Focaccia – bread like no other

Focaccia – Bread like No Other

Dubbed the early “modern pizza”, Focaccia is a form of flatbread popular in Italy and abroad. The taste of this bread is plain, and is usually flavored with the addition of toppings. Focaccia recipes range from savory to sweet and preparation may be simple or complex. It is basically baked with olive, herbs and cheese. During the baking process, it is punctured to relieve bubbling on the surface of the bread. This gives the distinct “flat” look to the bread. Moisture is preserved with the use of olive oil, spread over the bread.

The history of Focaccia bread goes a long way back, and was believed to have originated during the times of ancient Greece or Etruscans. Historically, Focaccia was unleavened (made without yeast) but rises slightly in the right climate during those days. This characteristic sheds light on its origin, allowing historians to speculate that the bread was first created by the people of inland Mediterranean. It is interesting to note that although flat unleavened bread has often been a staple for people in Middle East during earlier days, the recipe for Focaccia was very much unknown in the region. It is therefore quite impossible to identify a particular culture responsible for the making of the first Focaccia bread.

The name Focaccia is derived from the Latin word “focacius” which means fireplace. The name befits the bread because during Roman times, Focaccia was cooked in the ashes of fire and not in a tray above the fire. When examined, the history of Focaccia bread reveals that the bread was used for various purposes. The bread is famously associated with celebrations such as Christmas Eve and Epiphany.

Today, there have been many versions of this bread found in different parts of the world. For example, Focaccia is called fouaisse in Burgundy, known as fougasse in France and identified as fugazza in Argentina. The widespread popularity and delightful taste of this bread makes the history of Focaccia bread worth knowing.

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