Tuscan Black Pepper Focaccia

Foccacia is traditional Italian flat bread. You could serve it plain as a splendid accompaniment for salads. This bread can be topped with herbs, onions, anchovies, tomatoes, Italian ham, some favorite fillings or almost anything you like.


2 tablespoons dry yeast or 1 oz./30 g fresh yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
extra oil for bowl and pan


  • Combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl. Set aside for about 10 minutes to allow yeast to dissolve and proof.
  • In a large bowl heap flour in a mound and make a well in the middle. Gradually add yeast mixture incorporating flour with a fork using a circular motion until dough is formed.
  • Flour work surface and knead dough on it for about 10 minutes, adding flour if needed until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Lightly oil a large bowl and place dough in the bowl to rise covered tightly for about 1-1/2 hours.
  • Brush 12"  tart pan with oil. Punch down the risen dough. Roll  dough into round shape about 1/2" to 3/4" thick. Transfer the dough to the pan, cover and let rise until doubled.
  • Preheat oven to 400º F (200º C).
  • Using your fingertips make shallow indentations all over the dough. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and rosemary.
  • Bake focaccia for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. It should come out slightly moist and chewy.

Substitute 1 cup whole wheat flour or semolina for 1 cup of the all purpose flour for added body and flavor

Real Cooking

Did You Know?
It must be stated that the custom of leavening the dough for bread by the addition of a ferment was not universally adopted amongst the ancients. For this reason, as the dough without leaven could only produce a heavy and indigestible bread, they were careful, in order to secure their loaves being thoroughly cooked, to make them very thin. These loaves served as plates for cutting up the other food upon, and when they thus became saturated with the sauce and gravy they were eaten as cakes. The use of the tourteaux (small crusty loaves), which were at first called tranchoirs and subsequently tailloirs, remained long in fashion even at the most splendid banquets. Thus, in 1336, the Dauphin of Vienna, Humbert II., had, besides the small white bread, four small loaves to serve as tranchoirs at table. The "Ménagier de Paris" mentions "des pains de tranchouers half a foot in diameter, and four fingers deep," and Froissart the historian also speaks of tailloirs.

It would be difficult to point out the exact period at which leavening bread was adopted in Europe, but we can assert that in the Middle Ages it was anything but general. Yeast, which, according to Pliny, was already known to the Gauls, was reserved for pastry, and it was only at the end of the sixteenth century that the bakers of Paris used it for bread.