Home Food DigiBites: It’s A Focaccia Frenzy! Two Chef Charlie Recipes For The Price...

DigiBites: It’s A Focaccia Frenzy! Two Chef Charlie Recipes For The Price Of One!

Some lucky Lamorindans sample the real deal, home-made Focaccia, where it tastes really good - in Italy!

Buongiorno news24/680 readers!
Continuing the summer-Italian theme: On our recent tour of Puglia, one of our favorite street foods in Bari (the capital of the Provence of Puglia), was the locally-made focaccia bread. Made in neighborhood bakeries for

Chef Charlie

generations, many specialize and ONLY make focaccia, and only one “flavor,” like Panificio Santa Rita – tomato. Focaccia is very popular as it can be taken from the shop and eaten while walking – as evidenced by our group of Lamorinda residents on the street outside the shop!  Although focaccia bread originates in Italy, it is popular throughout the Mediterranean, lending itself well to the flavors of the region.

I am sharing two recipes here: (1) Oven-dried tomatoes (simply embedded in the focaccia recipe) and (2) the focaccia recipe I brought home from Puglia. If you don’t have time to dry tomatoes, use sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil.
Equipment: either one 12 x 18-inch sheet pan (jelly roll pan with a lip) or 2 – 8-inch cake pans (pictured)

Dried Tomato Focaccia
2 – ¼ ounce packages active dry yeast

1 ½ cups lukewarm water

4 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

12 oven-dried tomatoes, cut into thirds (10 ripe Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise. Remove seeds, “jelly” and ribs. Place on a baking sheet and into a 300˚F oven for 6 – 8 hours until dried, but still moist and soft.)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
•  In a large stainless bowl, combine the yeast and ½ cup of the warm water and stir to mix.  Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.  Add the flour, the remaining 1 cup warm water, ¼ cup of the olive oil, and fine salt.  Mix well, using your hands, until a dough forms – it will be soft and sticky.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel, put in a warm place, and let the dough rise until it doubles in size, at least 1 hour.

 •  Punch down the dough and remove it from the bowl.  Form it into a ball.  Pour 1 tablespoon remaining olive oil into the bowl, then return dough to the bowl and roll it around to cover it in olive oil.  Cover the bowl with a towel again and let it rise a second time until nearly doubled in size, another 20 – 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚F.

•  Using half the remaining olive oil, heavily coat the bottom and sides of a 12 x 18-inch baking sheet or 2 – 8-inch cake pans.  Punch down the dough, remove it from the bowl, and lay it on a heavily floured board.  Stretch and pull the dough to flatten it out into a 12 x 18-inch rectangle, or divide in 2 and place in the bottom of the cake pans.  Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and using your fingertips make little dimples all over the top of the dough.  Top with the dried tomatoes, pressing them down gently to embed them in the dough. Dab the top liberally with the remaining olive oil, and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt.

•  Bake until the top is lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
•  Cut into wedges, strips or squares (depending on the pan used) and serve warm.

Serves 8 – 10

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  1. Very good and it does taste better in Italy for some reason but you still can’t beat France for street food. I lived off of it as a student and it left me with a deep craving I have tried to satisfy with pitiful attempts at baking in the past. Strange that something as simple as a croissant could leave such an impression

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