NEW YORk’S FINEST CHEF BRUNO
Chef Bruno reveals the secrets of Old-Country focaccia.
By Chef Santo Bruno
Chef Bruno samples his focaccia bread
with Christopher Ferrara.
Hello, my readers! I thought I’d talk to you this month about focac- cia bread. As you probably know,
every restaurant makes focaccia bread differently. And people have been making some
version of focaccia bread since ancient times.
In modern times, most people cover a thick crust
with pizza sauce and add cheese, such as Romano,
along with some oregano and olive oil. They bake it in
the oven until it is cooked, then cut it into small slices and
serve. People think this is the real deal. But they’re wrong.
With this month’s recipe, I’m going to reveal to you how we
make focaccia bread in the Old Country—that’s right, you got
it: Italy! We sometimes add other spices and herbs before we
cook the bread, and we may even top it with Kalamata olives,
sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic. Now doesn’t that sound
delicious? Of course, there are many ways to make authentic
focaccia bread, but, for starters, I’ll share with you a more
traditional and basic recipe. Enjoy, my friends!
12 Kalamata olives, halved
7 oz. Romano cheese, cubed
½ tbs. fennel seeds, minced
1 tsp. salt
Mix the yeast with sugar and 8 tbsp. of water. Ferment in a
warm place for 15 minutes. Mix the flour, salt and 1 tbsp. of
oil. Now add the yeast mixture and remaining water. Knead
the dough until it’s smooth (approximately 4 minutes). Divide
the dough into two equal portions, forming ½”-thick circles.
Now put one circle on a cookie sheet and scatter the cheese,
olives and some fennel seeds evenly.
Place the second circle on top and squeeze the edges together
to seal it closed and to prevent leaking while cooking. Use a
sharp knife to make a few slits on top and brush with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and fennel seeds
on top. Let rise for 20 to 30 minutes.
Bake in a preheated oven at 400° for 30 minutes or until
golden brown. Serve immediately.