Cheese focaccia 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, I bet that anyone can get close to the original.
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- 250 ml (just a bit less than 1/2 pint) of tepid water
- 45 ml (3 tbs) of extra virgin olive oil
- 500 grams (1.1 lb) of plain flour
- 8 grams (1 level tsp) of salt
- 280 grams (10 oz) of "crescenza" cheese
- To make the process easy, I would suggest using a bread machine to work the dough. Add 250 ml (just a bit less than 1/2 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 tbs) of extra virgin olive oil.
- Weigh 500 g (1.1 lb) of plain flour.
- Add the flour to the bread machine bucket.
- Add about 8 g (1 level tsp) of salt. Now, knead the dough with the bread machine. Most of the bread machines have a specific program for "kneading". You can also vary the kneading time modifying the program as you wish. I suggest kneading the dough for about 15 minutes.
- The final dough should look smooth and elastic.
- Wrap the dough into a clingfilm and let the dough to rest for about 40 minutes.
- When the 40 minutes has passed, cut the dough in four parts and make four balls (you need two balls for one tray). Take the first ball and using a rolling pin, make a layer as thin as you can and big enough to cover your tray.
- Brush the surface of your tray with olive oil 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").
- 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.
- 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.
- With the second dough 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 (3/8") wide.
- The tray is ready for the oven.
- Meanwhile you have pre-heated the oven at 220 ºC (425ºF). Put the tray on the top shelf and cook for about 20 minutes or until the surface is golden brown and crispy.
- Once the focaccia is cooked, sprinkle few drops of olive oil on its top and now enjoy the focaccia with your friends.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!