Focaccia Caprese

Focaccia Caprese1

We knead to bake ‘  – a bread baking group started by Aparna has entered it’s second year. Though I couldnt do all the 12 breads last year, it was a great learning experience for me. Thanks Aparna for starting this wonderful group . Last month we could bake the bread of our choice. I chose Focaccia Caprese which was one of the breads I had missed earlier .

 Focaccia is a type of flatbread from Italy, thought to have originated in ancient Greece but now associated with the north eastern part of Italy. Today however, it is a flatbread that is found all over Italy and baked in a variety of ways.  The Focaccia is usually served either as a light snack, can be made into sandwiches or be served with a soup or salad to make a meal.

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A lot of people feel that the Focaccia is not much different from the Pizza and even go as far thinking it is a kind of square shaped Pizza! However, the Focaccia is different from the Pizza in more than just shape. Traditionally, Focaccia has the topping ingredients kneaded into the dough while Pizza has it on top of the dough. Traditionally, an Italian Pizza crust is on the thinner side, rarely more than 1/2″ thick whereas a Focaccia is at least about 3/4″ thick. Focaccia therefore, tends to be “spongier” and softer whereas a Pizza is crisper.

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A lot of oil into the Focaccia dough after which it is shaped and then more oil is brushed/ drizzled on whereas in a Pizza, oil is not kneaded into the dough and only used on top. Also, Focaccia maybe served warm or cold (at room temperature) but a Pizza is always served hot and never cold. In the old days, Focaccia rarely had any toppings except oil and herbs (and garlic as well) for flavour though this has changed.

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Focaccia Caprese is nothing but a basic Focaccia dough topped Caprese style. “Caprese” refers to something that comes from or is in the style of Capri, an island off the Italian coast near Naples. The topping of the Focaccia Caprese is sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, in addition to the usual olive oil and herbs that are typically used in this flatbread. Though it is fresh mozzarella that is the best in this Focaccia, if one cannot find it  you can also use any other “melty” cheese if you have no choice.

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I had tried a few recipes on Focaccia before, but this one had the softest texture. The herbed oil topping imparts a distinct flavour to the bread.  And I loved the mild spiciness from the red chilly flakes.

Here is the step by step pictures. You can find the full recipe at the end of the post.

FOR THE HERBED OIL :      Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till required.

step2

FOR THE DOUGH :

For the dough mix all the ingredients to make a soft dough and place in a well oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take about an hour.

step1

Then divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion out evenly into approximately 5” by 7”. Transfer the dough to the baking tins. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough creating evenly spaced “dimples” in it. Generously brush the surface with oil.

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Bake at 210C (410F) for about 18 to 20 minutes till it is almost done and is beginning to turn golden brown. Take the Focaccia out. Lightly drizzle some of the Herbed Oil over the Focaccia/ and then evenly arrange some slices of mozzarella over the bread, leaving very little space between them. Drizzle some more Herbed Oil over the topping and return the bread to the oven. Bake the Focaccia for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has just melted.

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FOCACCIA CAPRESE

FOCACCIA CAPRESE

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough:

  •  Instant yeast -2 tsp
  •  Sugar – 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Bread flour OR all purpose flour -3 1/2 cups
  •  Salt – 1 tsp
  •  Oil (preferably olive oil) – 1/4 cup
  •  Warm water – 1 to 1 1/2 cups
  • A little more olive oil for brushing dough

For the Topping:

  • Large tomatoes, sliced thin – 4-5
  •  Mozzarella cheese , grated (or any other melty cheese ) – 1 cup
  •  Fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips – 1/2 cup

For the Herbed Oil:

  •  Olive oil – 1/4 cup
  •  Dried oregano – 1 tsp
  • Dried basil – 1 tsp
  •  Red chilli flakes – 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ( I used 1/4 tsp)
  •  Garlic paste – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnishing

 

METHOD 

FOR THE HERBED OIL :      Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till required.

FOR THE DOUGH :

The dough can be mixed and kneaded by hand or machine. Put the yeast, sugar flour, salt and oil in the bowl of the processor and pulse a couple of times to mix well. Then add 1 cup of warm water (and as much more as you need) and knead until you have a soft elastic dough that is just short of sticky.

Remove the dough from the processor bowl, shape into a round and place in a well oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take about an hour.

You can make this as 2 medium sized Focaccia or 4 smaller ones like I did. For making 4 Focaccia, then divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion out (or press out) evenly into approximately 5” by 7”. It alright if it’s an odd shape because Focaccia is really a “rustic” bread.

Transfer the dough to the baking tins. The dough will shrink a little. Use your fingers and push it out a bit making sure it’s evenly thick throughout. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough creating evenly spaced “dimples” in it. Generously brush the surface with oil.

Bake at 210C (410F) for about 18 to 20 minutes till it is almost done and is beginning to turn golden brown. Take the Focaccia out and turn up the heat of your oven to 230C (450F).

Lightly drizzle some of the Herbed Oil over the Focaccia and then evenly arrange some slices of mozzarella over the bread, leaving very little space between them. Arrange the tomato slices over this and a little sprinkle the chopped basil over this. The topping should cover most of the surface of the bread.

Drizzle some more Herbed Oil over the topping and return the bread to the oven. Bake the Focaccia for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has just melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Cut the Focaccia into slices and serve while it is still hot. This recipe should serve 4 if served alone or 6 if served with a side.

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4 thoughts on “Focaccia Caprese

  1. Assalamvalekum…..Landed to your site searching for recipes with dates….in love with that date cheesecake….and this focaccia looks yum…..sent you mail….check out and reply asap….

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