<<Have you ever tried authentic Focaccia bread?>>
Authentic in this case means authentic Italian Focaccia bread but in fact, if someone ever asks you such a question, you have to reply:
<<what do you mean by “authentic”>>?
Authentic Focaccia bread from Liguria (the Italian Riviera), from Puglia (a region of southern Italy) or Focaccia bread from Susa (that is sweet Focaccia from the northern area)? .. And you thought it was a simple question, right?
Whenever Grandma and I travel from the Piedmont Region down to Tuscany (where we live) we always “have to” stop at Recco and eat Focaccia bread.
In the Liguria area you’ll find many different kind of Focaccia bread toppings like rosemary Focaccia, Focaccia with black olives and coarse sea salt on top, Focaccia bread with onions (I love this one!). But the most typical around here is Focaccia di Recco (from the town Recco) filled with Stracchino soft fresh cheese.
Focaccia bread from Recco consists of two layers of dough filled with Stracchino cheese and baked in the oven. You should eat this warm to enjoy it the real Italian way! The dough of Focaccia di Recco is worked real thin and it’s similar to pizza and bread dough.
It was a wonderful sunny morning, Grandma and I were walking down the promenade of a small town when suddenly we were enraptured by this heady scent of warm bread. We actually ran into a traditional baker shop, people were waiting in line for the next hot and fragrant batch of Focaccia.
We thought “it must be really good, look at how many people are standing here – under the sun – to have some“! In fact it really was delicious and ever since that day, whenever we are close to that area around Recco in the Liguria region, we stop to enjoy some Focaccia together.
And now you can try it too because I’d like to share the authentic recipe with you. Don’t forget to let me know if you liked it (or comment here below this article if you want)!
- Cheese Focaccia recipe from Recco:
To make the cheese Focaccia dough you’ll need:
– 4 cups flour
– 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 8 oz. water (room temperature)
– 2 tsp salt
For the stuffing you’ll need:
– 2 cups Stracchino Cheese
– 2 tsp salt
– 2-1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– freshly ground black pepper
Here is how you make the dough:
If you have a food processor it’s easier and faster otherwise simply knead the flour with water, extra virgin olive oil and salt.
Make sure that the water isn’t too cold or it will be harder to blend all the ingredients together homogeneously.
I suggest you to form a little volcano with the flour first. Pour water in your “volcano crater”, add extra virgin olive oil and sea salt and then start working the dough. Spread some flour on your counter top if the dough starts to get sticky.
When the dough is smooth enough, wrap it in plastic food wrap and let it cool in the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 hours.
Now you have to split the dough in two halves
(remember this is cheese Focaccia so you’ll need two layers to put the stuffing in between).
With a rolling pin flatten the two pieces of dough. The first one will be the bottom layer.
When it starts to get thin place it on a baking tin (previously oiled) and if it breaks don’t panic simply stretch the two edges to reattach it!
With your fingertips stretch the dough on the baking tin until really flat: it has to be about 0.10 inches (3 mm).
Ok. The hard part is over, thank Goodness. I hope you got through it! It’s worth it. Trust me, keep going and don’t quit now!
Preheat the oven at 450°F.
Grab a spoon and start spreading the Stracchino cheese on top of this bottom layer. Carefully cover with the second layer of dough (previously flattened) and pinch the edges of the two layers so that the cheese doesn’t strain out.
with a fork make few small holes in the center so that your Focaccia won’t be filled with air!
Now spread extra virgin olive oil on top, salt and black pepper.
Bake for about 15/20 minutes until the top becomes golden and crispy!
And this was the first Focaccia bread recipe I wanted to share here for you today.
There is another kind of special Focaccia bread I’d like to introduce you to…
As you may recall Grandma and I stop to have Focaccia at Recco each time we travel back from Piedmont to Tuscany…
…And one of the reason we often go to Piedmont is that the food there is amazing and there are always some kind of food and wine events we attend to. Besides I have an aunt who lives in the outskirts of Turin close to a town named Susa.
That’s where I found out about the sweet Focaccia bread from Susa.
We went over to our aunt’s house one day and she said:
<<As a dessert I have this traditional Focaccia from Susa for you>>
So Grandma and I said:
<<Focaccia? As dessert?>>
My aunt said:
<<Yes. It’s not just a Focaccia bread it’s a sweet Focaccia!>>
Let me tell you, I could drive all the way from Florence – Tuscany – up to Susa – Piedmont – just to have that sweet Focaccia!
According to what my aunt has heard the Susa sweet Focaccia bread history goes back to the late 1800s when a handwritten recipe by a local baker was found.
Here is the original recipe from the 1800’s for you to try. Please let me know if you loved it as much as I did.
– 3-1/2 cups flour
– 1/4 cup butter
– 2 eggs
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1 oz. brewer’s yeast
- Here is how you make the sweet Focaccia Bread from Susa:
separate the egg yolks from the egg whites in two different bowls.
Add the sugar to the egg yolks and whisk with a fork to obtain a creamy mixture.
Now add a dash of salt to the egg whites and beat until stiff.
With the flour form a volcano shape where in the center you’ll pour the melted yeast, room temperature butter, the creamy egg yolks and the whipped egg whites.
Knead the ingredients (the whipped egg whites at last) until you have a smooth homogeneous dough. Add room temperature water if the dough is too dry.
With the dough form some small Focaccia in the shape of bread rolls. Spread some flour on top and cover with a dishtowel to let rise for about two hours.
(Spreading flour on top prevents the dough from becoming too sticky).
After two hours, flatten each small sweet Focaccia roll about a half inch thick. Again, cover with the dishtowel and let rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven at 400°F.
Now cover a baking tin with a baking sheet and place your sweet Focaccia rolls on top. With your fingertips gently press the dough and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until golden.
Your sweet Focaccia Bread Rolls from Susa are ready!
Enjoy them when you have friends over or for a late afternoon gathering. You’ll impress all your guests and family (and yourself) with these delicious sweet Focaccia rolls!
I’d like to let you know that Grandma has a dear friend in Puglia (a region of Southern Italy) her name is Rocchina. Rocchina is a Lady of noble birth who loves to cook quite as much as Grandma does!
If you loved Focaccia Bread from Recco and the Ancient Sweet Focaccia Bread Recipe from Susa you might also enjoy Rocchina’s Recipe to make Focaccia Bread from Puglia…
Check it out in my new Book:
“Discovering Italy. Mediterranean cooking and lifestyle. Recipes and stories from Tuscany and more”
To See the Book>>> Click Here
- Bottom line
Focaccia is really good and tasty even if you eat it simply out of the oven with just coarse sea salt and extra virgin olive oil as Focaccia bread toppings.
But if you want to make something different, if you like cheese and you want to experience the heavenly taste Grandma and I did when we were at the small baker shop in Recco then you should definitely try the Recipe.
Or you can try the sweet Focaccia version as well. Baking Focaccia Bread comes with a bonus because the scent of fragrant and savoury Focaccia right out of the oven will spread out to your kitchen and it is so welcoming!
Just remember to plan ahead because – regardless of the recipe that you choose to prepare – it takes a while for the dough to rise!