But please, carve out an hour or so to make some focaccia. You won't regret having fresh and crispy bread to make you pine for Italy. Invite some hungry people over that have been skiing all day, and they will love you for it.
Focaccia con salvia. Focaccia con salvia. Just saying it makes me miss the soft golden light of Tuscany, the bright green gardens of sage and fennel, and the crispy, olive oil-laden rustic flatbread.
King Arthur Flour also carries an "Italian style" flour that is essentially double "0", and it is much less expensive. See Sources at the end of this post.
If you can't get your hands on some Double "0" flour, all-purpose flour is the best substitute. If you sift the flour twice, it will be similar to the talcum powder-soft, finely ground Italian import.
Focaccia con salvia
- 500 grams (1.1lb.) Double "0" flour, or all purpose flour. Sifted and measured, this is 3 level cups plus 1 almost full cup
- 1 packet of yeast, or a 25 g. cube of fresh yeast
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water (for proofing the yeast) and 1 cup warm water for the dough
- 7-8 Tbsp olive oil
- 30 sage leaves, cut into small pieces
- 1 tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher or Maldon salt flakes (you'll use 1 tsp. for the dough, and then you'll need about 1/2 tsp. more for the topping.)
- First, proof the yeast. Place a packet of yeast into a 2 cup measuring cup, add 1/2 cup of warm water, and the teaspoon of sugar. Gently stir, cover, and set aside to rest for about 15 minutes.
2. If you are using all purpose flour, sift it again. Otherwise, add the flour to a large, preferably stainless-steel bowl, and pour the yeast into the middle with 3 Tbsp. olive oil, half the sage, and 1 tsp. of salt.
3. Mix with a fork, slowly adding 1 cup of warm water to form a wet dough.
8. Let the dough rise again for another hour or so in the pan. Keep it someplace warm, such as close to the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
9. Brush the dough with more olive oil, and sprinkle it with the rest of the sage and 1/2 tsp., or more, of coarse salt. I like Maldon sea salt, which comes in big, crunchy flakes. If you are using other toppings, go ahead and distribute them evenly over the focaccia.
Market Hall Foods. Again, you are forewarned. You can find Caputo Doppio Zero flour imported from Naples ($5.25 for a 1.1 lb bag), and so much more: farro, Umbrian lentils, Maldon sea salt from England ($7.50 for an 8.5 oz. box), Venchi chocolates from Italy, spices, Marcona almonds....
California Olive Ranch Olio Nuovo is the next best thing to bringing back a first-pressed olive oil from Tuscany. Local distributor Joe Quiroz can help you get it.