Learn how to make authentic Italian Focaccia Genovese bread at home. Crispy on the outside and moist and fluffy inside with a little chew. It contains only a few simple ingredients: dough, rosemary, and salt. This is the classic base recipe where you can add tons of toppings over and make it your own. Interested? Let’s get started!
You could make your own homemade focaccia in just an hour. And half of this time, you will need just to sit and wait for the dough to rise.
It’s easier than you think to make an authentic focaccia Genovese at home. Even if you are new to cooking, this is a perfect recipe for you.
I’ll walk you through the easy steps to making your own authentic focaccia. It will be worth your time and guaranteed will become a dish you will brag about!
Love baking? Consider also making this easy rosemary parmesan bread.
📖 What Is Focaccia Genovese?
Focaccia Genovese is a type of Italian oven-baked flatbread that is baked in the oven typically. It has a similar texture to pizza dough has. It can be eaten as an appetizer, snack, table bread or you can use focaccia for making sandwiches.
This is a classic authentic recipe typical to the Liguria region where it’s called “focaccia all’olio” translated: focaccia with oil. Also, it’s called Focaccia Fugassa bread in the Genoese dialect.
The classic authentic Genovese focaccia is about ½ inch thick, it is soft and chewy inside, but it has a nice crust outside because of the large coarse sea salt.
🌍 Where Does Focaccia Come From?
Focaccia is a typical bread in the Liguria Region, but it’s dating back to the Roman Empire. The first attestation of the word appears in 1300.
Its name derives from Latin, and its original name is “panis focacius”. Where “panis” means bread and “focacius” derives from “focus” which means fireplace.
Bakers were making the focaccia before they start to make the actual bread. They used this dough to test the temperature in the wooden oven.
⚖️ Focaccia Types or Regional Variations
As this is a very simple dish, to make, you will find a lot of variations of focaccia across Italy. From salt to sweet.
The base ingredients like flour, water, yeast, extra virgin olive oil, and salt remain the same in the majority of the recipes and you will find only different toppings for different types of focaccia.
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Is marked by its finger-sized holes on its surface. It is usually brushed or sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil, and large coarse sea salt.
In Genoa, focaccia is eaten usually in the morning at breakfast. Dipped usually in milk or cappuccino.
Focaccia Dolce (Sweet Focaccia)
This is another variation that you can find mostly in the Northwest of Italy. It is sprinkled lightly with honey, raisings, or just sugar.
Focaccia col Formaggio (Focaccia with cheese)
It is called “focaccia di Recco” with having the name of a commune in the region of Liguria.
This version usually is paper-thin and it is used more for sandwiches. The original recipe is only with stracchino cheese that is sandwiched between two layers of focaccia bread.
Focaccia Veneta (Venetian Focaccia)
Can be found in Northeast Italy and it is typically eaten for Easter. It is similar to panettone and pandoro. It is based on eggs, sugar, and butter.
Focaccia al Rosmarino (Focaccia with Rosemary)
As you can understand from the name, it’s topped with rosemary. Both: fresh or dried rosemary. It is usually served as an antipasto, table bread, or just a snack.
Also, you will find that rosemary is the most used herb to flavor focaccia.
In Rome, you will find the focaccia genovese under the name Pizza Bianca. It is usually used for mortadella (or Mortazza) sandwiches.
In Tuscany and Umbria, in central Italy, you will find something similar to focaccia under the name of schiacciata. It has a very similar taste to focaccia, it is crunchy, soft, and moist thanks to tomato slices and oregano topping.
Schiacciata Catanese (Schiacciate di Catania)
You can find it in Catania. Typically is stuffed with anchovies and tuma cheese.
Schiacciata Messinese (Schiacciata di Messina)
Typical focaccia that you will find in Messina, Sicily. This focaccia will be stuffed with potatoes, tomatoes, tuma or caciocavallo cheese, anchovies, and more…
🤩 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- You only need a few ingredients to make it.
- It will take you less than an hour.
- If you like crispy bread, this recipe is a perfect fit for you.
- If you’re tired of the same sandwiches, replace the bread with focaccia and you will get a new taste to your sandwiches.
- It’s a simple snack to take with you when you go on the trips.
🏆 Tips for Success? How to Make It Better?
- Read the yeast instructions on the package. If you use yeast that says on the package that it must be dissolved in liquid, I suggest you be careful when preparing the leaven. Because if you put the yeast in too hot water, it will die and the dough will not grow.
- If the yeast doesn’t require to dissolve in liquids, you can mix the yeast with the rest of the dry components from this recipe. This way you will avoid the situation of having yeast lumps that will not incorporate into the dough.
- If you have enough time, prepare the dough preferably the night before. This way you will get a more intense taste of the focaccia.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with focaccia toppings because this flatbread is a very versatile base and you can use almost any combinations.
⬆️ How to Scale the Recipe up and Down?
If you want to scale the recipe up or down, just multiply or divide all the ingredients proportionally.
Ingredients Needed for This Recipe:
For the dough:
- 4 cups of all-purpose flour (480 grams)
- 1 cup ¼ (300 ml) of warm water 100°F (38-39 °C)
- 2 tablespoon (25 ml) of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 teaspoons (20 grams) of Salt
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams ) of sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons (5 grams) of Dried Active Yeast
For the topping:
- Coarse sea salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- All-purpose flour. ⅓ of the amount of the flour, you can replace it with wholemeal flour. For a more authentic result, look for durum wheat flour, ie flour with a higher amount of protein.
