***Mrs. B’s was kind enough to share the recipe of her favorite Focaccia, which she learned on a trip to Genoa, Italy. When it comes to Italian breads, Mrs. B knows what’s good! Try it out!***
A dream trip to Italy led me to taste focaccia from Genoa. My daughter planned an unforgettable all-girls family trip centered around, of course, the great foods of Italy. There is something special about this dough–it is a bread that I always go back to and enjoy every time.
We love to relive our culinary adventure in Genoa through this recipe.
The water, wine and olive oil give it a special flavor, and the starter dough, or “sponge”, builds its flavors slowly. The sponge adds a small amount of time at the beginning, but its great flavor is a worthwhile reward. You can make this recipe by hand or with a mixer, and while the following directions assume a mixer (it’s much easier this way!), they can easily be converted for hand-mixing. If possible, use a grey sea salt from France, but any sea salt will do.
3 teaspoons instant yeast
2⁄3 cup room temperature water
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1⁄2 cup room temperature water
1⁄3 cup dry white wine
1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 1⁄2 cups unbleached all purpose flour plus 2 1⁄2 Tablespoons as needed
2 teaspoon sea salt
Topping-about 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 3⁄4 -1 teaspoon sea salt
To make the sponge: Add the yeast directly to the flour in a large mixing bowl. Mix lightly. Add the water and beat until smooth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise till puffy and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
To make the dough: Set the paddle blade in place and add the water, wine and olive oil to the sponge. Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together but is still very soft. Change to the dough hook and knead for 3 minutes at a medium speed. Use the additional flour if needed, or if you finish kneading by hand, knead until the dough is silky, shiny and soft (but not wet).
First rise: Place the dough in a lightly oiled container covered tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Shaping and second rise: The dough should be soft, full of air bubbles and able to stretch easily.
Press it into a lightly oiled 10 1⁄2 x 15 inch pan, dimple it well with fingertips or knuckles, cover it with a towel, and let rise till puffy and doubled, about 45 minutes.
Baking: At least 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F with a baking stone inside, if you have one. Again, dimple the top of the dough, drizzle with olive oil, letting it pool in the little indentations, and sprinkle with sea salt. Place the pan directly on the stone and immediately reduce the temperature to 400. Spray the oven walls with water 3 times in the first 10 minutes. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden. Immediately remove from the pan and cool on a rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes one focaccia that serves 10 to 12.
(for information or to order Mrs. B’s gourmet breads, please call 616.917.0077)