape because Focaccia is really a “rustic” bread.
the dough to the baking tins. The dough will shrink a little. Use your fingers
and push it out a bit making sure it’s evenly thick throughout. Let it rise for
20 minutes. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough creating
evenly spaced “dimples” in it. Generously brush the surface with oil.
Bake at 210C (410F) for about 18 to 20
minutes till it is almost done and is beginning to turn golden brown. Take the
Focaccia out and turn up the heat of your oven to 230C (450F).
Lightly drizzle some of the Herbed Oil
over the Focaccia and then evenly arrange some slices of mozzarella over the
bread, leaving very little space between them. Arrange the tomato slices over this
and a little sprinkle the chopped basil over this. The topping should cover
most of the surface of the bread.
Drizzle some more Herbed Oil over the
topping and return the bread to the oven. Bake the Focaccia for 5 to 8 minutes
or until the cheese has just melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with
fresh basil leaves
Cut the Focaccia into slices and serve
while it is still hot. This recipe should serve 4 if served alone or 6 if
served with a side.
- If you cannot find bread flour, you can add 1 tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten to 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix together well. Otherwise just use 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
- I halved the recipe and made a medium sized Focassia.
- With the above quantity of ingredients,you can make this as 2 medium sized Focaccia or 4 smaller . For the rectangular Focaccia, take two rectangular pans/ jelly or Swiss roll pans (I used an 11" by 7" tins) and oil them well. Then divide the dough into two equal portions and lightly roll them (or press out) out into approximately 11” by 7”. If making 4 Focaccia, then divide the dough into 4 equal portions.
- I did not have fresh basil, so I skipped it and used a little bit of dry basil powder.
- Also I did not have the cheese slices, so used grated cheese instead.
- If you do not have access to fresh buffalo mozzarella, use regular mozzarella the kind we use on pizzas. Use any “melty/ stringy” kind of cheese you can find.
Labels: * We Knead To Bake, Breads, EB, Italian Cuisine, Oven Fresh Eggless Bakes, Step-by-step Pictorial Recipes