Food is art, and focaccia bread is a perfect canvas to get creative. We love making focaccia. It’s fun and delicious. It’s the perfect bread to take to a party and impress your friends and family with your baking skills and your artistic vision.
Once you learn how to make focaccia, you will be ready to add some flare to your bread and make focaccia art.
What is Focaccia?
First and foremost, we should explain what exactly is focaccia. It’s similar to pizza but thicker and usually doesn’t have cheese. Its pronounced “foe-kah-cha” and is a popular Italian bread.
Depending on where you are in Italy, there are different ways of serving it. It can be savory or sweet, served as a starter, or stuffed like a sandwich.
Focaccia is different from pizza because it is thicker, and the dough requires more yeast than a pizza, resulting in a thick bread-y bite. The toppings are usually on kept simple with some olive oil, herbs, and salt.
You can find focaccia all over Italy. It’s a portable snack that’s eaten all day long. Depending on where you are in Italy, the focaccia is distinct. There are many variations of this classic Italian bread. Each variation is topped with local, regional ingredients.
Types of Focaccia
- Genova style is the traditional focaccia that you can find in many bakeries in the U.S. It’s thick and covered in olive oil with rosemary and salt.
- Tuscan style or schiacciata is thinner than Genova style and is crisper on the outside. At certain times of the year, the dough is sweetened and stuffed with wine grapes.
- Liguria style or focaccia di Recco is thinner than Genovese focaccia because it is made without yeast and covered in a white layer of stracchino cheese.
- Venice style is covered in sugar and cinnamon and topped with nuts and raisins.
- Bari style is made with durum wheat flour and topped with tomatoes and green olives.
- Imperia style or green focaccia has zucchini and chard added to the dough, giving it a green crust.
- Guastalla Calabrese focaccia is traditionally made on Easter. The dough is divided into two equal parts. One is laid out in an oiled pan, and then the stuffing is added. The stuffing is usually sausage, hard-boiled eggs, pork rinds, and butter. The second dough is stretched and placed on top to make a very filling focaccia.
- Sicilian style focaccia or Sfincione is topped with a light tomato sauce, anchovies, onions and local cheeses.
- Basilicata style focaccia or Strazzata is made with lots of black pepper and bacon pieces kneaded into the dough.
- Piscialandrea focaccia is a thick bread covered in anchovies, chopped onions, and olives.
There are so many amazing ways to make focaccia; it’s like pizza: with a million different ways to enjoy it. And, over the last few years, home bakers have been making focaccia art in their kitchens. But before you can make focaccia art, you need to know how to make focaccia.
How to Make Focaccia
Focaccia is easy to make and only needs about an hour of rising time. Unlike pizza that can be made in a round or rectangle, focaccia is almost always made in a rectangle pan, similar to the square pan to make Detroit-style pizza.
Once the dough has proofed and is in the pan, you want to use your fingers to make indentations in the dough. These indentations are a signature of the focaccia bread and hold the key ingredient, olive oil.
You will want to use quality olive oil for the best focaccia experience. After the dough is laid out, you can use a pastry brush to spread the olive oil.
To make focaccia, you will need:
- 1 1/3 cup warm water (110°F)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
The first step is to combine the ⅓ cup of warm water, sugar, and yeast. Wait five minutes for the yeast to activate. It will be bubbly. Then, combine the flour and the rest of the water mix thoroughly. If you have a mixer or food processor, this makes it easy. Or you can just mix by hand.
Next, let the dough rise for between one hour. It should double in size. Transfer the dough to a rectangular baking dish. Once stretched out, use your fingers to make deep indentations in the dough.
Brush on olive oil. Sprinkle salt and rosemary. Bake it at 400° for 20 minutes. Serve with another drizzle of olive oil or dipping sauce.
You can add other toppings like:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Green or black olives
- Oregano or Basil
- Roasted or fresh garlic
- Parmesano Reggiano
How to Store Focaccia
Like most bread, focaccia is best eaten the same day it’s made. Because of the heavy amount of olive oil, it can last a bit longer than other fresh bread if stored properly.
Seal it in a Ziploc or reusable silicone bag, and it should last for five to seven days. Or wrap in foil and then in a bag to keep in the freezer for up to one month.
How to Make Focaccia Art
Focaccia is typically a fairly simple bread enjoyed by the masses. However, recently we have seen some fun ways to make focaccia art.
Home bakers are tapping into their creative side and using the focaccia bread as a canvas for creating designs, landscapes, and even recreating famous paintings using a variety of tasty ingredients.
We love this movement. It’s fun and delicious. To make focaccia art, you will need to follow the regular focaccia bread recipe, and before baking, use a variety of toppings to create a picture.
We love using red onions, colorful bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini flowers, asparagus, and any other vegetable that you can use as a color to make a design. If you are looking for some inspiration, check out this focaccia art kit to get you started.
We love this movement. We think home chefs and bakers are artists, and we love combining these two creative sides to make edible art like focaccia art. We hope this movement keeps going so we can continue to appreciate this whimsical side of this classic Italian bread.
Have you tried making focaccia? Or have you tried your hand at making focaccia art?