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Focaccia al Formaggio di Recco

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 January 2010 at 08:30

this is hands-down one of my favorite things to make. it is easy and the results are oh-so-good ~

i got the basic recipe (below) from www.italyum.com, a great source for many italian recipes. the pictures are also from the same site for now - i will post pix of my own in the future.
 
NOTE: my own personalizations and tweaks to the basic recipe are in BOLD/CAPS. 

TasunkaWitko's House Focaccia al Formaggio di Recco

 
 
Preparation: 30 min.

Cooking: 20 min.

Difficulty: Easy

Ron’s Notes: This recipe is simple and outstanding; it’s also straight from Italy! The basic recipe can be added to according to the tastes of the cook or the family. I have made notes (BOLD/CAPS) that might come in handy. You can, if you wish, add other components to the dough, cheese layer and toppings; but, especially for your first preparation, my advice is to let the intended ingredients be the star of the focaccia. When you really break this down to its fundamentals, it really only NEEDS to consist of a simple dough, cheese and olive oil -

History: Cheese focaccia (focaccia al formaggio) is a typical recipe from Liguria region of Italy; more specifically, it is from the town of Recco. The homemade cheese focaccia is a simple thing to do, but impossible to achieve perfection, and to taste a real traditional one you need to find a small bakery of Recco. These bakeries keep lots of secrets to themselves and you will only find out all the tricks of the trade if you work in a traditional bakery; however, it tastes good and after few attempts at home, anyone should be able to get close to the original.

Directions:

 To keep it simple and fast, I suggest to using a bread machine (pasta dough OR DOUGH settings) to prepare the dough. Add 250 ml (just a bit less than ½-pint) of tepid water to the bread machine bucket. Alternatively, you can work the dough by hand, kneading for about 10 minutes. 

 

Then, add 45 ml (3 Tbsp.) of extra virgin olive oil. (SOME HAVE SUGGESTED THAT IT IS BETTER TO WAIT AND ADD OIL AFTER THE WATER AND FLOUR HAVE STARTED MIXING)

 

 Weigh 500 g (1.1 lb.) (ABOUT 3 OR 4 CUPS) of plain flour (ALL-PURPOSE).


 

 Add the flour to the bread machine bucket.
 

 

Add about 8 g (1 level tsp.) of (KOSHER or SEA) salt. (MAY WANT TO ADD A TABLESPOON OF ITALIAN HERBS; BASIL, OREGANO, or crushed red pepper flakes etc.)
 

 Let the bread machine to work the dough (it should take about 20 minutes) and when the dough is ready, it should be smooth, not sticky and elastic. (YOU MIGHT NEED TO ADD A LITTLE FLOUR OR WATER TO GET THE RIGHT CONSISTENCY; YOU'LL KNOW IT'S RIGHT WHEN IT HAPPENS)

 

 Then, wrap the dough into a clingfilm and let the dough to rest for about 40 minutes.

 

 When the 40 minutes have passed, cut the dough in four parts and make four balls (you need two balls for one tray (THIS RECIPE MAKES TWO TRAYS TOTAL). Take the first ball and using a rolling pin, make a layer as thin as you can and big enough to cover your tray.  (IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ROLL IT OUT VERY THIN)

 

 Brush the surface of your tray with olive oil (OR USE 100% OLIVE OIL SPRAY) and cover it with your first layer. Use a shallow tray, rectangular or circular it doesn't matter. For this focaccia recipe I have used an oven tray 33 cm x 23 cm (13" x 9"). (A ROUND PIZZA PAN WORKS GREAT!)


 

 Then, add the cheese to the top of the first layer.


 

 About the cheese. Tradition requires you to use fresh "crescenza" cheese, a white soft cheese which is very popular in Italy. Alternatively, you can try using soft "stracchino" cheese or buffalo mozzarella. (NOT HAVING ANY OF THIS, WE'VE TRIED SEVERAL "ITALIAN BLEND" CHEESES. ALL HAVE WORKED WELL. YOU MAY WANT TO ADD GRATED PARMESAN AS WELL. CHEDDAR ALSO WORKS VERY WELL FOR A DIFFERENT FLAVOR.)


 

 Complete the tray until your cheese is finished. You should have the cheese evenly distributed on all of the surface. For this tray I have used 280 g (10 oz.) of "crescenza" cheese. (YOU MAY WANT TO ADD A LITTLE BASIL, OREGANO, SUN-DRIED TOMATO SLICES, CARAMELISED ONION, GARLIC, PROSCUITTO  OR WHATEVER ELSE YOU MIGHT WANT TO ADD)

 

 With the second ball prepare another layer that you will use to cover the first layer and the cheese.


 

 If the layers overlap the tray, before sealing the outer border try to cut the excess part.


 

 Then seal by rolling and gently pressing the outer border with your fingers.
 

 This photograph shows the border sealed and the top layer brushed with olive oil.

 Also, brush the borders with olive oil.

 

 Now, pinch the top layer with your fingers. You should make holes about 1 cm wide.


