I had a beyond amazing experience with focaccia in the Trastevere section of Rome a few years back. My good friend and I were just wandering, as one usually does in Rome; the meandering streets intertwine and using a map can often times be taxing and besides I prefer to get lost in the history and astounding beauty of this city. We strolled a bit and stumbled across a sort of ‘hole-in-the wall’ bakery that was known for their biscotti and focaccia. I asked for a few inches (using hand gestures that is), the hardy Italian women cut through the thick bread, wrapped it in parchment paper and put it into a bag. I opened it a few minutes later only to be greeted with the fluffiest, most aromatic bread that I have ever tasted. It was smothered in olive oil, rosemary with bits of green olives baked inside and finished with a sprinkling of kosher salt. I could only be so lucky to recreate this amazing experience.
I attempted to recreate that amazing slice of heaven that I experienced in Rome. I followed this recipe that couldn't have been easier. Up until a few weeks ago, I feared using any recipe that involved yeast - let's just say I had a bad experience, but since my english muffins turned out so well, I decided to have another try. The result was quite amazing. The interior was light and fluffy and the outside was slightly crispy with a tasty aroma of rosemary and olive oil. With the bread still slightly warm, I placed handmade mozzarella from Caputo's here in Brooklyn (if you are ever in the area, you have to go), tomato and basil and enjoyed a caprese sandwich for a lovely Saturday afternoon lunch.
A Few Things: I kneaded the dough for about fifteen minutes, it's hard work, but the end result is fluffier bread. Also, after I let the dough raise for over an hour, I kneaded it for a few more minutes than let it rise again over night. The result was everything that I could have hoped for and more.