The history of Focaccia bread is very long and to be honest, quite weird, there are some mentions of similar breads that were made even a 1000 BC, or even farther in history, when dinos still roamed the land free and unshackled. Now I’ll tell you the way I make it and you know what a lazy ass I am, so expect nothing better than a sillyness free recipe that you can make and still be a star of the party, even if you can’t cook! Like meeeeee!
The leaven is essential for this, because it’s where you get the yeast started. Funny enough, everyone worries about any kinds of dough that should rise, but the guideline to make it work is really simple. Care for the yeast, like you would for a little baby. Feed it, don’t burn it, don’t juggle it or bang it against the wall.
This is all you need, half cup of AP flour, half cup of water that should be just the similar temperature like a bath for a baby and … yeast, roughly the ammount you see on the picture in the teaspoon.
All you need is to put it in a bowl, without hard knocks, and then whisk it.
Once you have it whisked, you should cover it and set aside for about 15 minutes (no problems if it’s longer, just don’t hurry at it)
Now comes the surprise, and this one dates back to roughly 17th century as I was told from an italian who’s family shared this recipe with me. Real focaccia contains potatoes! POTATOES ARE THE SECRET!
Yeah, I’m not kidding, make them in a microwave, toss them in a plastic bag, add a few drops of water (or just the water from washing them is fine) and then for this ammount of potatoes just set it for 2:40-3:00… they’ll come out well boiled and soft. Now, since we’ll have to peel them, use the same bag and fill it with cold water, leave them inside for a bit and once they are cold enough to peel, peel them.
Peel the potatoes and then mash them with a fork (don’t worry about clumps, just don’t leave them the size of boulders).
The other ingredients are:
This dough is hard so … get some power tools and a wooden spoon, mix with wooden spoon and use a kitchen machine for kneading, or your hands will fall off.
once you’ve done your kneading, cover it for 30-45 minutes (or longer if you want), then uncover and get it on a baking pan, use a baking sheet to save yourself the trouble:
The dough needs to be stretched on the pan, the italian way is to roll it till it’s very thin, fold and then make the characteristic dimples… who cares? Just pour it on the baking sheet, wet your hands with some oil and stretch it with your hands slowly. Bake for up to 30 minutes at 220C. Don’t use any “air blower” programs your oven might have, just the heat, no air blowing!
This is more or less what your final product will look like.
We can be lazy, but served food should be a proper experience of both eyes and nose. Now, you can serve focaccia with anything really, but I like to do it with assorted salami. This is Mortadella with pistachios, prosciutto crudo, salchicon iberico and salami milanese. Enjoy!