If you’re looking for an easy, tasty way to satisfy your guests with a truly unique treat, look no further than focaccia bread. This Italian classic is the perfect accompaniment to just about any meal; not only does it bring a delightful flavor and texture to the table, but it’s incredibly simple to make. Whether you’re preparing dinner for one or feeding a whole family, this multi-functional dish is sure to please even the pickiest of palates. Today, we’ll discuss how to serve focaccia bread in all its delectable glory – from prepping ingredients and seasoning suggestions right down to serving tips. So put on your aprons and let’s get baking.
What is focaccia bread?
Focaccia bread is a type of Italian bread that is made with yeast and a strong, high-gluten flour, such as bread flour. It is baked in flat sheet pans and differs from pizza dough as it is allowed to rise after being rolled out. The dough is then dimpled by pressing fingertips into it, creating small indentations for olive oil to pool in. Focaccia can be topped with coarse salt, herbs, vegetables, or even cheese before being baked in a hot oven. It has ancient roots and is known as “panis focacius” or hearth bread in Latin. In Italy, it may also be referred to as “classica” or “pizza Genovese” and is associated with the region of Liguria, particularly Genoa. Focaccia has a rich, soft, and fluffy middle with a thin, tender crust on the top and bottom, making it a truly delightful bread to enjoy.
How is focaccia different from other bread?
Focaccia differs from other bread in several ways. Firstly, it is not flat but rather thick and fluffy, despite being referred to as “flatbread” or “Italian flat bread.” This flat terminology simply pertains to the baking pan used. Focaccia also stands out with its distinct hills and valleys on the surface, created by pressing fingertips into the risen dough before baking.
Additionally, while it can be topped with coarse salt individually, it is commonly adorned with various ingredients like rosemary, sage, olives, anchovies, roasted red peppers, and garlic. The choice of toppings often varies by region in Italy.
How to serve focaccia bread?
Focaccia bread is versatile and can be served in various ways:
- Sandwiches: Use focaccia bread as a base for sandwiches. Top with ingredients like fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Prosciutto and Arugula Sandwiches: Combine prosciutto and arugula with focaccia bread. Cut the bread into triangular shapes for easier sandwich assembly.
- Appetizer or Side Dish: Cut focaccia bread into squares and serve with soup or salad as an appetizer or side dish.
- Paired with Soup or Salad: Pair focaccia bread with tomato bisque for lunch or dinner. It can also be served alongside scrambled eggs and bacon for brunch.
- Toasted with Butter and Served with Eggs: Toast the focaccia bread until golden brown, spread with butter, and serve with eggs.
Remember that the type of bread and toppings used will influence the cooking time, so be mindful of that.
How to make focaccia bread?
Making focaccia bread at home is a simple and rewarding process. Here’s how to make your own delicious batch:
- Gather the ingredients: You’ll need flour, yeast, water, olive oil, salt, and any desired toppings.
- Mix the dough: Combine flour, yeast, water, olive oil and salt in a mixing bowl until it forms into a sticky dough.
- Knead the dough: Flour your work surface and begin kneading the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
- Let it rise: Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and let sit for about an hour to allow it to double in size.
- Dimple the dough: Transfer the dough to a baking pan, press your fingertips into it to create indentations, and add toppings as desired.
- Bake: Preheat the oven to 425°F and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve: Slice and serve the focaccia bread while still warm for maximum flavor.
Tips for serving and enjoying focaccia bread
- Serve focaccia bread warm or at room temperature for the best taste and texture.
- Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top of the freshly baked or reheated focaccia before serving.
- Experiment with different toppings, such as garlic, onions, cheese, and herbs, to find your perfect flavor combination.
- If using a pizza stone to bake your focaccia, preheat it in the oven before placing the dough on top to ensure a crispy crust.
- Focaccia bread can also be used as a base for pizza. Add your favorite toppings and bake until the cheese is melted for a unique twist on traditional pizza.
- To add an extra layer of flavor, brush the dough with garlic-infused olive oil before adding toppings and baking.
- Cut the focaccia into smaller pieces for a party platter and serve with various dips, such as hummus or marinara sauce.
With these tips in mind, you’re now ready to impress your guests with a delicious serving of homemade focaccia bread.
Tips for storing leftover focaccia bread
- Store leftover focaccia bread in an airtight container or ziplock bag at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- If you plan on storing it for longer, wrap the bread in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating.
- To reheat focaccia bread, preheat your oven to 350°F. Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes or until warmed through.
- Alternatively, you can also reheat it in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds, depending on the size of the bread and your microwave’s power.
In summary, serving focaccia bread is a simple yet versatile way to elevate any meal. Its unique texture and flavor make it stand out from other types of bread, and it can be enjoyed in various ways with different toppings. By following these tips for serving and storing leftover focaccia bread, you can enjoy this delicious dish anytime, whether as part of a meal or as a snack. So go ahead and indulge in this Italian classic – your taste buds will thank you. Keep experimenting with different toppings and serving ideas, and soon enough, you’ll become a focaccia pro.
FAQ: serve focaccia bread
What is the difference between focaccia and pizza dough?
Focaccia dough differs from pizza dough in a few key ways. Focaccias employ more yeast, resulting in a lighter and fluffier texture akin to leavened bread. Additionally, focaccia dough is typically punctured, allowing it to retain more moisture compared to pizza dough.
Do you eat focaccia with olive oil?
Yes, focaccia is typically eaten with olive oil.
What are the health benefits of focaccia bread?
Focaccia bread offers various health benefits. It provides complex carbohydrates that promote sustained energy release and aid in the regulation of blood sugar levels.
What types of cheese pair best with focaccia bread?
Provolone is amazing with focaccia! Its complex buttery, nutty flavor makes it both mild and tasty enough to be a versatile pairing option for any style of bread. Other types of cheese that pair well with focaccia include mozzarella, Parmesan, and Gorgonzola. Try them alongside olive tapenade or in combination with bruschetta!
How do you know if focaccia is proofed?
To determine if focaccia is proofed, you can check for dimpling. When the dough is dimpled and the dimples remain while the dough is bubbly, it is ready. If the dimples bounce back rapidly or the bubbles are not forming well, allow the dough to proof for a longer duration.
Beatrice Payne is an editor for Earl’s Grocery, a sandwich restaurant with a focus on real food. She has worked in the publishing industry for many years and is passionate about helping businesses communicate their message effectively. Beatrice enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and loves exploring new restaurants.