This traditional Ligurian focaccia recipe brings me right back to Genoa, along the Ligurian coast of Italy. When I first tried making authentic Italian focaccia at home I thought it was going to be a challenge. Instead, I learned how to make warm, fresh, and fluffy focaccia in my own kitchen, with only a handful of ingredients.
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What Is Ligurian Foccacia
If you ask Italian food aficionados what Genoa is famous for, they would probably say one of two things: pesto or focaccia. Although you can find focaccia all over Italy, it originated in Genoa. Genoa is a port city located on the Ligurian coast, on the west side of Italy.
I ate the best focaccia of my life when traveling to Genoa. At its most basic, focaccia is a soft bread flavored with olive oil and salt. The Genovese version is a little thinner than what you often find elsewhere in Italy.
There are several varieties available across Liguria, with the most common being focaccia with olives or onions. Different bakers are known for different recipes, some being super soft and others being denser. I loved the softer focaccia the best.
This is a classic Italian recipe and one that is not all that difficult to make, although it does require a bit of patience.
Learn more about what to eat in Genoa, Italy.
Making Authentic Focaccia At Home
The classic Ligurian focaccia is very easy to prepare. It is important to use fresh, quality ingredients, especially yeast. It is also important to observe some simple nuances, without which it is impossible to cook delicious and lush focaccia.
Most of the time, you’ll just watch the dough grow in size. Then a little time for baking and now you are holding in your hands appetizing focaccia, with a thin crispy crust, soft and airy inside.
Ingredients For This Ligurian Foccacia Recipe
There are different varieties of Ligurian bread and many different types of focaccia recipes. This Italian focaccia recipe is the most traditional, the one you will find prepared in Genoa and along the Ligurian coast.
When it comes to what type of flour to use for a recipe for focaccia and wheat flour works best. It’s also important to use fresh, dry yeast. So, check the expiration date. Dry yeast is also known as baker’s yeast.
One of the typical characteristics of Ligurian focaccia is the balance of sweet and salty flavors. This comes from a touch of honey as well as a general portion of course sea salt sprinkled on top.
The other primary ingredient is extra virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian olive oil if you can find it.
List Of Ingredients
- Warm water
- Wheat flour
- Dry yeast
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse sea salt
How To Make This Traditional Focaccia Recipe
There are other types of homemade focaccia, but this is probably the most authentic focaccia recipe. Here are the steps to prepare, rest, and bake focaccia.
Preparing The Dry Yeast
Pour warm water into a bowl. It shouldn’t be hot or cold, but just right. It should have the temperature of a human body, and if you put your finger in it, you should be comfortable. Add dry fast yeast and the honey to the water. Stir everything well and leave for 10 minutes. It will start to bubble and thicken.
Preparing The Focaccia Dough
In another bowl, pour the sifted wheat flour, and mix it with the salt. Then, pour in the active yeast and add extra virgin olive oil. Of course, if you don’t have just such an oil on hand, use any that you have.
Stir the dough, first with a spatula. Then, you can grease your hands with oil and knead it with your hands. You can also use a kitchen mixer. The dough is quite sticky, but do not add more flour, otherwise, the focaccia will be too dense.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for a quarter of an hour. Then turn it over several times with a spatula, folding one edge over the other.
Leave it on for another 15-20 minutes. Then repeat the folding procedure. Now cover the bowl and leave it on the kitchen table for 10-12 hours. If you can let the focaccia dough rest overnight, even better.
How To Make Dimples In Focaccia Bread
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Using a large, rimmed baking sheet, spread about two tablespoons of olive oil onto the baking pan. Or, you can use parchment paper. Using a spatula, spread the Ligurian focaccia dough onto the baking pan.
Stretch the dough by hand, pulling it into the corners and edges of the pan. The dough will shrink as you pull it, so you can do this while letting the dough rest a few minutes between each attempt at stretching.
Use three fingers to dimple the dough, pressing firmly over the dough to make the dimples. Use additional olive oil and a generous amount of rock salt to fill the dimples of the focaccia and ensure the dough is both moist and salty.
Place the focaccia bread into the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it starts to brown on the top.
Tips For Baking Focaccia Bread Recipes
Allow the finished focaccia to cool slightly, then cut it into pieces and serve with vegetables, fresh herbs, sauces, ham, and cheese.
You can also top the focaccia with all sorts of tastiness, including olives, sliced tomatoes, or onions.
You know the focaccia is ready when it’s crispy on the top and requires a sharp knife to break through the crust at the top and the bottom. But, it should be soft and fluffy on the inside.
Ligurian Focaccia Recipe
- 150 mililiters warm water
- 250 grams wheat flour
- 7 grams dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- Pour warm water into a small bowl. It also shouldn't be hot or cold. Add the dry fast yeast and honey to the water. Stir everything well and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, sift the wheat flour. Add the salt.
- Pour in the yeast and honey mixture. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Stir the focaccia dough mixture with a rubber spatula until the flour starts to blend.
- Then, place some olive oil on your hands and knead the dough mix by hand. Knead with your hands until the flour is fully blended. The mixture will be sticky.
- Leave the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a plastic lid. After 15-20 minutes, turn the bread over a few times with a spatula or your hands, folding one corner over another. Repeat this procedure in another 15-20 minutes.
- After the second time, cover the dough and let it rest 8-10 hours, or overnight. Once ready to make, preheat the oven to 400F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper drizzled with olive oil. Place the dough onto the baking sheet and stretch it out by hand until it covers the sheet, shaping it into a flatbread.
- Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top of the bread is browned but not dark.
- Remove from the oven and cut into slices. Serve warm or room temperature.
Be sure to use fresh yeast that is not expired for best results.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 179Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1059mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.