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Food: Focaccia Bread

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Focaccia with Cheese -- Focaccia al Formaggio: Recco’s Ristorante Manuelina claims to have invented this focaccia stuffed with cheese about a century ago, though Alessandro Molinari Pradelli says it’s much older: “An ancient dish, from the times of the Saracen raiders, when people would flee to safety in the mountains; since flour, oil and locally made cheeses were readily available in their hideouts, they’d make focaccia stuffed with cheese.”



Continuing with the introduction, Mr. Pradelli says, “The renown of this thin, crunchy cheesy focaccia can in any case be attributed to Manuelina, who worked away day and night in her kitchen to meet the demand for her masterpiece. She is alas no longer with us, but her name lives on in the historic restaurant, where the menu still begins with tradizionale focaccia al formaggio. And now, in Recco you’ll find it everywhere, from bakers to restaurants to diners, all who proclaim it their specialty.”


The recipe:
Make a mound of the flour on your work surface, scoop a well in it, and pour 4 tablespoons of oil, a small ladle’s worth of warm water, and 2 healthy pinches of salt into the well. Work the mixture into a dough and knead it until it is soft, smooth, and elastic, then cover it for an hour.


Preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C). Divide it into two pieces and roll them out into very thin disks the size of your baking sheet (if you have a 12-14-inch diameter metal pizza pan, it would be about right). Lightly oil the pan and lay the first sheet of dough over it. Shred the cheese and dot the dough with it. Lay the second layer over the first, roll the edges up and around to form a rim that seals, and give it a decorative pattern by pressing down on it with the tines of a fork. Puncture the top here and there the moisture can escape as the focaccia cooks, and bake it for about 15 minutes, or until it’s golden brown.


You can add an ounce of yeast to the dough to make it puffier.
Some people prefer to use fresh pecorino in the filling, cutting it into thin strips.
In San Bartolomeo (province of Genova) the Osteria di Nanni makes focaccia al formaggio, cuts it into 3-inch squares, tamps down the edges and fries them until golden brown.
Focaccia: This is, according to Alessandro Molinari Pradelli, simple savory bread warm from the oven, to be enjoyed with a crisp cool white wine, or a rosé from the regione di Ponente (western Liguria, where the sun sets over the mountains). It’s also a wonderful base for a sandwich, and is one of the finest nibble-foods there is.
To serve 6 you’ll need:



Dissolve the yeast in warm water. Make a mound of flour on your work surface, scoop a well into the middle of it, and pour in the yeast mixture together with 5 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 healthy pinches of fine salt. Knead the mixture, adding small amounts of warm water as necessary, until you obtain a fairly firm, homogeneous dough. Put it in a bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rise for 2 hours.


Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C).


Grease a baking sheet and dust it well with finely ground salt. Take the risen dough, flatten it out, and spread it enough to completely cover the baking sheet, dimpling the surface by pressing down on it with a spoon. Take the remaining oil and beat it lightly with a little water to make an emulsion; brush this emulsion over the focaccia and sprinkle it with coarse sea salt.


Bake the focaccia until it is a lively golden brown, then remove it and let it cool. Don’t let it overbrown.


A couple of tips:
Put a bowl of water in the oven with the focaccia, to keep it from drying out overmuch as it bakes.
To help the dough rise, you can add a teaspoon of honey, malt extract, or sugar to it.


Onion Focaccia







  1. Add wet ingredients, then dry
  2. Use pizza dough setting
  3. Grease shallow round pan around a foot in diameter


  1. Place ready dough on flour-dusted surface
  2. Punch down dough and mix in sage and red onion
  3. Roll and shape dough, place in pan, cover with plastic wrap
  4. Let rise for 20 minutes
  5. Preheat oven at 400 degrees F


  1. Poke holes with fingers in dough
  2. Let rise another 15 minutes


  1. Brush with olive oil
  2. Spread onion, sage leaves, sea salt, and black pepper
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes


Quick Yeast


If you don’t have a bread machine, this is the easiest yeast dough recipe by far. There is no overbearing yeast flavour and it is a good dense bread. Please note: time to make includes rising time.
by Bokenpop






1. Put 4 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar and salt into large bowl.
2. Pour in hot water and oil and mix until combined- it will be sticky.
3. Add the remaining flour in increments until dough is no longer sticky.
4. Knead for about 5 minutes until dough is elastic and smooth.
5. Place dough back into bowl and cover with a damp teatowel and let it rise until double its size- about 1/2 hour.
6. Punch it down and divide dough into two pieces.
7. Roll pieces long enough to fill two well oiled loaf pans and leave to rise until dough has reached the rim of the pan.
8. Bake at 400F for 40 minutes.
9. Rub hot breads with water a

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Page last modified on October 27, 2007, at 08:02 AM