Warm Milk Focaccia
Focaccia is a yeast-leavened flat (yet thick and pillowy) Italian bread, originally from Liguria, where it is known as fugassa.
It may be sweet or savoury, sprinkled with herbs and a little salt; with thinly sliced spring onions and olive oil or with a thin layer of either potatoes or tomatoes. Served for breakfast with butter and jam, alongside a meal or as stuffed with meats, salads, or cheese as a sandwich, focaccia is now eaten all over Italy. In Tuscany, a grape harvest topping is rosemary and grapes, baking to nearly jam-like in the oven.
While traditionally made with water, this modern version gives a sweeter and more tender result. It's the perfect sustaining snack for the still-cool month of February—if you can make it in a wood-burning oven, it is even better!
1 focaccia for 6-8 servings
4 - 5 hours
For the yeast starter:
100 ml warm milk
100 g Italian type 00 flour
10 g active dry yeast
For the dough:
250 ml milk + some for brushing the focaccia
400 g Italian type 0 flour
20 g extra virgin olive oil
10 g salt
First, prepare the yeast starter: mix the ingredients in a bowl, leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it doubles in volume.
Once the yeast starter has doubled, make the dough: put the warm milk and flour in a bowl, add the yeast starter and start to knead, then add the salt and oil and work until it forms a smooth dough. Leave to rise in a floured bowl for at least 2-3 hours or until it doubles in volume.
Take the dough, place in a slightly oiled baking tray, and use your fingers to poke dents like dimples all over the surface of the dough. Then brush with milk, bake for about 25 minutes in a pre-heated fan-assisted oven at 180°C.
Leave the warm milk focaccia to cool slightly before cutting into servings.