Italian focaccia – wheat tortilla
Italian Focaccia (Focaccia) – one of the most popular ancient types of bread that have survived to this day. This crispy bread was born thanks to the ingenuity of the villagers, who made up for the lack of food with an irrepressible imagination.
From one classic recipe in modern kitchen, many baking options with a variety of seasonings were born. It is believed that focaccia became the first national dish in Italy. Even the famous pizza is just the evolved descendant of flat bread.
Paradoxically, but having arisen due to the need to save money, today the cake has settled in the ranks of the menu of prestigious restaurants. Let’s forget about our figure for a while and plunge into the appetizing world of Italian focaccia.
Most historians believe that focaccia first appeared during the Etruscans in northern Italy. Its name comes from the Roman “panis focacius”, which translates as “bread in the center of fire.”
In the era of the Roman Empire, the cake was baked in the ash left after the fire, and not above the flame. The focaccia recipe among the Romans consisted of coarse flour, olive oil, water and a small amount of yeast and salt. In those days, they ate it quite simply, tearing it with their hands and dipping it in water acidified with vinegar. In our time, such a meal does not sound very appetizing, but for people who are exhausted from hard physical labor, the main task was to eat cheap and satisfying.
In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church used focaccia quite widely during religious festivals. But most often it is served during the sacrament of the Eucharist as “the body of Christ.” This tradition has gone from the great availability of unleavened bread. Although some claim that her recipe is pure and spotless with foreign ingredients, and thus perfectly symbolizes the Lord, free from sin.
To speak of focaccia today means to imply Liguria. It was this northern region that became the mother of a huge number of varieties of flat bread. But in addition to Ligurian bread options, almost every region of Italy has its own traditional way of making it. Facts The classic focaccia dough contains 5 main ingredients: flour, water, olive oil, salt and yeast. The form of baking is absolutely unlimited.
It can be round, square, in the form of elongated stripes. Traditionally, the yeast cake is tender, porous and has a thickness of 1.5-2 cm. The yeast-free bread is thin and crispy. Based on the classic focaccia, many product variants have been created. Many of them are characterized by the original name. For example, in Liguria, 3 versions are the most popular: Focaccia Genovese (Focaccia Genovese or Focaccia classica di Genova) is a classic pastry that is distinguished by a glossy, oily crust and a light, porous crumb. Its height varies between 1-2 cm. Focaccia di Recco (Focaccia di Recco or Focaccia col formaggio) is a thin yeast-free cake with a layer of cheese.
Focaccia di Voltri (Focaccia di Voltri) – bread, which contains the same components as in the classic version. But it is significantly different in appearance and taste. This is a thin, crispy product with large air bubbles. Outside of Liguria, there are unusual variations.
So, in the north-west of Italy, sweet focaccia (focaccia dolce) is widespread. It is sprinkled with sugar, supplemented with raisins, honey or other sweet ingredients. In South Tyrol, there is a special love for tortillas with potatoes and rosemary (focaccia con patate e rosmarino).
In fact, you can improve a famous product in many ways. We will talk about this below, but for now, let’s move on to the classic focaccia recipe. The classic recipe. Everyone knows that only the knowledge of the classics in most recipes helps to experiment and create incredible masterpieces. The cake is tasty not only in combination with numerous fillings, but also in its natural form – with olive oil and rosemary. And the aroma that surrounds the whole house with fresh pastries will not leave anyone indifferent.
We guarantee that there is nothing easier than preparing a classic focaccia. Components required for the dough: Flour from soft wheat varieties of fine grinding – 350 g; Boiled water at room temperature – 210 g; Olive oil – 1 tbsp. a spoon; Dry yeast – 7 g; Sugar – 2 teaspoons; Salt – 5 g. Ingredients for surface lubrication: Olive oil – 2 tbsp. spoons; Salt is a sliver. Note that in the manufacture of the product at home, the Italian flour grade 00 is used. So, we combine dry flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Add water and oil and knead the dough until elastic.
We send it to an enameled container and cover it with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place. Ideal option: preheat the oven to 50 degrees, turn off the heat and, placing a bowl of dough in it, close the door tightly. After the lapse of time we take the dough into our hands and gently mash for about a minute to “drive out” the air from the inside.