Chef and cookbook author traveled to southern Italy to figure out how to make focaccia. She shares her tricks of the trade
Unlike a good loaf of bread, which you can now get in many grocery stores, says chef Nancy Silverton, "there is only one way to get good focaccia, and that is to make it yourself." (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)
1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the dishcloth from the top of one of the focaccias and, using your fingertips, gently tap down on the focaccia with about 5 light strokes to nudge it toward the edge of the pan; it still might not reach the edges, but don't worry.
2. One at a time, push the mozzarella cubes into the focaccia dough while simultaneously pushing outward to encourage the dough toward the edge of the pan, arranging the cubes evenly over the surface of the dough and pressing them so deep they are almost flush with its surface.
3. Do the same with the olives, arranging them in circular rows between the cheese cubes and pressing them down into the dough and slightly outward.
4. Brush the surface generously with olive oil, then press the rosemary tufts into the dough. Sprinkle over the sea salt. Set the focaccia aside until it is risen and puffed around the toppings, about 30 minutes.
5. Place the focaccia on the center rack of the oven and bake until crisp and golden-brown, 30 to 40 minutes. The focaccia should have risen almost to the top of the pan, and the cheese will be crisp and browned.
6. Move the pan to the bottom of the oven and continue to bake until the bottom crust of the focaccia is deep golden and crisp to the touch, about 5 minutes more.
7. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the focaccia from the pan to a wire rack (use a fork to gently lift and slide the focaccia out of the pan, careful of any hot oil that may still be at the bottom of the pan). Brush the surface of the focaccia once more with olive oil. Set the focaccia aside to cool slightly — or as long as you can resist it.
8. Transfer the focaccia to a cutting board. Halve the focaccia using a long knife, then cut one-half into 4 wedges (don't cut the other half until you are ready to eat it).
Each slice: 213 calories; 5 grams protein; 25 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 10 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 3 mg cholesterol; 0 sugar; 470 mg sodium.
Silverton is founder of La Brea Bakery and chef and co-owner of Mozza restaurant both in Los Angeles. She is co-author of "The Mozza Cookbook," to be published in September.