Focaccia--difference from pizza, and memories about it
- Rita Tiefert
I'm writing an article about focaccia and have come across several opinions on the difference between true focaccia and pizza bread. What do you think the difference is?
Also, if you enjoy making focaccia or have good memories associated with it, please feel free to email me. I am hoping to talk with people who have Italian heritage and can tell me about focaccia's place on their family tables or in their family businesses. I'd like to include some personal quotes in the article.
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. My mother used to take me to a bakery on Avenue U to buy "pizza." That was before pizza as we now think of it was a popular fast food item (that happened when I was about twellve, so I guess I'm giving away my age here). The pizza she bought me at the bakery was a lot more like what we call focaccia now . . . it was a thick crusty bread, with a very, very light schmear of tomato paste on top, and it was sold in squares. Not the most exciting recollection in the world, but one I hold dear.
Real focaccia has LOTS of high quality olive oil in it. LOTS. It's not at all like pizza dough. That's the main difference in my household. Some people insist on letting it rise the last time in the refrigerator, too.
Rita- I dont have a long or very interesting story but back in the 60's my Grandfather, who's family were bakers years before that, would sometimes bake Italian bread around the holidays. He would take some of the dough from the bread and flatten it into a pizza shape. He then would cover the top with much chopped fresh garlic, rosemary, olive oil and salt and pepper. He was a great guy and loved to share good things with those he loved, in fact even those he didnt know well. He would get a kick out of watching you really enjoy something he made. And my Grandmother did as well. He never called it Focaccia, just "pizza"! But he was Sicilian and dialects were different. Call it Pizza, call it Garlic bread, Focaccia, or whatever, all I can say is..."A Rose by any other name.....You can imagine my amusement when just a few years later, Foccacia became all the rage!
The difference is that focaccia actually has tons of olive oil IN the original dough, not just drizzled on top. Italian pizza often has olive oil drizzled on top of it, and tends to not be as overladen as American pizza ... but its pizza still....