- Rosemary. You can replace it with other aromatic herbs such as dried oregano, or dried basil.
🤔 Why the Dough for Focaccia Genovese Didn’t Rise?
If you tried earlier to make focaccia and the dough didn’t rise, there are a few possible reasons why this happened:
- The water you poured over the yeast was too hot. In that case, you killed the yeast from the beginning. The temperature of the water should be lower than 105°F (40°C). Ideally, it should be 100°F (38-39 °C)
- When you prepared the leaven, you didn’t feed the yeasts enough with flour or sugar.
- You let the dough rise too much without kneading it. Thus the yeasts did not have enough oxygen and suffocated.
👩🍳 Step-by-Step Instructions:
If you use yeast that needs to dissolve in liquids, the first step is to prepare the leaven. If your yeast doesn’t require dissolution, just skill this step.
Let’s get started. Take a bowl or a glass big enough, and pour in it ⅓ of a cup of warm water 100°F (38-39 °C).
Pour the yeast, a tablespoon of flour, and a tablespoon of sugar into the water. Mix well all the ingredients and leave them to rest in a shady place at room temperature.
When the composition increases in volume and will obtain a dense foam on the surface, we can move on to the next step.
Take a big bowl, or if you will use the planetary mixer, pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of the mixer. Then pour 1 cup of water, oil, and the leaven that we just made.
If you used yeast that doesn’t require its dissolution, put all the dry ingredients in the bowl, including the yeast. Mix well and after that, add the liquid ingredients.
Knead the dough well.
Quick Note: If you use a food processor, then the process will take about 10 minutes. If you do this process manually, it will take you about 20 minutes.
Grease the surface of the dough with extra virgin olive oil. This will help us to avoid drying the dough until it will increase in volume. After that, cover the bowl with plastic food film.
Quick Note: If you will bake the Genovese focaccia on the same day, then leave the dough at room temperature in a dark place to rise until it triples in volume. If you opt for the option to bake focaccia the next day, put the bowl covered with food film in the fridge and let it ferment overnight.
When the dough will increases in volume about 3 times, take the baking tray, grease it well with olive oil and pour the dough on the baking tray.
Using your hands, spread the dough evenly over the entire surface of the tray. Grease well with olive oil and make holes in the dough with your fingers. As you can see in the picture below.
Sprinkle the surface of the dough with coarse sea salt and rosemary or other aromatic herbs that you have decided to use.
Place the tray in the preheated oven at the maximum temperature that allows your oven. Keep the focaccia inside until the top of the focaccia will become well browned.
Baking time varies depending on the power of your oven. (This usually varies between 30-45 minutes.)
Take the focaccia out from the oven and you can serve it as is, or as bread, along with your favorite dish. Of course, it fits perfectly with any type of stew.
🙋 Answering Your Questions:
It is another type of bread. It’s a flat oven-baked bread, much like pizza dough.
Yes. It’s the same dough.
The difference between focaccia dough vs pizza dough is that focaccia is left to rise after the dough was flattened, while pizza is baked immediately.
Without the yeast, you will not get the same authentic taste, because the taste and texture of the focaccia dough are actually offered by the yeast. So, if you want to get the original taste, I will recommend keeping using the yeast.
Yes! It is recommended to prepare the focaccia dough the night before and to leave it in the fridge to rise. Because in cold temperatures, the fermentation process will go slower, and the final taste of the dough will be more intense.
Focaccia has Latin origin and the correct pronunciation is “foh-cahtch-ha”.
They are different types of bread. The components are the same, but the proportions between water and flour are totally different. Also, the shape of the bread is different, and the method of baking differs.
Like any bread, it is tastier when it is hot. But be careful because the hot dough can cause stomach pain.
You can freeze both the dough and the focaccia.
If you freeze the dough, I suggest you distribute it in portions from the beginning, and when you decide to bake it, take it out the night before and let it thaw slowly in the fridge.
If you freeze the ready-made focaccia, wrap it well in baking paper, then a layer of aluminum foil, then put it in the food film and freeze it.
If you will heat the focaccia in the oven, just remove the food film and put it in the overheated oven wrapped in aluminum foil and baking paper. In 10-15 minutes, it will be ready.
If you want to heat the focaccia in the microwave, fully uncover the focaccia and put it in the microwave. A good tip would be to put a glass of water next to it in the microwave, so the focaccia will not dry out while it is heating.
You can serve it instead of bread for any food you want. Or to eat it as is as a snack.
You can keep the focaccia in the fridge in a well-closed container for about a week.
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📋 Recipe Card:
Focaccia Genovese – An Authentic Italian Bread
For the dough:
- Prepare the leaven if you use yeast that needs to dissolve in liquids.
- Put all the ingredients in a bowl and knead the dough well.
- Cover the dough with plastic food film and leave it to rest at room temperature until it triples in volume.
- Put the dough in the baking tray and spread it in an even layer over the entire surface of the tray.
- Grease the dough well with olive oil, make dimples in the dough with your fingers.
- Sprinkle the dough with coarse sea salt and rosemary.
- Leave the tray to rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to maximum temperature.
- Put the traybake into the oven for 20-45 minutes. The time varies depending on the power of the oven.
- When the focaccia will become well browned, remove the tray from the oven.
- If you need more detailed steps, see the basic article above.
- In the process of preparing the dough, be careful not to kill the yeast. Don’t use high temperatures.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with focaccia toppings.