Drop your traditional meal aside and make way for the queen. If we told you that one bread could be the perfect choice for all side meals of the day, would you believe us? A light lunch, a savory dinner, and a sweet tooth dessert. Yes, the Focaccia bread serves all the purposes.
Also known as the Italian flatbread, a Focaccia bread is a yeasted, moist, olive oil flavored flatbread. Unlike other bread, Focaccia is usually topped with exciting herbs and vegetables like onions, olives, tomatoes, garlic & cheese. It is presented as a sider to meals and is a fluffier version of pizza bread.
Did the pizza come first, or did the Focaccia? Focaccia has been widely known to be the early version of pizza. In 79 AD, the city of Pompeii had a vast industry of baking bread. Over time, the bread evolved to introduce pizza to the world.
The similarities between cooking both, the original and the modern Focaccia, still exist. They both are still pierced with a knife to secure moisture and prevent bubbling. The original ones were pierced with needles to make them look more attractive and decorative. As the word spread, so did the Focaccia. It spread so beautifully that every country and every region introduced their own delightful versions of the bread.
In the northwest region of Italy, Camogli has a biscuit hard-spin version, whilst Voltri has a soft oily version. Spanning to the northeast, Veneto introduced a sweet Focaccia made from flavored butter, eggs, and sugar as an Easter dish. These experimentations provided the people of the world to choose the best version of the bread to suit their needs of a light meal, a snack, or a dessert.
This most popular type of Focaccia bread is also known as the Pane Di Azzano. It is prominently found in local bakeries and tastes best when consumed fresh.
Look-wise, Servazzeina is golden-brown round bread made by mixing the corn and wheat flour to sustain the texture and give it that beautiful rise. Lard, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, mountain water, salt, and yeast make it into the mixture too. The blend, set to be baked in a wood-fired oven, is then put over wooden tables, covered with a linen cloth, left to rest and settle.
As the name suggests, the second most popular version of the bread originated from Messina, a city in Italy. As far as the raw ingredients are considered, flour, semolina, lukewarm water, olive oil, salt, sugar, and most importantly, yeast make it into the mix. This type of bread is popular within the region but is hard to find outside. Focaccia Messinese has unique toppings of anchovies, time cheese, curly endive, & tomatoes, and this is what makes it stand out from the rest.
Also known as the Lentini, named after its origin town in Syracuse, Cudduruni is made with an essence of beer yeast/mother dough, hard wheat flour, salt, and the appropriate amount of water to knead it to perfection.
Just like a taco, the dough is spread into a tortilla-like shape and filled with the mix of onions or wild beet greens, black broccoli, tomatoes, fresh sheep’s milk cheese, and olive oil on only one half. The other half then covers the first part, making it look like a giant taco. The semi-circle dough is pinched onto the edges and rolled little inwards to prevent the filling from falling off. The raw bread is then placed slowly into the wood-fire oven to be baked to the T.
Made with the combination of the perfect ingredients like flour, yeast, water, oregano, and black pepper, or rarely bacon or lard, Strazzata brings the best taste to the table. Strazzara means tearing or ripping, meaning this bread puts the knife off your place and makes you use your hands to make chunks. This traditional Italian bread hails from the streets of Basilicata. Back in time, Strazzata was a popular choice of serving along with wine or vegetables at gatherings and weddings.
This traditional rectangular bread is known to be the original version of Focaccia. Its classic taste is acquired from flour, yeast, salt, sugar, water, and olive oil. The dough is baked in the wooden-fired oven until the bread turns ready to eat, crispy and shiny in the shades of gold. In its local markets, the bread is called out as Fugassa.
Second, last on the list, and one of the tastiest ones, is Focaccia di Recco col Formaggio. The best part about Focaccia is the cheese burst nature, which leaves us relishing for a minute. The food capital of Liguria, Recco, hosts this bread in almost every bakery, pizzeria, and/or restaurant. Invented in the 12th Century, the idea of Focaccia di Recco col Formaggio popped up to provide for the Crusaders with the limited amount of ingredients they had. One thing that distinguishes this bread from that of the others is that it is made without yeast. Now you must be wondering whether that is possible. The structure stands thin and flat, and a lot of moisture preservation keeps it soft and moist to enjoy the cheesy layer.
Sfincione, an Arabic word meaning asfanaj (a sponge), stands last but not the least in the list of Focaccia types of bread. This flavourful bread is topped with a tangy oregano-flavored tomato sauce. This awesome sauce is made using a mix of onions, anchovies, breadcrumbs, and local cheeses such as caciocavallo, provolone, tuna, or ricotta. If you visit Palermo, you would often see vendors on three-wheelers selling fresh, delicious bread. Pull out a penny, and get ready to savor.
Every piece in this world is an art. You just need the right way to see. Focaccia bread art is the new thing in town, and it is definitely not going away soon. To all the food lovers, here’s another reason to just sit and stare at your food.
Focaccia Bread Art is all about decorating and making the bread all the more eye-pleasing by topping the bread with herbs and vegetables in an artistic manner. This trend has taken over the world at sit-down dinners, kitty parties, birthday parties, weddings, and more. In fact, what better way than to enjoy dinner or breakfast time with family. Cut it into 2 or 4 or 6 slices as per the members of your family. Put forward bowls full of interesting and vibrant ingredients, and let’s see who wins! It is the perfect way to keep the kids busy and a wonderful one to make them eat the veggies.
Thinly sliced red onions, mini bell peppers, chives, green onions, parsley, basil, cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, rosemary, thyme, pepperoni, sausage, shredded parmesan, and tomatoes. Cut them finely so that they can be used as slices or as a whole in the art.
Make your DIY dough at home in some easy steps. On average, it takes around 2-2.5 days for the bread to be consumed. Let’s get started.
First, knead your Focaccia dough and set it aside to ferment at 70 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 3 hours. It usually takes longer for the bread to ferment in winters. But in summer, 2 to 3 hours are enough for the oil to settle and the dough to rise.
After it doubles in size, shift it to your cooking platform, where you must divide it into two or more pieces. Prepare the respective number of sheet pans and saute over a little olive oil in each. Make sure that the whole sheet pan is coated and covered. Shape the dough and stretch it towards the edges. Then, cover it using plastic wrap to secure moisture and prevent the dough from hardening. Lead the dough to the fridge, where you must allow it to rest overnight.
Over to the next day, place the Focaccia back onto the cooking platform and let it come back to normal room temperature. Knead the dough with your knuckles, sprinkle flaky salt, and add some olive oil. That’s it. It’s now time for the fun part. Your bread is ready to be on the platter to decorate. Use the above-mentioned topping in the most artistic ways to create flowers, sceneries, and even characters. Soon after you do, apply some olive oil over the herbs again to prevent them from burning as you bake.
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