|Place of origin||Italy|
|Main ingredients||High-gluten flour, oil, water, salt, yeast|
Focaccia (Italian pronunciation: [foˈkat͡ʃːa]) is a flat oven-baked Italian bread product similar in style and texture to pizza doughs. Focaccia is typical of Liguria, but is popular throughout Italy and is usually seasoned just with olive oil and salt. It might also be flavored with herbs, vegetables, or cheese. Focaccia can be used as a side to many meals or as sandwich bread. Focaccia al rosmarino (focaccia with rosemary) is a common focaccia style in Italian cuisine that may be served as an antipasto, appetizer, table bread, or snack.
Focaccia is similar to the Greek flatbread Lagana.
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The common-known focaccia is salt focaccia. Focaccia doughs are similar in style and texture to pizza doughs, consisting of high-gluten flour, oil, water, salt and yeast. It 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 fingers to relieve bubbling on the surface of the bread.
Also common is the practice 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 versions of dough recipes that do not require hand kneading.
Etymology and regional variants
In Ancient Rome, panis focacius was a flat bread baked on the hearth. The word is derived from the Latin focus meaning "hearth, place for baking." The basic recipe is thought by some to have originated with the Etruscans, but today it is widely associated with Ligurian cuisine.
As the tradition spread, the different dialects and diverse local ingredients resulted in a large variety of bread (some may even be considered cake). Due to the number of small towns and hamlets dotting the coast of Liguria, the focaccia recipe has fragmented into countless variations (from the biscuit-hard focaccia di Camogli to the oily softness of the one made in Voltri), with some bearing little resemblance to its original form. The most extreme example is a specialty called focaccia col formaggio ("focaccia with cheese") which is made in Recco, near Genoa. Other than the name, this Recco version bears no resemblance to other focaccia varieties, having a caillé/bruch and cheese filling sandwiched between two layers of paper-thin dough.
Out of Liguria, focaccia comes in many regional variations and its recipe, its texture, its flavor remarkably varies from north to south of Italy. In some parts of the Northwest, for example, a popular recipe is focaccia dolce ("sweet focaccia"), consisting of a basic focaccia base and sprinkled lightly with sugar, or including raisins, honey, or other sweet ingredients. Another sweet focaccia from the Northeast is focaccia veneta ("Venetian focaccia"), a typical cake of the Venetian Easter tradition: it is based on eggs, sugar and butter (instead of olive oil and salt) and it looks quite similar to panettone or to another Venetian cake like pandoro.
In South Tyrol and in the small village of Krimml in Austria, the so-called Osterfochaz (in Krimml Fochiz) is the traditional Easter gift of the Godparents to their Godchildren. Therefore, the bread is slightly thinner in the middle, in order to put in the coloured Easter eggs.
Back to olive oil- and salt-based focacce (e.g. focaccia alla genovese, originated in Genoa), Central Italian cuisine has its own specialties as well. In Florence there are "focaccia with potato and rosemary" and schiacciata also called schiaccia in the rest of Tuscany. The Roman pizza bianca ("white pizza") can be extensively considered as variants of focaccia as well.
Outside of Italy, focaccia is used extensively as a sandwich bread.
Focaccia al rosmarino
Focaccia al rosmarino (focaccia with rosemary) is a common flatbread style in Italian cuisine that may be served as an antipasto, appetizer, table bread, or snack. Similar dishes include focaccia alla salvia, pizza bianca and potato rosemary focaccia, the latter of which is referred to as "potato pizza" in New York City. Like other focaccie, focaccia al rosmarino is sometimes considered to be a kind of pizza, though they are generally distinguished in Italy.
Focaccia al rosmarino is a popular style of flatbread in Italian cuisine prepared using focaccia dough, rosemary, olive oil and salt, sea salt or kosher salt. Focaccia al rosmarino may be served as antipasto (appetizer), table bread or snack. Whole or sliced fresh rosemary leaves may be used, as can dried rosemary. It may be garnished with sprigs of fresh rosemary after baking and sprinkled with salt.
Focaccia al rosmarino may have a moist texture, and the ingredients used in its preparation and the shape it is formed in varies in different regions. It may be prepared as a savory or sweet dish. The dish is typically baked, although it is sometimes fried in oil. Rosemary is among the most common herbs used to flavor focaccia bread. Additional ingredients such as garlic, or basil may be used. It is sometimes served accompanied with slices of prosciutto, an Italian dry-cured ham. It can be prepared as a gluten-free dish and as a vegan dish. It may be used in the preparation of sandwiches.
A very similar style is focaccia alla salvia (focaccia with sage), which is prepared by simply substituting sage for the rosemary. Pizza bianca is another similar style, which is prepared using pizza dough, olive oil, chopped rosemary and salt. The term "pizza bianca" refers to focaccia in some areas of Italy.
Potato rosemary focaccia (focaccia con patate e rosmarino in Tuscany) is a variation that is referred to as "potato pizza" in New York City. Pizza is also a similar dish.
- "Focaccia with Rosemary; Yield: 1 (12-inch [30cm]) pizza"
- "What is the main difference between pizza and focaccia? The flattening of the dough, how long you take to roll out the dough, as well as the cooking time. Focaccia sits and rises before being baked. It is only put in the oven when the dough finishes rising. Pizza is placed in the oven immediately." – Gabriele Bonci
- Panis focacius
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