How to make rosemary scented Italian focaccia (flatbread) with sea salt

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White pizza, or focaccia-flatbread (which is not Genova’s focaccia) is a delicacy you can share with your friends and family on special occasions, it is perfect when you just fell like eat ing something different from the ordinary pizza.

With my recipe you will be able to bake your own toothsome focaccia as a genuine Italian woman  does.

First, allow yourself plenty lot of time-the slower the process is, the tastier your focaccia gets. It will be so easy to digest, that you will make it again at once.

Curious, aren’t you? So, read here.

What will this focaccia be like?

It will be flawed, because it won’t have regular edges nor shape, but it will be wonderfully toothsome, an actual bomb of taste! You won’t be able to stop eating it!

Not very thick (as Genova focaccia is), you will enjoy the balance between the tender alveolar edge and the crunchy texture of the central part. With a light caramelized brown color; the rosemary and the salt join together to counterbalance the sweet taste of the dough! 

How can you eat Italian focaccia flat bread?

In Italy, focaccia may successfully replace pizza; it is the best choice for those who can’t eat tomatoes, for instance. Those who wants to enjoy a simple dish, opt for focaccia, and season it to their taste.

A lot of pizza restaurants present their clients with slices of focaccia as appetizer before serving pizzas. 

What may focaccia be paired with?

Focaccia may be eaten on its own, it is delicious in its simplicity.

Anyway, you may consume it with plenty of ingredients-these are my favorites matchings:

  • Freshly sliced Parma ham;
  • Replace the rosemary with fiordilatte mozzarella cheese and a few olives (you will taste the genuine “Italy”);
  • Mortadella and coarsely chopped pistachios (so good, I do love this matching!)
  • In Rome, they eat the famous “Ham and Figs”-they have a peculiar motto “ma che so’…mica pizza e fichi!”. This motto refers to something that not everyone can afford as it is simple but really precious at the same time.

Is focaccia served warm?

Focaccia must always be served very hot to enjoy its full scent and taste.

The choice of the right flour is extremely important

This is recipe entails a long rising process, plenty of patience, love and self-denial. During this process a few meaningful things must occur in order to bake a focaccia you will fall in love with.

If you want a well-risen, light and digeribile focaccia, you have to use a strong flour which can keep its texture to favor a good rising.

So, opt for at least 250-350W (W indicates the strength) flour which is strong enough to stand a long rising process. When it combines with water, this type of flour easily generates gluten whose  network retains the gas which develops during the resting time. As a result, the texture will get fluffy and tasty (this makes me droll!).

If you used a weak flour (that for biscuits or crunchy doughs), you would get a crispy not risen crust.

Watch out: the ordinary types 0 or 00 have 80-150W strength, they do not fit this recipe.

You may find the right flour at the supermarket, in the flour aisle, or in any groceries which sell baking products.

The salt is essential too

Salt gives the focaccia taste and color, but most of the all, it makes the dough stable as it slow the growth of the yeast.

During the baking process, the salt favor the caramelization of the crust which gets golden brown.

Opt for organic sea salt.

Use still mineral water

Due to the action of the water, the admides of the flour swell, thus activating the protein. So, the water is a very meaningful element in order to bake a good focaccia. Be careful: it must not be too rich in chlorine because it slows down the rising process. The same occurs when the water is too rich in calcium or magnesium as they make the gluten harder.

Use room temperate water: a slightly higher temperature speeds up the rising process, whereas a slightly colder one slows it down. 

Opt for dried mother yeast

It is the same as the fresh yeast cubes, but it is “asleep” and ready to be activated when it gets in contact with water. It is more stable than the fresh one and gives better results even if you are not really good at baking.

You can’t bake focaccia without a good oil

Use high quality extra virgin olive oil. It makes the dough softer, more flavorful, and fluffier. Only extra virgin olive oil gives focaccia that unique taste you will never forget. Choose an oil with low acidity (about 1%: read the nutritional facts on the package). Use the same oil both for the dough and the seasoning after the baking.

