Thursday, May 2, 2013

Homemade focaccia

 Confession time: I find men who cook extremely sexy. There, I said it. There's something so wonderful and special about a man who can whip up a breakfast in bed (pancakes, please!) or a delicious diner that welcomes me home after a long day of work.
Unfortunately, there is no such man in my life right now, but lucky enough, I still have my brother to discuss the cooking techniques and trade recipes with. When I visited him in Brno last weekend, I used the opportunity to raid his recipe books & magazines collection (as I always do) and to take a few gems home with me (I will give them back, I promise. Some day). I was especially excited about two Emanuele Ridi's cookbooks, since I'm slowly carving my path through Italian kitchen and the whole pasta making business.

Emanuele is an Italian chef living in Czech republic, running a restaurant, taping a successful TV show and writing one amazing cookbook after another. He may also be the most adorable chef I've ever seen, with the cutest accent and the best stories from his beloved grandparents who taught him everything about cooking. Most of his recipes are family heirlooms and I can only imagine how fun it will be to work my way through all those mouthwatering concoctions. And since I am tempted to try pretty much every single one of the recipes, I decided I might as well start on the page 1, with the basic focaccia

I am a bread lover, there's no need to deny it. The idea of a life without carbs is simply inconceivable to me, and I believe there are few food-related things as satisfying as tearing off a chunk of freshly baked, still warm bread, and devouring it right on spot (very glamorous, I know). And of course, homemade breads are the best, this focaccia being the proof.

This is really the basic, the most simple recipe. I'm planning on experimenting with various flavors and combinations (garlic, olives, rosemary, you name it), and I'll be sure to share my best finds with you. In the meantime, I'm going to savor every last bit of this salty perfection, and I strongly urge you to do the same. You'll thank me later. 

(Adapted from Emanuele Ridi's cookbook S Italem v kuchyni - roughly translated as Cooking with the Italian)

You'll need:
* 250g smooth flour (also called Bohemian) - you can use bread flour, too
* 1 tsp salt
* 15g active dry yeast
* 200ml lukewarm water 
* olive oil
* coarse salt
* dried basil

1. Pour the water in a large bowl. Crumble the yeast in the water and stir gently, until it dissolves completely.
2. Blend flour with 1 tsp salt. Sift 1 tbsp flour in the yeast water and blend well (Emanuele is a big proponent of doing all with your own hands, but I'd rather stick to my robot. It's up to you which technique you prefer). 
3. Slowly sift in the rest of the flour and mix well until you get a smooth, but still sticky dough.
4. Cover the bowl with clean dishcloth and let the dough rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes. It should double its volume.
5. Once the dough is risen, preheat the oven to 220°C.
6. Flip the dough over on a floured surface. Dust with more flour and knead gently with your hands for 30 seconds. 
7. Cut the dough in two equal parts and with your fingers, pull and flatten them until they're about 2cm thick (see the picture below).
8. Pour a generous dose of olive oil on the dough and spread it with your fingers. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Use your fingers and knuckles to work the oil and salt into the dough, by making dimples in it. In the end, sprinkle with dried basil. 
9. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Once baked, focaccia has a lovely golden brown color.
10. Transfer to a rack and let cool down (if you are able to be that patient!).
11. Serve with a small bowl of seasoned olive oil or a piece of soft cheese. Or just devour as it is.

Bon appétit, or rather Buon appetito!

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  1. Looks super yummy doll, love making bread of all kinds, it's relaxing and therapeutic sometimes!! Have a sweet day xx

  2. you make this look so easy! i love warm fresh bread.

    a man that can cook, dance, sing, or make me laugh is sexy!

    $500 Mother's Day Giveaway!

  3. Oh, this looks so good! I like focaccia with rosemary and seasalt and now I want to run out and buy some (no time to bake today)... Yes, a man who can cook is definitely very sexy ;-) xo

  4. I'm a bread lover too. This recipe is good!


  5. Mmmmm!! Love focaccia!! You're so talented!

  6. Oh yes Pancakes are perfect :) The focaccia looks delicious!

  7. Just lovely! =)
    personal style and fashion musings of a LA fashion lawyer living life in the fab lane!

  8. Yum yum yum! I made foccacia a few years back at it was so good and easy, I can't believe I haven't made it since! Thanks for the reminder :)

    My recipe is from William's Sonoma Essentials of Baking- you should definitely check it out! It's such a great range of recipes, and amazing mouthwatering pictures :)

  9. Ivana, it looks really mouthwatering! Yummy indeed! Congrats dear! Kisses! xo

  10. this looks delicious. there's a cafe near my office that makes really great focaccia and i always get some with my soup! :) love your tea towels.

  11. Looks yummy. Very tempted to try this.

  12. Oooo...this looks yummy! I just pinned it!
    Jeans and a Teacup

  13. Gnammmmmm! <3
    Stupendo il tuo blog, mi piace tanto :)
    ti va di seguirci a vicenda? Mi trovi qui:
    Francesca di

  14. This looks so yummy! I might just have to make this! And I agree with you about men who can cook. It's one of the things I appreciate so much about my significant other.

  15. Hi sweetheart, thanks for all your wonderful words over at mine, you have a heart of gold. Its so great that both you and your brother share a passion for cooking. Its good bonding time too. I have never tried making bread before (I've been a little intimidated of using yeast) but your focaccia looks too irresistible! Yum!! Happy Friday Doll!

  16. That looks delicious! I feel that way about people that can cook. It's such an awesome thing! I'm kind of...not that great at cooking, but hopefully I'll be able to remedy that this summer, since I'll be entirely responsible for feeding myself. (eep!) Have a good day!


  17. That bread looks really, really good!

    Would you like to follow each other?

    Sophisticated Lace

  18. Ivana, you have an exemplary brother! I have no such man in my life either. HAHAHA I continue to pray for that. I LOVE focaccia bread. I love it so, I could eat it alone with nothing else. Thanks so much for this recipe doll. It looks really good! You're talented like your brother. You should have a tv show too. You're always putting great things together :)

  19. Can I come over for a slice of carb? I'll bring the wine! Hope all is well with you Ivana, sending lots of good energy your way



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