February 16, 2009
Focaccia is one of my favorite breads. I spent a semester abroad studying in Italy and we visited the region, Liguria, a few times where I fell in love with focaccia. Liguria is located in Northern Italy along the coast and is one of the most interesting collection of cities. There are five cities nestled in the valleys of mountains all of which you can hike to.(This is also where my husband and I got engaged). Anyways, Vernazza is the town with the best Focaccia - no disagreeing. We used to get a few different slabs of the oily, salty bread with toppings like rosemary, olive or mushroom. My favorites were plain and olive. Since living there I have only tried to create a focaccia once and it was not even close to what I remembered. I live in San Francisco and lucky for me have found Liguria Bakery in Washington Square. It is as close as you can get to the real thing. So, rather than spend money on a slab of focaccia every now and then I decided it was time to make my own. I have a cookbook by John Ash who specializes in local food and wine pairing - and decided to try his recipe since it sounded fairly authentic. The dough is a basic dough to which I added chopped fresh Rosemary. The only difference between this dough and a traditional bread dough is the addition of a good olive oil. The recipe suggested using a fruity oil but since I didn't have any I used my regular old everyday olive oil. The dough requires a lot of rising/resting time so if you plan on making it do allow about 3 hours total. Another difference from this flatbread and basic bread dough is more olive oil on the top of the slab before baking. This is the key to really moist bread. I was really pleased with the outcome - and I think my friends and husband appreciated it too. I only wish it stayed fresh longer - it turned hard rather quick but was still tasty. This was an easy recipe I'll definitely add to the collection.