How do you make focaccia dough step by step

  • Combine the flour with the yeast and place it on the table in the shape of a volcano or in a mixing bowl.
  • Use a spoon or a wooden spatula; if you are expert you may knead with your hands, but be careful not to spread pieces of dough everywhere in your kitchen;
  • First mix the flour with the yeast, then add the water and when everything is well-combined add salt and oil. You may also you a stand mixer (such as kitchenaid): first, start it at low speed, then gradually increase the speed.
  • Do not worry if the dough is not smooth, it will rise, and it will be kneaded later on;
  • Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover it with a tea-towel and let rise for at least 1 hour and a quarter at room temperature, far from air streams. I usually put it into the switched off and closed oven.

This is a fundamental moment of the process

Yes, because water is the agent which activates the reaction between glutenin and gliadin in the flour and gives life to gluten. An elastic web is created: it will trap starch and gas, hence the rising process will start. Make this test: take a very small piece of dough, roll it into a ball, quickly rinse it under running water and and roll it out with your fingers. If the dough will get as thin as a film, it will be ready for the rising process.

Go on like that

  • Flour a pastry board and knead the dough to make it stronger: it must incorporate some air. Roll it out in the shape of a rectangle.
  • Fold in two, flatten and rotate it at the right angles and fold it in two again.
  • Repeat this operation three or four times, at least, the dough will get richer in air, and dry. I usually make this operation only once, but 3 times would guarantee the best result; the dough should sit to rest about 15-20 minutes after every folding process;
  • Roll it into a ball and set aside for 12-24 hours in an oiled bowl as big as the double of the dough;
  • Cover it with clinging film and put it into the lowest part of the fridge.

From now on, be very careful when you handle your dough

  • Take the dough out of the fridge and let it stand for 10 minutes at room temperature. Do not manipulate the dough too much: use the whole ball or cut it with a sharp knife into two: try not to release any air;
  • Spread some durum what flour onto a pastry board and roll out the dough. Do not use the rolling pin, only your hands: be careful not to tear or strain the dough too much. If it is too sticky, oil your hands and add a little flour; push it with your fingertips to the shape the baking sheet.
  • Put the dough onto an oiled baking sheet lined with parchment paper;   
  • Pre-heat the oven at 220°C-250°C (392°F-482°F): this temperature creates the best condition to favor a perfect baking;
  • Season your focaccia as simply as you can: good extra virgin olive oil, coarse sea salt, fresh scented chopped rosemary.

Eat focaccia very hot; slice it so everyone can have their one serving. Combine it with Parma ham, or cherry tomatoes, or fresh fiordilatte mozzarella cheese to your taste.

A delicacy you have to share!

Rosemary scented Italian focaccia (flatbread) with sea salt

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword focaccia al rosmarino, italian flatbread
Prep Time 1 day 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 slices

Ingredients

  • 500 gr flour type 0 (Plain flour/All purpose flour)

    or 250g type 2 (Brown flour) and 125gr of white spelt flour plus 125gr of wholegrain spelt flour 

  • 350 gr

    lukewarm water

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20 gr extra virgin olive oil
  • 3.5 gr

    dry mother yeast

    or 50g of fresh yeast

Instructions

  • Combine the flour with the yeast and place it on the table in the shape of a volcano,
  • First mix the flour with the yeast, then add the water and when everything is well-combined add salt and oil. 
  • Place the dough into the center of an oiled bowl, cover with a tea-towel, and let it rise for at least 1 our and a quarter. 
  • Flour a pastry board and knead the dough to make it stronger: it must incorporate some air; fold it over and over again; 
  • Roll it into a ball, place it into a bowl, cover with cling film and set aside for 12-24 hours in the lowest part of the fridge.
  • Roll it into a ball, place it into a bowl, cover with cling film and set aside for 12-24 hours in the lowest part of the fridge.
  • Bake in hot, at the highest temperature of your oven, over for about 20-25 minuets; 
  • Garnish with fresh rosemary, salt and oil

Enjoy it hot, and share focaccia with those you love: it is unique, have it on special occasions!

How you can store focaccia

Focaccia is best enjoyed when it is freshly baked-it loses its flavor when you heat it up. Any left focaccia may replace the serving of bread in your meal, or it may become a rewarding snack after an outdoor walk.

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