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What is Focaccia?
The focaccia bread has ancient origins. Its name dates back to ancient Rome, where ancient Romans baked the panis focacius or hearth bread on coals in their homes. It was likely invented by the Etruscans and is famously popular in the Genoa region of Italy.
Like most Italian bread, focaccia consists mainly of high-gluten flour, yeast, salt, oil, and water. Its crust is thin and crunchy, with a moist center. It is very similar to pizza dough, another Italian favorite. The focaccia is a staple bread in Italy, though its ingredients vary by region.
Traditional focaccia is typically served as sandwich bread or with rosemary. A dessert variation called focaccia dolce is sweetened with honey or fruits, typically raisins, and topped with sugar.
The History of Focaccia Bread
The Etruscans of Greece mastered many things in their prime - metallurgy, architecture, and, of course, bread! Historians associate the Etruscans with the origins of Focaccia bread. The ancient Latin word focus likely gave Focaccia its name, meaning the hearth or place of baking.
In the ancient world, bread was the mark of an advanced civilization. In order to have an abundance of bread, civilizations must have moved beyond the hunter-gatherer phase of evolution and began farming cereal grains.
In the Mediterranean, the Etruscans were blessed with good weather and healthy soil that allowed the civilization to blossom and grow their own fields of grain. The panis focacius, or hearth bread, became central to Greek and Roman cuisine after the Etruscan’s fell.
The Focaccia bread spread as the poor man’s bread. Unleavened and simple in nature, Focaccia found its way into the camps of Rome’s armies and found itself traveling across the great Roman Empire.
The Focaccia came to the United States during the age of immigration. As Europeans flocked to the piers of New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, they brought the Focaccia with them. The Italian quarters of major cities produced the bread, and it quickly caught on in the U.S.
As ethnic foods grew in popularity during the 1960s and 1970s, Focaccia became available throughout the United States. Now, Focaccia, though decidedly Italian in origin, has evolved to be a part of the American food experience in Italian restaurants and sandwich shops.
Ingredients in Focaccia Bread
Focaccia bread recipes typically contain the following ingredients:
- Wheat Flour
- Olive Oil
- Baker’s Yeast
Focaccia Bread Nutritional Information
Focaccia contains more healthy fats than other white bread types thanks to its egg and olive oil content. A serving of focaccia typically has 4 grams of unsaturated fat per serving. Most focaccia has 5 grams of protein per serving, too, making it a filling bread.
However, focaccia can be high in sodium, with a serving containing 320 mg of sodium. There are about 20 grams of carbs per serving, but due to white flour being used in most recipes, the carbs are largely simple carbs.
How to Make Focaccia Bread
You make Focaccia much the same way as any yeast-leavened dough. The recipe begins with you gathering and mixing ingredients until a sticky dough forms. Once a sticky dough has formed, you add olive oil and mix the dough slowly until it becomes smooth and stretchy.
Focaccia undergoes two separate proofing processes, the first occurs after mixing for about an hour. After the first proof, you flatten and shape the focaccia into the desired shape, usually a rectangle, and let proof for a second time for just about an hour until doubled in size.
After the second proof, you use your thumb to indent divots into the dough’s shape, which gives the focaccia its signature dented look. Traditionally, you drizzle the indentations with olive oil to create the crisp crust of focaccia bread before popping the loaf into the oven.
Focaccia Bread Recipes
Focaccia bread has many variations with different regions in Italy having their own spin on the bread.
In New York, you can sample focaccia con patate e rosmarino or potato and rosemary focaccia. New Yorkers call it the potato pizza. If you aren’t a fan of rosemary, give focaccia alla salvia a try. It replaces rosemary with sage for a more savory spin on the bread.
Other common variations include garlic and cheese focaccia, with cheese and garlic cloves being mixed in before the second proof. Other focaccia variations include dates and nuts for a sweet affair.
There are no-yeast recipes for focaccia, too. When baking soda and baking powder hit the world market in the 1850s, yeasted elements of bread were replaced. Focaccia recipes without yeast are leavened faster, but lose some of their typical texture without the yeast.
What is focaccia bread?
Focaccia bread is a type of flat bread that originates from Italy. It is typically made with olive oil, herbs and salt, and can be served as a side dish or appetizer.
How do you make focaccia bread?
To make focaccia bread, you will need flour, water, yeast, salt and olive oil. The dough is first proofed (allowed to rise), then flattened and placed on a baking sheet. Once it has been baked, it is traditionally brushed with more olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt.
What are the different types of focaccia bread?
There are many different types of focaccia bread, but some of the most common include: rosemary focaccia, garlic focaccia, onion focaccia and olive focaccia.
How do you serve focaccia bread?
Focaccia bread can be served as a side dish or appetizer. It can be eaten plain, or topped with things like olive oil, herbs, cheese or vegetables.
What goes well with focaccia bread?
Focaccia bread goes well with a variety of dishes, including pasta, soup and salad. It can also be used as a sandwich bread or eaten plain as a snack.
What is the history of focaccia bread?
Focaccia bread is thought to have originated in Italy, though the exact origins are unknown. It has been made in Italy for centuries, and was traditionally a peasant food. Today, focaccia bread is enjoyed by people all over the world.
How many calories are in focaccia bread?
There are approximately 120 calories in a slice of focaccia bread.
What is the nutritional value of focaccia bread?
Focaccia bread is a good source of carbohydrates and protein. It also contains some vitamins and minerals, including iron and calcium.
Is focaccia bread healthy?
Focaccia bread can be part of a healthy diet, but it is high in calories and fat. If you are watching your weight, you may want to limit how much focaccia bread you eat.
Can focaccia bread be frozen?
Yes, focaccia bread can be frozen. To freeze, wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap or place in a freezer-safe bag. It will keep for up to 3 months.
How long does focaccia bread last?
Focaccia bread will last for about 2-3 days at room temperature. If you need it to last longer, you can freeze it (see question 10).
What is the best way to store focaccia bread?
The best way to store focaccia bread is in a cool, dry place. If you are storing it for more than a day or two, you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place in a freezer-safe bag.
Can focaccia bread be reheated?
Yes, focaccia bread can be reheated. To reheat,wrap the bread in aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
What is the shelf life of focaccia bread?
Focaccia bread will last for 2-3 days at room temperature. If you need it to last longer, you can freeze it (see question 10).
How long does focaccia bread take to make?
Focaccia bread takes about 2 hours to make, including the time it takes for the dough to rise.
What is the difference between focaccia bread and pizza dough?
The main difference between focaccia bread and pizza dough is the amount of olive oil that is used. Focaccia bread is made with a lot of olive oil, which gives it a moist and dense texture. Pizza dough is made with less olive oil, which makes it more chewy and crispy.
Can focaccia bread be made without yeast?
Yes, focaccia bread can be made without yeast. However, the texture and flavor will be different than traditional focaccia bread.
Can focaccia bread be made gluten-free?
Yes, focaccia bread can be made gluten-free. There are a few different ways to do this, but the most common is to use a gluten-free flour blend in place of regular flour.
What is the best way to reheat focaccia bread?
The best way to reheat focaccia bread is in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. You can also reheat it in the microwave, but it won't be as crispy.
How do you make focaccia bread?
There are a few different ways to make focaccia bread, but the most common is to mix flour, water, yeast, olive oil and salt together in a bowl. The dough is then kneaded for about 10 minutes before being placed in a greased baking dish. It is left to rise for 30-60 minutes, then baked in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
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