Flour, water, salt and yeast: just four basic ingredients for one of the most eclectic bread products.
The focaccia (from the Latin focus ‘hearth’) is like a blank canvas to be coloured, enriched, transformed, simply following one’s fancy, according to the territory or the seasons.
From Genoese to Bari, each with its own recognisable characteristics, the focaccia, high or low, soft or firm, varies from one region to another, telling the story of Italy and its peculiarities.
Andrea’s rustic version is filled with simple and tasty ingredients, it is soft, it is eaten warm, it is shared. Fresh out of the oven, it is fragrant, colourful and high: a cloud of flavour that invites more than one taste.
Quickly mix the flour, water and malt in a bowl until all the ingredients are combined. Cover with a cloth and leave the dough in the oven with only the light on for 30 minutes. Add the salt and the yeast dissolved in a little water, continuing to knead until the salt is also dissolved. Let it rest for a couple more minutes, turn it out onto the pastry board and knead it into a perfectly smooth loaf.
Place the dough in a well-oiled container, cover and leave to rest at a temperature of 20-28 degrees if possible for one hour or until the dough has almost doubled in size.
Transfer the dough onto the work surface, break it in half, flatten it slightly with your hands and shape it into a loaf. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes, place it in the previously oiled pans, sprinkle it with a little oil and spread it out by pressing with your fingertips and forming grooves, trying to cover the entire surface.
Let it rest for at least 10 minutes before adding the seasonings (cherry tomatoes, olives, red onion, etc.), pushing them into the dough with your fingers.
Let it rest 50 minutes or until the focaccia has almost doubled in volume.
Preheat the static oven to 300 degrees (without ventilation), place the pans on the baking stone and bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes.
After baking, take the buns out of the oven, remove them with a spatula, place them on a wire rack and make sure the underside is cooked and crispy. If not, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, leave to cool on a wire rack and enjoy your creations.