Taggiasca Olive Focaccini

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I usually make focaccia of some type at least once a week. I often make it for our farmhouse guests to snack on while they sit around the pool with drinks in the afternoon, and my also husband likes to have it on hand to snack on when he is busy working around the property. Focaccia is a very easy bread for novice bakers to make and is so versatile, you could make it differently every time you bake it and never run out of new ideas! I am a huge olive fan, but am quite picky about the olives I buy. I generally prefer black olives, but never buy those flavorless canned ones. Kalamata olives are good, but I am presently a huge fan of Taggiasca olives from Liguria. I buy them pitted in olive oil in jars, and will use them in everything from my morning eggs, to my pasta sauces, or thrown into a sausage bake or meat braises. Taggiasca olives are small, fairly firm to the bite, and have a mild yet fruity flavor. If you cannot find Taggiasca olives, Kalamata, or any other flavorful black olive will work just fine in this recipe.

These small, round focaccia, or focaccini, are great to serve cut into wedges with meals, or can be sliced in half and be used to make delicious sandwiches. You can play around with how thick you would like them to be when you are shaping them, just remember the smaller the circle, the thicker the focaccia will be. For sandwiches, I’d keep the rounds to about 7 inches.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2014

Taggiasca Olive Focaccini

Ingredients:

  • 5 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Cup White Wine
  • 1 1/2 Cups Warm Water (Approximately)
  • 1 Jar Taggiasca Olives, Drained (About 1 1/2 Cups Pitted, Coarsely Chopped Olives)

Topping:

  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Mix together 4 1/2 cups of the flour, 2 tablespoons of oil, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.
  2. Add the wine, and then just enough warm water along with the olives to bring the mixture together into a shaggy ball.
  3. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured counter, and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.
Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant, adding a little additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking.
  4. Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.
  5. Roll the ball around in the oil, ensuring the sides of the bowl, and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.
  6. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise. (I cover mine with a kitchen towel on top of the plastic wrap and sit it on a large sunny windowsill.)
  7. 
Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.
  8. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper that has been lightly brushed with olive oil.
  9. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll each into a round disc.
  10. Use your fingers to stretch each disc into a 7 to 8 inch circle and place two circles on each baking sheet.
  11. Cover the dough circles with a clean kitchen towel and let rest while the oven heats.
  12. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  13. Use your fingertips to create dimples across the top of each focaccini, then drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and sprinkle with some coarse sea salt.
  14. Bake the focaccini until they are golden brown and cooked through, about 18 to 20 minutes (internal temperature of 190 degrees F.)
  15. Allow to cool to room temperature, then enjoy!