Many food historians believe that focaccia was born with the Etruscans in North Central Italy in the days before the Roman Empire, although we can also see its roots traced through unleavened flatbread throughout the Mediterranean basin. The name, however, derives from the Roman ‘panis focacius’, a bread cooked over the ashes of a fireplace.
There are hundreds of recipes out there for focaccia. This is our house recipe, involving an extended period of refrigeration, allowing a long cold ferment to occur where the enzymes in the flour and the yeast break down starch and, in so doing, improve the flavour and the texture.
500g Flour, Tipo 00
10g Fine Salt
2 tsp Instant yeast
2 cups Water
Montecalvi Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Flaky Sea Salt
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and yeast. Then add the water and bring together to form a ball of dough. Drizzle with Montecalvi Extra Virgin Olive Oil and cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 12-18 hrs.
If you are covering with a cloth, it should be secured with a tie to make it more airtight – alternatively a bowl with lid works well. Ensure there is enough olive oil or the dough will dry out, forming a crust on the top layer.
Remove from the fridge and transfer to a 9 x 13inch baking tray, greased with olive oil. Don’t be tempted to touch the dough, just leave it in a ball in the tray. Leave for 2-4hrs in the open air to allow the dough to expand to the size of the tray.
Then pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the dough and make deep dimples with your fingers. Sprinkle with some fresh rosemary and flaky sea salt.
Transfer to a preheated oven 220C / 425F for 25 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Remove from the baking tray and cool on a wire rack.
Wonderful with a glass of Montecalvi Chianti Classico or a chilled Vermentino to kick start your evening.