Focaccia Di Recco Is The Crispy, Cheesy Relative Of Italy's Famed Bread

If you've had a warm slice of Italian flatbread, also known as focaccia, then you know that this bread's magic lies in its incredible flavor and unmistakable fluffy texture. And unlike other flatbreads that are circular, focaccia has a unique shape, since it's baked in a rectangular sheet pan. Its look is distinctive too, because the dough is marked by repeated indentations, usually made with the fingertips, and it's topped with rosemary, or other herbs, flaky sea salt, and sometimes vegetables such as mushrooms or onions, as reported by The Spruce Eats

Even though focaccia is tasty in its simplest forms, there are a number of variations to change the flavor of focaccia, like sweet focaccias, with sugar or other sweeteners added to the dough. Another type of focaccia that's getting a lot of attention these days, and for good reason, is focaccia di recco. This crisp and cheesy style of focaccia is featured on the menu at Mora Italian, an Italian restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, where chef Scott Conant prepares classic dishes with a modern twist. If the likes and comments on Conant's Instagram post promising the eatery's focaccia di recco would return to the menu soon are any indication, people can't get enough of this cheesy, cracker-like bread.

What sets focaccia di recco dough apart

Although it has focaccia in the name, this bread differs from the more traditional style in texture and look of the bread. While focaccia is baked in a rectangular pan and has a fluffier, open crumb style, at first glance, cut squares of focaccia di recco resemble a cracker, with its thin crust and golden top. According to Serious Eats, the secret to stretching focaccia di recco dough thin lies with the additional olive oil in the recipe, almost two full ounces, or 50 grams, whereas King Arthur Baking calls for 25 grams in traditional focaccia.

The shapes of the pieces of bread are also quite different. Since focaccia di recco is usually baked on a round pan, the finished product can look similar to cooked thin-crust pizza dough. And while traditional focaccia gets an enhanced flavor and texture from toppings such as herbs or vegetables, according to chef Conant, the only topping focaccia di recco needs is a sprinkling of sea salt. But, the real difference is what's inside focaccia di recco.

A surprise layer of cheese

Although some focaccia bread may benefit from a dash of parmesan, cheese isn't required and only enhances focaccia's airy texture and flavor. Focaccia di recco includes a layer of soft, melted cheese that's baked right into this thin and crispy bread. As Serious Eats details, this is achieved by placing cheese between two layers of the dough, and then creating a few holes on the top layer to allow steam to escape, so the bread bakes up crispy.

And, you can't just use any type of cheese for this bread. A few of the cheeses that can be used include taleggio, which Cheese describes as soft melting cheese, but if you can't find it, brie or camembert cheeses will also work, as detailed by Giadzy. Another Italian cheese to use is stracchino cheese, and as Wisconsin Cheese details, it originated in the northern part of Italy and has a creamy, spreadable texture that also melts well enough to use on pizzas or in baked pasta dishes. No matter which cheese you use, what's important is that it has a creamy, yet melty texture. The crucial ingredient in focaccia di recco partially hinges not only on the cheesy flavor but also on the enjoyment one gets from watching the gooey cheese pull from inside the bread when it's sliced.