Baking Challenge – European Style: Italian Focaccia al Formaggio

Oh, I’m sooo late on this one… but sometimes life just gets in the way of even the best laid plans.

Anyways, I’ve finally managed to make the focaccia al formaggio or col formaggio – as it’s called in some parts of Italy. As it turns out, the recipe is real simple and real good, although I have to admit that I’m probably more one for the more puffy yeast-dough variety. However, this focaccia is perfect with a salad or a snack and I’m sure it will also be a perfect addition to any BBQ.

First off, I don’t think my focaccia al formaggio looked anything like the ones you actually get in Italy. Two reasons for this: reason no. 1 – I had a huge problem stretching the dough. Reason no. 2 – I guess, my cheese dollops were to big?!?

Secondly, I didn’t use the traditional cheese for this, which is called crescenza or stracchino – a mild, soft cow milk cheese. It’s not sold here in any regular supermarket and I didn’t have neither time nor patience to browse through specialty shops. It looks like this cheese is quite close to feta cheese as far as consistency is concerned. I just went ahead and made my own mixture of cream cheese, shredded gouda and parmesan – which was delicous by the way. Some recipes also call for pecorino So I guess it’s up to every cook/baker to choose their own cheese.

Ingredients:

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No cheese here… sorry!

250 gr. flour
125 ml water
25 ml olive oil
1 tsp salt
cheese of your choice (crescenza traditionally)
some extra oil and salt

Recipe:
Make a little mould in the flour and fill it with water, oil and salt.
Knead well.

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That’s what my dough looked like after all the kneading…

Let dough rest for about 30 minutes.
Part dough in two balls of equal size.
Take one half and stretch rather than roll dough very thinly on a cookie sheet or baking pan.
Place dollops of cheese all over the dough.
Take other half of dough and stretch it very thinly as well and place it on top of the cheesy half.
Press dough down in between the cheese balls and puncture it to allow steam to escape.
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Preheat oven as hotly as possible and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
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Cut up and serve hot!

If you make these, please let me know if you found a good way to stretch dough! Thanks a bunch.

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