In Italy, it seems that every region, or even every town has its own version of focaccia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focaccia). It seems to have originated in Liguria, and the further south you get, the thicker and higher the focaccia rises with a heavier drizzle of olive oil and perhaps some artichokes or other vegetables. In Tuscany, focaccia is not as high and is sometimes crustier, but always delicious. Here is one of our favorite recipes from our Pizza and Gelato Class.
Focaccia Stuffed with Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Basil Recipe
- 4 servings
- 1/2 kg all-purpose flour
- 250gr room temperature or tepid water
- 1 cube (25gr) instant-activated yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 medium yellow potato
- For Filling:
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 2 fresh buffalo-milk mozzarella cheeses (weighing 125gr each)
- 7-8 fresh basil leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- Salt, as needed
How to Make the Dough
Wash and thoroughly clean the potato. Boil medium pan of salted water, and add the cleaned potato, leaving the skin on. The potato should cook until softened and cooked through - you can test by piercing the potato with a sharp knife - it should not resist being cut and should yield to the knife. Remove from the water, allow to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, remove the peel, and pass through a vegetable mill or mash using a potato masher. Place the smashed potato into a large mixing bowl. In the same bowl, add the flour, sugar, and salt, and combine the ingredients well with a large spoon.
In a small bowl, allow the yeast to dissolve entirely in room temperature water (the ideal temperature should be approximately 35C - anything hotter can ruin the rising effect of the yeast). Once the yeast is dissolved, add the liquid to the other dry ingredients. Knead the ingredients all together until you reach an elastic, firm consistency. The dough should not be tough, but rather soft, light, and slightly damp. Every type of flour acts different, so be on the lookout for dough that is too damp (add more flour), or too stiff (add more water). Place dough into an oiled mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a moistened kitchen towel. Place bowl in a warm place in your kitchen, being sure it is far from blowing air or cold temperatures and allow to rise for at least 2 hours.
To Cook and Add Filling
Evenly grease a baking tray (40cmx30cm) and place the dough on top of the baking tray. Using your fingers, press the dough evenly to cover the entire surface. Put aside, and allow to rise for another 30 minutes. Place an oven-safe container halfway filled with water in the bottom of your oven and preheat to 190C. This water will keep the inside of your oven moist as you bake your focaccia. When the oven has reached the correct temperature, and the dough has finished rising, place the dough into the oven and allow to cook for between 20-25 minutes, or until the top of the focaccia has begin to turn golden brown. While the focaccia is baking, wash and slice the tomatoes. Slice the mozzarella cheese. Place in a medium mixing bowl, and dress with olive oil, salt, and basil. When the focaccia is done baking, remove from heat, and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove from baking tray, carefully slice the entire focaccia in half horizontally. Remove the top, fill with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil and replace the top. Cut into individual servings and serve warm.