I used to make bread from scratch years ago. There is nothing better than smelling fresh bread baking in the oven. 2020 is only a few days away and I have decided to add some bread baking back into my repertoire. I typically buy a Focaccia every couple of weeks from the store, but they are usually limited on toppings. Now that I will be making it myself again, I can get the toppings that I prefer.
Focaccia is a flat, spongy oven-baked Italian bread that is similar to pizza dough. It can be used as a bread by itself, as a sandwich bread or as an accompaniment to a salad or an Antipasto Platter. Like pizza, the dough is very easy to make.
Focaccia is thought to have originated with the Etruscans and is commonly found throughout the Ligurian (north-western) region of Italy. Once outside the Ligurian region it’s flavor and texture varies from the north to the south of Italy.
Like pizza, the list of toppings are endless and you can experiment with meats, vegetables, cheese, various herbs and even fruit. For this recipe, I am using roasted cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced garlic, sliced black olives and of course, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil.
I used Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast (Premium Instant Yeast with Dough Enhancers) 1/4 oz each package, approximately 4 teaspoons per packet. Typically, for a dry cake yeast you would start by placing the yeast and water into a bowl, adding a little sugar, stirring and letting it sit until it foams. This method is slightly different. This is an instant yeast. First, you do not need to add any sugar. You can use lukewarm to cool, tepid tap water (not hot/not cold). For this you can place the yeast on top of the flour. The only thing to be careful with the yeast is to make sure you don’t have clumps of yeast before you start to knead. However, if this is the first time you are making bread, you may want to place the yeast in a separate bowl, pour half of the water over it and stir to dissolve. Then add the yeast water to the flour, salt and olive oil mixture that is in your bowl. This way you will ensure there are no yeast clumps.
When you make this dough, be prepared to have a wet dough. It will be sticky, but will firm up slightly and get smooth when kneading. It is really a very supple dough and easy to work with your hands unlike some others that make more sense to use a stand mixer with a bread hook. Just two things to remember when making Focaccia. First, use a liberal amount of olive oil when kneading. Second, make sure it is even in height when you place it on the baking tray, so it bakes evenly.
Make my Garlic Roasted Tomatoes for one of the topping for this dish, but leave out the garlic if you will be adding lightly sauteed garlic instead. I also remove the skins and just use the tomato part.
Give this Focaccia recipe a try. If you love this Focaccia recipe, please leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you made it, post your wonderful images on Instagram and tag me. Don’t forget to subscribe and you will be emailed each time I post a new recipe.
An easy to make Focaccia with plenty of flavorful toppings. A light, crisp outside with a soft, tender inside.
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 packages active instant yeast (see NOTE)
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups tap water (lukewarm to cool, not hot, not cold)
- Olive oil for kneading
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium lightly sauteed garlic clove, sliced thin or finely chopped
- Roasted cherry tomatoes, flattened, skins removed
- 2.25 ounces sliced black olives, drained
- Fresh rosemary leaves
- 1-2 pinches coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
NOTE: I used Platinum Superior Baking Yeast (Premium Instant Yeast with Dough Enhancers) 1/4 oz each package, approximately 4 teaspoons
- Step 1 In a saute pan on low, lightly saute the garlic just to get it slightly soft, 1-2 minutes. Do not let it turn brown as it will cook again on top of the Focaccia. Set aside.
- Step 2 In a large bowl, add the bread flour. On top of the flour, to one side, add the instant yeast. On the other side, add the salt. Pour the olive oil around the top. Then pour in half of the water.
NOTE: Optional method to ensure no yeast clumps: Place the flour, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. In a small bowl, add the yeast, pour half of the water over it and stir to dissolve. Then add the yeast water to the flour, salt and olive oil mixture that is in your large bowl. This way you will ensure there are no yeast clumps.
- Step 3 Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. Then add the remaining water, a little at a time, until you have a soft, sticky dough and all the flour is just incorporated. You may not need all the water.
- Step 4 Oil a clean work surface. Place the dough on top of the oil and knead the dough. Continue to knead for 5 to 10 minutes or it becomes supple and smooth.
- Step 5 Place the dough into a bowl that has been rubbed with olive oil. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest on the counter until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 3 1/2 – 4 hours. Do not try to make the dough rise faster by placing it in a warm spot or a proofer. You want to build the structure (holes) by allowing it to rise slowly.
- Step 6 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then oil the top of the parchment paper.
- Step 7 Remove the dough from the bowl and place the dough on an oiled surface. Stretch the dough out to the shape of the pan. Place the dough on top of the oiled parchment paper and flatten it with your hands into a flat, even rectangle.
- Step 8 Brush the top of the dough with extra virgin olive oil. Use your fingertips to make divets (indentations) over the surface of the oiled dough.
- Step 9 Add the toppings – Layer the lightly sauteed garlic clove. Sprinkle the fresh rosemary across the top. Layer the roasted, flattened cherry tomatoes. Layer the sliced black olives.
- Step 10 Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour.
- Step 11 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the top with a couple of pinches of coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Step 12 Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and the dough is cooked through. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Brush with a little more Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Step 13 Slice the Focaccia to serve. Goes great with an Antipasto Platter.