 

 The tray is ready for the oven.


 

 Meanwhile you have pre-heated the oven at 220º C or gas mark 7 (425ºF). Put the tray on the top shelf and cook for about 20 (TO 25) minutes or until the surface is golden-brown and crispy. (Rotate the tray after 10-12 minutes for even cooking.)


 

 Once the focaccia is cooked, sprinkle (OR BRUSH) few drops of olive oil on its top and now enjoy the focaccia with your friends.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2010 at 15:23
Hey, do they add meats or vegetables to foccaccia? What about taking this further and adding another layer of cheese or stuff (like spratz or tomatoes) on top to make sort of a Balearic Islands Coca....with a double-decker twist?
I'm imagining adding some anchovies to the inside layer of cheese, then topping it with oven roasted garlic and maybe fresh grated romano. Any ideas or recommendations?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2010 at 17:48
OK!  I am definitely making this!  Ron, thanks for your notes in Bold, that is very helpful.  Mrs. Andy and I are having homemade focaccia this weekend!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2010 at 22:11
hey, andy! i know you're gonna love it. it's good stuff!
 
john - i have added some meats such as pepperoni and shaved ham. i've also added olives and mushrooms. i think a person could add anyhting they want, but i definitely recommend making a batch "as written" the first or second time in order to get a feel for the dynamics of making this focaccia. it's a bit unique and it can't really be explained.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 August 2010 at 16:28
I agree with staying true to the original recipe the first couple times, but the variations for this dish are endless and delicious. Definitely something to play around with. I'd like to try this out now that I've got a new rolling pin. No handles- just like the pros useSmile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 August 2010 at 16:41
i heard about that rolling pin of yours, coxie - happy belated birthday!
 
yep, endless combinations - and one doesn't have to confine themselves only to the flavours of italy ~ the liguria region of italy is an important center for shipping and trade. it is not quite as cosmopolitan as venice; however, the ligruians do indeed have access to all kinds of diverse ingredients, especially seafood.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 April 2012 at 08:46
i made this recently, and was able to actually WEIGH the flour, rather than measure with measuring cups and guesstimate. it made all the difference in the world, and this recipe was SIMPLE. the results, however, tasted like a million bucks, with the creamy, tangy cheese nestled between the two sheets of focaccia, baked to perfection and brushed with olive oil to give it that very special texture that must be experienced to be appreciated.
 
wonderful stuff, any time!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 April 2012 at 09:23
@ Ron,
 
Focaccia signifies focus, denoting the hearth, where during the Medieval Ages, people had eaten to stay warm, by their fire places ... It is one of the national dishes of Genoa, Liguera ...
 
Please do note: that most regions have their own interpretation of Focaccia, and all are just sensational sins ... and I am a sinner !  It is interesting that the Romans had brought this focaccia recipe to Mallorca, Spain, and in Catalan, they call this bread a Coca. Now, it basically represents a meatless pizza dough baked with sage and EVOO or other herbs ...
 
I am going to study this recipe and while in Apulia, it would be fab to prepare it ... However, I have to mention, we bought three for a snack tonight ... One for the kids filled with ham and cheese, and one with eggplant and buffala di mozzarella ( this is eggplant turf ) and one with just Buffala di Mozzarella, EVOO and herbs from the Bakery in Martina Fanca ...
 
Thanks for the marvelous recipe --- It is drizzling and about 17 centig degrees so having the oven on is marvelous ...   
 
Margi.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 April 2012 at 09:44

if you get the chance to try this, margi, you will love it. in its most basic form, it is just about perfect:

  • mix the flour, water, evoo and salt for the dough - no yeast!
  • let it rest for 40 minutes or so, then divide it into 4 equal sections of dough (two sections per focaccia, for a total of two focaccias)
  • roll a section out very thin, almost paper thin, but not quite; then lay the first layer of dough down on a pan brushed with oil, maybe with just a little bit of coarse salt scattered on the bottom of the pan....
  • add a layer of your cheese, then another layer of very thin dough on top.
  • seal the edges of the dough, pinch a few small holes into the top of the dough, here and there, then brush with olive oil.
  • bake for 20-25 minutes at 425F - just a minute or two longer than you think you need to. as soon as it comes out of the oven, brush it again with the evoo.  
  • repeat with the remaining two sections of dough!
a sinner's delight! after making it the first time that way, you can add whatever you want - garlic, onion, grated parmesan or herbs to the dough, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs to the cheese in the middle - maybe prosciutto or anchovies into the middle or on top.....anything is wonderful. but for the first attempt, just the basic, ancient way is SOOOOO good ~
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2012 at 08:33
In my opening post, I offer the reader the option of adding all sorts of fillings and toppings, but to be honest, my favourite way to make this is very simply, with some herbs and perhaps a little Parmesan and garlic in the dough, and then the cheese layer between; a lot of times, I'll add bits of sun-dried tomato in with the cheeses, but rarely anything else. True deliciousness needs very little embellishment.
 
