Jamie Oliver may be from Merry Olde England, but he loves Italian food. In fact, he loves Italian food so much that he has not one, but two cookbooks covering the topic: Jamie’s Italy, and Jamie Cooks Italy. Oliver often posts about his Italian mentor and friend Gennaro Contaldo, a masterful chef who taught Oliver about cooking Italian food, and the two of them just posted a video featuring a recipe for focaccia that they created together. Not only does it look super easy to make, they also have a ton of fun creating it, so much so that we’re convinced this is the next baking project everyone needs to take on.
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Focaccia is a chewy, airy Italian bread enriched with olive oil. It can have different add-ins like sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, and olives, or be made plain. It’s just as good on its own as it is served with a seasoned dipping oil or as a side to pasta with a sauce so good, you want to drag a slice of focaccia through the bowl when you’re done.
To make Oliver and Contaldo’s basic focaccia recipe, you’ll need just a handful of basic ingredients: yeast, flour (strong flour, or bread flour, is recommended), water, salt, and olive oil.
The yeast is mixed with warm water, then added to the flour, salt, and olive oil, and everything is mixed together until a sticky dough is formed. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth. Then, the dough rises for about 40 minutes, until it’s stretchy and the gluten has relaxed.
To shape the dough, you simply add it to a baking dish sprinkled with semolina or polenta, then drizzle it with olive oil and dimple it all over with your fingers.
This is when you can add your other ingredients. Oliver uses purple potatoes, red-skinned potatoes, gorgonzola cheese, and thyme. Contaldo goes with a classic combo of basil and tomato. Then, the focaccia rises yet again, before being baked in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.
The result? An Italian flatbread that’s fluffy, light, and spongy (in a delicous, soaks-up-sauce kind of way), golden brown and slicked with olive oil, and ready to be devoured.
Once you master the basic focaccia dough recipe, you can experiment with the flavors. Contaldo’s flavor recommendations? Onions, potato, cheese, rosemary, tomato, thyme, garlic, and more. The options are as endless as our cravings for focaccia!
Before you go, check out our gallery below:
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