These mini focacce go perfectly well with Italian starters, such as cheese, cold cuts and much more. One of my favorites is homemade pancetta – the Italian version of bacon. My parents made the piece that you can see below. It has been cured with salt and then covered with spicy ground red pepper. So tasty!! We use it for carbonara (the pasta dish made with bacon, eggs and cheese), or we eat it like that with bread. Then you can also see another one of my favorites: the salame felino. If you enjoy eating sausages made of pork, this one here is a must-try! It’s one out of many other extraordinary specialties of the Parma region.
Now imagine the smell of freshly baked bread, combined with the aroma of Italian antipasti… And if you want to go even further to more intense flavors, try to slice the focaccia like a sandwich, slice up the most tasty tomato that you can find at the market or store..or maybe even in your own garden..lay the slices on one half, sprinkle with a little salt, add oregano or fresh basil leaves, and sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil. So simple, isn’t it? It doesn’t even sound like anything special. But I can promise you, it will blow you away! And I’m not exaggerating.
I know that making your own bread takes some time. Well, mostly the part where the dough has to rise; the rest is very simple. But you will be rewarded later on! And if you want, you can make more of it ahead and freeze one part of it. You can always reheat it in the oven for a few minutes and it will taste as great. I know I keep repeating myself, but it’s really not about how elaborated a meal is. We can eat healthy and well even by combining a very few things such as tomatoes, herbs and olive oil. And often, it’s exactly those simple meals that taste best, and keep you healthy too!
Before I keep writing about how tasty all this is, I think it’s really time for me to go make a sandwich like that for myself, right now.. I even volunteer to skip the beans pasta dish that I had planned for today ;)
500g / 17½oz of all-purpose flour
15g / 1tbsp of fresh yeast or 5g / 1tsp of dry yeast
1½ tsp of salt
5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp of sugar
300ml / 10oz of lukewarm water
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Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil.
Mix 1/3 of the lukewarm (!) water with the yeast and sugar. Make sure that the water is not hot, and that the yeast has completely dissolved.
Then stir into the flour mix. Add the remaining water.
Knead for a few minutes until you get a smooth dough. Add a little more flour if too wet, or more water if too dry.
Sprinkle with a little flour, cover and let it rest in a warm place for about 1h.
Preheat the oven at 220°C / 425°F.
Place the dough on previously flour sprinkled (wood) surface. Make 6 – 8 small balls or simply divide the dough into 2 big balls, if you prefer 2 big focaccia breads.
Place each ball on a baking pan (either layered with baking paper or greased with oil). Press and shape each one into a circle.
Let them rise again for about 15 min.
Press gently little holes with your fingers. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano to taste.
Bake for about 20 min.
Prep Time: 1¾h
Serves: 2 big focacce or 6-8 small ones