Pizza always ranks highly as a favorite among many, and its origins do come from Italy, but there’s another dish that’s very similar but not as well known: focaccia. The dish actually predates pizza by 2,000 years, and with its ingredients, it’s considered a cross between bread and pizza bread — and it’s just as delicious! Today we’re bringing this focaccia recipe from our favorite Puglia cooking vacation.
Many regions in Italy have their own versions of this tasty dish, which can be an antipasto, or used as a bread in sandwiches. But depending on where it’s made, and who’s making it, the flavorings vary too; it can be savory, or it can be sweet depending on the ingredients used. In some places it’s thin, like a flatbread; but in most of Italy you’ll find it thicker like a bread. Traditionally speaking too, it’s finished by drizzling olive oil all over the top in order to keep the bread moist.
This particular recipe comes from Chef Chiara of our Culinary Adventure in Puglia cooking vacation.
Prep time: 150 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Cook method: Bake
- 600 grams (about 1 1/3 lb) Durum wheat flour
- 400 grams (about 13.5 oz) Water
- 100 grams (about 3.5 oz) Yeast
- 12 grams (just under 1/2 oz) Salt
- 200 grams (about 7 oz) Tomatoes, halved
- Extra virgin olive oil to taste
- Oregano, dried to taste
- Sea salt to taste
1. First, make the dough. Start by putting all of the flour on a bread board; to the flour, add 300 grams of water (just over 10 oz) as well as the yeast salt. Knead it all together.
2. When the dough is well kneaded, add the remaining water and knead for another few minutes. Put it in a bowl, cover with a cloth, and leave to proof for about 2 hours.
3. Brush a round (40 centimeters in diameter) baking tray well with extra virgin olive oil. Place the proofed dough on the tray and spread it out with your fingers and hands.
4. Cover with the tomatoes, sprinkle with crumbled dried oregano and sea salt, and then drizzle with an abundance of olive oil. Allow it to rest for 30 minutes and bake in a 220°C (425°F) oven for 30 minutes.
To learn this dish firsthand from Chef Chiara or one of her family members, as well as how the abundance of produce is used in Puglia cooking, A Culinary Adventure in Puglia includes 5 hands-on cooking classes in a charming masseria. The cooking vacation also features some wonderful producer visits to experience the diverse and rich cuisine of the area, from pasta and olive oil, to cheese and salami!
By Liz Hall
Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best cooking vacations.