It’s not a pizza! Or is it?

1 Sep

Well, I’m not so sure about that.  Maybe it’s just a flat bread.  But, isn’t pizza a kind of flat bread too? After all, what is the difference between pizza and focaccia?  Gregory Heinz, a customer at Ray’s Pizza in Greenwich Village, says that “the difference between the two is about a buck”.  Maybe you should read “Pizza It Is, and Pizza It Isn’t” by Moly O’Neil, in the October, 6 1993 edition of “The New York Times” and decide for yourself.  A few things SEEM certain though:  (1) The name of this bread appears to be derive from the Roman expression “panis focacius,” which referred to a flat loaf of bread cooked upon a hearth, over a hot stone, or under the ashes of a fire; (2) It’s much older than pizza, maybe 2,000 years older.

The original recipes have originated along the Mediterranean coast, where the air is incredibly salty, and the focacce (plural of focaccia) tended to rise on their own.  Nevertheless, the use of small amounts of yeast, or other leavening agents, are quite common these days.

I used my basic bread recipe, jumping stage 8 and flattening the dough down to about 1-1.5 cm (around 0.5 inches) thickness at stage 9.  I then spread a mixture of olive oil and rosemary over the top, waited until it doubled in size, and then baked it at high temperature for about 20 min (in fact until it reached a light brown color).  It’s important that you don’t pay much attention to shape, as focacce are rather rustic meals. As soon as I took it from the oven I once again brushed the surface with olive oil and rosemary and covered it with a generous amount of course sea salt.

Rosemary and sea salt focaccia

Rosemary and sea salt focaccia

Get some Gorgonzola cheese, some sliced salami, a bottle of a good red Italian wine (a Chianti, for example), and you are ready for a wonderful and quite simple meal.  The above focaccia was offered to some friends, along with a selection of cheeses and wines, last Saturday night.

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Italian Focaccia on Foodista

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