Focaccia di Recco

By Emiko
February 25, 2015
19 Comments


Author Notes: As legend has it, when the citizens of Recco where in hiding during the Crusades, they created this focaccia with what little they had (flour, water, olive oil, and some cheese). Today you can find this thin focaccia filled with melty cheese in every bakery, pizzeria, and restaurant in town. It can be round or rectangular, but the important thing is the dough must be as thin as possible. Using bread flour gives the dough great elasticity, which means it's easier to stretch the dough without breaking it. You can do it with all-purpose flour, but you may need to handle it more delicately. It's a pure joy to eat.Emiko

Makes: 3-4 focacce

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (200 milliliters) water
  • 1/2 cup (100 milliliters) olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 3 cups (400 grams) bread flour
  • 1 pound (500 grams) stracchino or Crescenza cheese

Directions

  1. Using a wooden spoon, mix the water, olive oil, salt, and 1 cup of flour in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour little by little, mixing with the spoon until thoroughly combined. Knead by hand in the bowl for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic (poke it; it should bounce back easily). Let rest, wrapped in plastic, in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 480º F (250º C), and grease a baking sheet or a round pizza tray with olive oil.
  3. Divide the dough into 4 even pieces and keep them under a tea towel or wrapped in plastic wrap when not in use. Roll out the dough ball initially with a rolling pin on a floured work surface, then begin stretching it carefully with your hands, using the weight of the dough to help stretch it. Get the dough as thin as you can, then transfer it to the prepared baking tray. Lay spoonfuls of the cheese over the dough. Take another piece of dough and roll and stretch again as before. Lay this layer over the cheese. With a knife, a rolling pin, or your hands, tap the edges of the dough together all along the border of the tray to trim the dough to exactly the size of the tray (see pictures for reference). Go over the edges of the focaccia again with your thumb, pressing down to seal the edges of the two layers of dough (again, see the pictures). Gather the excess dough, and roll into a ball to use for the next focaccia.
  4. Pinch the top of the dough in 5 or 6 places to create holes for steam to escape. Drizzle the top of the focaccia with a bit of oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake for 7 minutes, until lightly golden brown and the cheese has melted.
  5. While the first focaccia is in the oven, prepare the second with the remaining dough (adding the scraps from the first to the balls of dough) and bake when the first is out of the oven; I'd recommend only baking one at a time as the distribution of heat will be compromised with more than one in the oven.
  6. The dough can also be frozen (wrap it tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and then freeze.) Before using the dough, defrost overnight in the fridge or for a few hours on the counter. The dough will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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Reviews (19) Questions (0)

19 Comments

Laura G. March 5, 2018
I looked up the cheese and the internet said Fontina or Taleggio to try. I was able to get both. The dough is chillin' stay tuned.<br />
 
Author Comment
Emiko March 6, 2018
Taleggio would be a great one as it's softer, so more similar to stracchino but a stronger flavour (will be delicious, no doubt)!
 
Christine C. November 13, 2016
After visiting Recco and enjoying this delish focaccia at Vittorio's on several occasions, I searched for the cheese in the states with no luck. What I did find were several recipes (and You-Tube videos) for making the cheese at home. It's very easy to do and yields a delicious product. I've been experimenting with the bread, trying to reproduce the focaccia we had in Recco. I have not tried this recipe yet, but it looks closer to the real thing. Can't wait to try it. I encourage you to take a stab at making the cheese at home, you will be eating it on everything!!
 
btglenn October 20, 2016
This reminds me of Mexican quesadillas. Use 2 large flour tortilla, insert a soft-melting cheese in between and toast in a greased iron skillet. Flip over to toast both sides.
 
chefrockyrd October 20, 2016
Btglenn- I don't think its like a tortilla at all. Its very fine, like a strudel, flaky, crispy at the same time. I guess you could kinda sorta make it with a tortilla but it would not be focaccia di recco. Maybe if you could heat up a tortilla in a pan then rip it in half pulling it apart to make it thinner? Just make the dough and you will see.
 
Author Comment
Emiko October 21, 2016
Exactly what chefrockyrd said -- really quite unlike a tortilla. The pastry (you can click through and see the uncooked dough in the photos) is paper-thin and, as described above, flaky, and because it is baked in the oven, it has those large bubbles and pockets of air that make it also crisp. It's worth making the dough and trying it to see what we mean!
 
chefrockyrd July 24, 2015
I watched (in awe) this being made in Eataly, the food emporium in NY.<br />The dough was stretched over a large sheet pan and the edges caught on the rim to hold it, like a giant sheet. Then they dolloped the cheese on and another layer of dough went over the top, just like this recipe. They ripped the holes just where the cheese was, as I guess that determined where they would cut it into portions to sell it. Totally amazing. I too have tried to find the cheese but here in the boonies it is impossible. Buying it on line with shipping is very expensive too. Fresh mozzarella was just not the same but good anyway. thank you so much for bringing these unusual recipes to us.
 
Jessica March 24, 2015
Agreed i would love recommendations for the stracchino or Crescenza cheese as i can not find it locally in NC. I tried to recreate this dish a while back after having in a San Diego restaurant served with honeycomb on top. They also mixed the stracchino with marscapone and creamcheese - pure heaven. I tried buffalo mozzarella and it worked but not perfect.
 
jayaymeye April 2, 2015
I bought some at Whole Foods. Not sure if you have one close, but that's where I found mine...
 
Celeste D. July 16, 2015
Jessica, I went to Devanti's in Little Italy as well, and am obsessed with it now!
 
Lucia F. August 30, 2015
I did a google search for substitute and came up with Marscapone. Made it last night and loved it.
 
Meredith M. March 4, 2015
Any recommendations for cheese substitutes that are easily found in American grocery stores?
 
celliejoe March 4, 2015
I was wondering the same...<br />
 
PRST March 4, 2015
I make this in Italy in a wood burning oven. YUM. We used "00" flour.
 
Sam1148 March 3, 2015
Would their be any adjustments for OO Italian flour? <br />http://www.amazon.com/Antimo-Caputo-Italian-Superfine-00/dp/B0038ZS6PU<br />I use that for pizza and it's wonderful. Kind Arthur makes a version too. <br /><br />
 
Author Comment
Emiko March 3, 2015
I wouldn't recommend using only 00 flour because you want a flour with a high protein content so that it will be very elastic (otherwise you risk it ripping too easily as you stretch this super thin dough). King Arthur's 00 is about 8.5% protein (other brands can be all different so it's worth checking the nutrition information on the packet to check). Bakers or bread flour has a higher protein content ideal for stretching (around 12-12.5% is perfect). Many italian recipes these days use half 00 half Manitoba flour (which can have a protein content of 15-18% so it helps get that stretch). So if you're keen to use the 00 I'd try half Manitoba with it too! Hope that helps!
 
Ashley March 3, 2015
Yum! This looks very similar to one I've had at Gemma in NYC. Except there is truffle or truffle cheese. Perhaps I will try recreating it.
 
tortellini February 26, 2015
This recipe sounds lovely and simple. The dough reminds me a lot of strudel dough (austrian) which is also rolled very thin - i was always told that a newspaper could be read through it... <br />I will have to try this very soon, thanks for your great recipe, as always!
 
Author Comment
Emiko March 1, 2015
Yes! It's similar to that in that sense though a different type of dough (I have an Italian strudel recipe too and they say you should be able to "read a love letter" through the other side, romantics that they are!): https://food52.com/blog/12102-apple-strudel-strudel-di-melehttps://food52.com/blog/12102-apple-strudel-strudel-di-mele