Two important keys to that focaccia are to a) get the crusts as thin as possible and b) to brush the pan with olive oil, then brush the top layer of dough with olive oil both before it goes into the oven and after it comes out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2012 at 10:03
Tas,

No truer words can be said; " Tas stated: True deliciousness needs very little embellishment " !!!
 
I agree totally with you on your comments about Focaccia; just the best Evoo one can afford ! and the herbs !!!  I love the layering idea, with cheese, and sun dried tomatoes ...the Prosciutto di Parma and cheese filling idea; an Italian Quesadilla !  LOL
 
Looks simple enough; the key is the dough ! 
 
Now AP is okay or should I use Bread Flour ? Could you simplify, when you have a chance....
 
Thanks alot,
Margi.
 
HAVE A WONDERFUL EVENING.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2012 at 10:13
I've made it both ways, Margi, and also with a 50/50 combination of the two; Off the top of my head, I don't recall any significant difference; I'm sure there are some, and I tend to lean toward bread flour for reasons I can't really explain, but I really don't think it matters.
 
Keep in mind that this is an unleavened focaccia, with no yeast, and the brushing with the olive oil imparts a really smooth texture that is just slightly crispy but also has a "soft-and-flaky" texture. It's very good, no matter how prepared.
 
Based on that, I would advise to use whichever flour you would normally use for an unleavend flat bread, or a combination - let your whim guide you and it will be good no matter how you do it.

Also, remember that this focaccia is very thin and has a middle layer of cheese. Don't forget to pinch out the holes in the top so that the cheesy goodness can come bubbling through and get toasty golden!Thumbs Up
 
Guaranteed results!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 January 2013 at 05:17
Good Morning Tas,

www.rusticocooking.com

Italian American Chef & Caterer Micol, has an absolutely lovely recipe for Focaccia di Recco, which denotes, a town called Recco in Liguria on the northwest coast of Italia.

Here are her ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Unbleached Flour All Purpose
1/4 cup Evoo
1/2 Cup + 2 tlbps. water room temperature
1/2 pound Crescenza or Sttracchino Cheese sliced in cubes
1/2 tsp. sea salt



www.rusticocooking.com

It is interesting to note, that each village in Liguria, the origins of Focaccia hailed from this province; incorporate their individual take on their home Focaccia ....

Kindest, and Happy New Year,

Margi.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 January 2013 at 08:54
Interestingly, until this thread I had never seen a Focaccia recipe that didn't use yeast. Literally every reference I checked uses yeast. That would include Reinhart's Bread Bakers Apprentice; Kastle's Artisan Breads at Home; Treulle & Ferrigno's Ultimate Bread; Alford and Duguid's Flatbreads & Flavors; and Cook's Illustrated magazine. Add it their references, and we're talking at least ten different recipes.
 
Focaccia can be said to be the Ligurian cousin to pizza. The primary difference is that pizza uses a thin dough, while Focaccia uses a higher, airier, dough. My understanding is that the true Ligurian Focaccia, is based on a potato-fortified dough as well, whereas variations used in other parts of Italy just use flour.
 
Another difference is that any "toppings" used are generally baked into Focaccia, rather than laid on top, as is the case with pizza.
 
No matter which recipe is used, the characteristic shape of Focaccia (a puffy rectangle with indentations) comes from dough handling. The same can be said for pizza, of course. In both cases, if the dough was left alone after proofing it could be baked into a loaf.
 
I go through this only because there seems to be a common confusion that "flatbread" and "unleavened" bread are synonyms. This is not necessarily so, and usually isn't. While it difficult to put a number on it, I would not be uncomfortable with a claim that 90% or more of global flatbreads use yeast or another form of leavening.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 January 2013 at 09:35
Margi - the recipe you posted (di Recco) seems nearly identical to mine, except mine is "doubled" to make two focaccias.
Looks great!Tongue
 
Brook - definitely true about the flat/unleavened bread. I probably should have been more clear. This unleavened focaccia was the first one I was exposed to; even though it is the exception rather than the rule, it is definitely my "go-to" focaccia.
 
It's worth a try, but it will be different, and therefore hard to compare with others you have made; but I almost guarantee you will love it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2016 at 00:08
My youngest son and I spent this evening teaching my mother how to make this focaccia, and it really turned out well. I took some photos, but they were on my cell phone, so I'll see if any are good enough to post.

Tonight, we put a few dried Italian herbs into the dough, and made one focaccia with a few bits of sun-dried tomato added. The other focaccia had sun-dried tomato and sliced black olives added. The olives were patted fairly dry with a paper towel, and went well with the Parmesan/mozzarella cheese blend as well as the sub-dried tomatoes. In all, both focaccias were a very good success.

The real test will come tomorrow. My mother will be serving these focaccias to her Bible study group; we'll see if these ladies enjoy this Italian treat! Hug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2016 at 01:43
Ron,

Simply awesome. 

You should go to culinary institute .. It is truly your passion !! 


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