Tag Archives: focaccia

A word about flour :: dispatch from Italy

Italian Flour

An essential like flour is something we might take for granted in everyday life.

Even in the age of gluten-free, our daily bread is something most folks partake in.

It occurred to me while shopping for staples when I arrived in Italy last week, that the flour in the everyday grocery here is abundant in choices. I will say that in the US, I really don’t eat that much gluten. But when I am here in Italy for some magical reason, I have no reaction to baked goods: no inflammation, no sluggishness, no reaction whatsoever, so baking here is something I do regularly.

I did stop in my tracks when I saw this amazing flour display and decided to share it on my blog today. In Italy, we bake with many types of flour, and if you’re gluten free, then chestnut flour is the answer for you. In our region, Lunigiana, there’s a basic bread recipe that has been baked for many centuries.

Chestnuts

Today I’m sharing my Focaccia recipe from my upcoming book Cocktail Italiano. This book will not only be filled with wonderful cocktails, but the nibbles that accompany the cocktails served all over Italy.

focaccia

Focaccia
Serves 4

You will need:
– 3 cups double zero flour or bread flour (super fine flour)
– 1 package dry yeast
– 1/3 cup warm water
– 1 cup water
– ½ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon for the cookie sheet + 3 tablespoons for finishing before baking, 1 tablespoon to finish after baking
– 2 tablespoons coarse salt + 1 teaspoon for finishing

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F

1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Place the yeast in a small bowl with 1/3 cups water and let proof in a large bowl, once proofed add flour and oil and salt and water, combine until it forms a sticky dough, it should be very sticky. Flour your surface and turn the dough onto floured surface. knead gently for a minute until dough forms a soft dough.
2. On an oiled 10”x14” cookie sheet with a lip, spread the dough out to fit the cookie sheet. With your index fingers poke dimples into the top of the dough .* note you can use parchment paper to line the cookie sheet but I like to oil the paper.
3. Let rest for 30 minutes, then repeat by poking dimples into the risen dough, and let rest for 30 minutes.
4. Before placing in the oven, drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt.
5. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Remove sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil cool and eat warm or at room temperature. The key is to let the oil soak in as the focaccia cools. Can be stored sealed for up to 3 days.

Serving suggestions: I love to use focaccia as an appetizer with olive spread, Parmesan cheese, Parma ham, and a summer crisp rose wine. This makes the perfect start to a perfect evening.

Since I am raving about Italian flour, I wanted to give you a great resource for flour in the US.

Carolina Ground Flour

Recently my friend sent me a sampling of this incredible artisan flour Carolina Ground. It’s the closest I have found to the flour I use here in Italy.

Happy baking xx

 

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What do I do in Italy on my first day? {eat focaccia “salty oily goodness”)


One of my first stops in our little beach town every time I come is to a Focacceria. This is a bakery in our region of Italy, usually specializing in focaccia. When our guests arrive every summer it is my great pleasure to introduce them to our focaccia. You probably think that you have had focaccia so what’s the big deal? Once our guests taste the focaccia from our region Liguria, specifically from a town known for it’s focaccia, “focaccia di recco” they realize that they have never tasted focaccia… and that’s the truth. Something about the water and the flour, the salt and sea air, whatever it is it rocks the focaccia in our town.

Italians are funny about food, when you live here you realize it’s sort of a competition. Who has the best meat, espresso, pastries, olive oil, wine and yes, focaccia. I am pretty sure I found the best one in town. It was hard to convince my Italian friend to try it. But one day I twisted her arm, and she had to admit, it was really good. I have attempted to replicate the recipe at home. Here’s my best shot. Try it and let me know how you like it. I would love to hear how yours turned out.



Focaccia
Serves 4

  • 3 cups double zero flour (super fine flour)
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon for the cookie sheet + 3 tablespoons for finishing before baking, 1 tablespoon to finish after baking
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt + 1 teaspoon for finishing



    1. Place the yeast in a small bowl with 1/3 cups water and let proof in a large bowl. put flour and oil and salt and water, combine until it forms a sticky dough, it should be very sticky. Flour your surface and turn the dough onto floured surface. knead gently for a minute until dough forms a soft dough.
    2. On an oiled cookie sheet with a lip, spread the dough out to fit the cookie sheet. With your index fingers poke dimples into the top of the dough.
    3. Let rest for 30 minutes, then repeat by poking dimples into the risen dough, and let rest for 30 minutes.
    4. Before placing in the oven, drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt.
    5. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Remove sprinkle with 1 tablespoon olive oil cool and eat warm or at room temperature. The key is to let the oil soak in as the focaccia cools.

    Serving suggestions: I love to use focaccia as an appetizer with olive spread, Parmesan cheese, Parma ham, and a summer crisp rose wine this makes the perfect start to a perfect evening. Ciao!

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