Today's focaccia is called "genovese" and is typical of Liguria, where it is eaten for breakfast dipped in cappuccino. An incredible combination. But for me focaccia genovese means above all a softness that melts in your mouth, a scent of oil so marked that you can find the bakeries in Genova by sniffing the air.
These days I'm experimenting with mixed fermentation, and today's recipe is a successful product of an experiment made last Sunday: on 400 g of flour I used 20% sourdough and 0.5% fresh yeast, for a leavening made in the day. Using both yeasts allowed me to take all the advantages: the richness of flavour and aroma given by the sourdough, as well as a greater durability of the product, but at the same time a better leavening and texture given by the fresh yeast.
The same recipe can be made with only sourdough or only fresh yeast, depending on your preferences or what you have at home. As always, the same goes for the flours, which can be changed as you like. Experiment and try, my recipes just want to be indications that I hope will help you to find your own personal method. :)
INGREDIENTS PREPARATION: 1 h of preparation + 5 h of raising time/ SERVING SIZE: a classic oven tray 30x40
200 g of medium strength wheat flour (around 11.5 - 12 g of proteins)
150 g of wholemeal flour (spelt or wheat)
170 g of room temperature water
80 g of sourdough starter (biga)
2 g of fresh yeast
5 g of malt (you can replace it with honey)
15 g of extra-virgin olive oil
10 g of salt
If you use only sourdough:
140 g of sourdough starter (biga)
If you only use fresh yeast:
9 g of fresh yeast
For the brine:
5 g of salt
50 g of room temperature water
15 g of extra-virgin olive oil
Start by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl, except the salt and oil. Knead the dough vigorously for about 10 minutes. When the glutinous mesh takes shape, so that the dough is more homogenous and almost elastic, add the salt. Finally, add the oil a little at a time, letting the dough absorb it slowly.
Once the dough is ready, give it an oval shape and let it rest on a floured surface, covered with a clean cloth (make sure it is well covered, otherwise the dough will dry out on the surface).
After 1 hour, 1 hour and a half the dough will have almost doubled in volume. Stretch it out with the rolling pin, trying to give it the shape of the baking tray you will use. Generously oil the baking tin, trying not to get oil on the corners, so it will be easier to roll out the dough. Lift the dough to place it without damaging it on the baking tray. If you feel that the dough is resisting and does not yet reach the corners, cover it with the cloth and leave to rest for another 20-30 minutes.
After this time, the dough will be relaxed enough to stretch it to the edges of the baking tray: dust the focaccia with a little flour, press well with your fingertips spreading the dough all over the baking tray, making it adhere well to the edges (so when we pour the brine on the dough, it won't end up on the bottom).
Let the dough rest, covered, for another hour. Meanwhile, emulsify the oil, water and salt to create the brine. Then spread it gently with your hand to fill all the holes. Let rise for another 40-45 minutes, this time without covering.
Bake in a static oven preheated to 230° for 15 minutes. When the surface is golden brown you can take your focaccia out of the oven. Remove it from the tray and let it cool down.
- You are always free to mix flours as you like: just remember that wholemeal flours usually require a little more water. There is no precise rule about this, I always recommend adding the water slowly. As you knead your dough with your hands, you will know how much water to add! :)
- When mixing your dough, use water at room temperature. If it is very hot in the room, use cold water. The final dough should never feels warmer than 25/26 degrees.
- It is essential that the oven is very hot and does not lose temperature: I advise you to be very quick when putting the pizza in the oven and never open the door during the first 10/12 minutes of cooking.
- When you make the holes in the focaccia, I recommend sprinkling the surface with flour, for two reasons: your fingers won't stick to the dough, and the flour mixed with the brine will create a nice crispness once cooked.
- Do not forget the brine before baking, this is the real secret to obtaining the soft consistency typical of Genoese focaccia.
- I find static oven function to be perfect when baking focaccia, because in this case I want to obtain a soft and moist product.
- You can freeze slices of focaccia! Simply take them out of the freezer two hours before and heat them at 200 degrees for 5 minutes maximum.