Recipes from the Italian Riviera: n° 7: focaccia genovese

Piping hot focaccia

FOCACCIA GENOVESE (fügassa zeneize) –
Focaccia is almost certainly linked to Latin focus=hearth. An iconic street food since the Middle Ages, it used to be eaten even in churches during weddings and ceremonies – bishops had to ban these inappropriate picnics! Nowadays, it boasts a “Marchio collettivo” quality brand. Please note that this declination of the recipe features malt (enhancing leavening and colouring) but no white wine. Lard and husk oil are always out of the question.

Cooking time: some hours
Difficulty level: medium
Wine matching: white, e.g. (DOC Riviera ligure di ponente) Vermentino,

Ingredients: 800 g Italian “00” flour, 200 g. Manitoba flour; 550 g water; 30 g fresh brewer’s yeast; 20 g malt; 25 g salt; 1 handful coarse salt; 50 g + 100 g DOP riviera ligure extra virgin olive oil

Patiently knead the flour, the water, the oil (50g), the malt, the salt. Finally, add the crumbled yeast. Test the dough with your hands till it is smooth and homogeneous: then, let rest for 2 hours in a big floured bowl (or on a wooden board), protected by a dish cloth. Choose a tepid, humid place to foster leavening. After 2 hours, deflate the dough into a square and fold the corners in a bundle. Let rest for another 20 minutes. Knead and lay the dough on a floured board, keep on kneading then set it in the focaccia pan (40x60 cm, low- rimmed). Keep on working into the pan, turning the dough upside down (with a view to even oiling), slowly enlarging it in a rectangle towards the rims of the pan – stretch out, do not press. When the dough does not stretch anymore, evenly work the surface with finger indentations (one of the secret for excellent cooking and taste). Spread with oil (100 g), coarse salt (crushed with a rolling pin), and water. The last leavening takes at least 4 hours. Baking calls for 18 – 20 minutes at 220° C.
A recipe by Umberto Curti, Ligucibario

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