Now, focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread similar in style and texture to pizza; in some places, it is called "pizza bianca". The interesting part, however, is that Focaccia started out as a side dish but over time it became part of the main dish as sandwich bread. If we go further back in time, focaccia was the only star of the show and was originally the prototype of early pizza.

Most historians believe it originated with either the Etruscans of North Central Italy before the Roman Empire was formed or in Ancient Greece at the beginning of the first millennium BC. The name focaccia is actually derived from the Roman “panis focacius,” meaning “hearth bread”.

In fact, there is evidence to suggest that Pompeii had a widespread focaccia baking and selling industry. Traditionally, focaccias were baked on a heated tile, earthenware disk or on the hearth of a fire. Like the modern focaccia, they were pierced with a knife to prevent bubbling and preserve moisture. They also used other tools to give the focaccia a pattern.

Over time different regions gave it their own spin. Liguria tweaked the original base recipe. Camogli turned them into hard biscuits while Voltri’s made an oily soft version. In Italy’s northeast, in Veneto, a traditional Easter dish consists of sweet focaccia made of eggs, sugar, and butter.

If you're an amateur baker, baking focaccia is the easiest to break the ice. Here's a great recipe for you to try.