When we think of focaccia, we often think of the pillowy bread that was so popular in cafés in the '80s, but there's more to focaccia than that - this classic Ligurian version is the very opposite. Thin rounds of unyeasted dough enclose the simplest of fillings, in this case stracchino cheese. Baked crisp, golden brown and molten in the middle, it's the perfect example of a dish being greater than the sum of its simple parts. Makes two focaccias.
- 400 gm bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100 ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing and drizzling
- 500 gm stracchino, broken into rough 2cm pieces (see note)
- 1Place half the flour in a bowl with a good pinch of fine salt. Add oil and 200ml water, and mix until smooth, then gradually add remaining flour, a little at a time, mixing to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, knead until smooth and elastic (4-5 minutes), then wrap in plastic wrap and stand at room temperature for 2-3 hours to rest.
- 2Preheat oven to 250C. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Roll out a ball of dough to a 30cm round, then pull and stretch it with your hands until paper thin. Place on a lightly oiled oven tray, scatter with half the cheese and season to taste. Repeat rolling and stretching with another ball of dough and place over the cheese. Pinch and crimp edges to seal, pierce holes in the top and drizzle with oil. Season with salt and bake until crisp and golden brown (7-9 minutes). Keep warm while you repeat with remaining dough and cheese. Serve hot.
Stracchino is available from specialist cheese shops such as Formaggi Ocello; if it’s unavailable substitute torn buffalo mozzarella.
Drink Suggestion: Aperol Spritz Drink suggestion by Max Allen