August 25th, 2009

Between my third and fourth year of college (I was one of those five-year plan students) I studied abroad in Italy. To say that I had an amazing time would be an understatement. Among the many things that I fell in love with, foccacia bread is high on the list. Words cannot describe how perfectly this bread is with it’s crispy, olive oily crust, soft center and pockets soft with oil. I had more than my fair share, at least a slice a day. That was a few years back now and believe it or not I’ve never attempted to make it at home. It just seems intimidating… especially to live up to those memories. I saw this recipe over on Lottie and Doof and decided it was time to try my hand at it. Let me tell you, I have fallen in love all over again.

Now, the foccacia of my past had only olive oil and salt on top, but with tomatoes in abundance and rosemary on my fire escape, they seemed like the perfect topping for this little foray. But first things first. Start with the dough, which is rather simple to make. Just some flour, yeast, a bit of sugar and salt and a healthy dose of olive oil. Cover it and forget about it for a bit if you can. After an hour or so, visit it again and place it in a round cake pan or cast iron skillet, give it some more olive oil and cover it with a towel for a while longer.

When you finally feel like you can’t wait any longer, it’s time to top it with goodies, meaning tomatoes, rosemary and you guessed it, olive oil. Oh, and of course some salt, I used my favorite Maldon. Into the oven it went.

When I pulled it out it looked like one heck of a beauty. The top was golden with oil and the tomatoes were just slightly charred, all of which seemed like the perfect combination for a party in my mouth. I’m not going to deny it, I didn’t really wait for it to cool. I dove right in and it was like tasting a memory. The bread was infused with olive oil, the tomatoes providing just the perfect amount of juice and the salt was a perfect compliment to the texture and flavor of the bread. If you’d like to take a little trip without flying to Italy, just whip up this recipe and pour yourself a nice glass of wine.

foccacia with tomatoes
adapted from Lottie and Doof who adapted it from Saveur

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Maldon salt or Coarse sea salt

In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/4 cup water heated to 115˚. Let mixture sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, the remaining sugar, and salt in a large bowl; form a well in the center. Pour in yeast mixture, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 cup warm water; mix into a stiff mass. Transfer dough to a floured work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and transfer to a bowl greased with 3 tablespoons oil; cover with plastic wrap and let rise until dough has about doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Heat oven to 475˚. Rub bottom and sides of a 13″ deep dish pizza pan, 12″ cast-iron skillet or a round cake pan with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Transfer dough to pan; flip to cover both sides in oil and flatten into the bottom of skillet with your fingertips. Cover skillet with a damp kitchen towel; set aside to let rise for 1 hour.
Gently create dimples in the bread with your fingertips so they cover the top, about an inch apart from each other.
Gently press tomatoes into dough and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle dough with remaining oil (3 Tablespoons). Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 30–35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to let cool slightly. Enjoy!

Comments: 15 Total

  1. Jennifer

    August 25, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Congratulations on a beautiful bread!

  2. oneshotbeyond

    August 25, 2009 at 11:57 am

    so beautiful who would want to eat it?!!!

  3. Amanda Nicole

    August 25, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    I looove fresh homemade foccacia. We make the dough in the bread maker and then bake it. Yours looks fantastic!

  4. ovenhaven

    August 26, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Your foccacia looks gorgeous! I can’t believe I’ve never discovered your blog before this. Clean template, and amazing photography :)

  5. Allyson

    August 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Making this one tonight! Looks lovely and tasty!

  6. Emily

    August 27, 2009 at 9:50 am

    I am totally making this for my dad, he LOVES this stuff

  7. dkchef

    September 2, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Followed you over from Lottie and Doof. Your foccacia looks great!

  8. Pingback: Tomato Focaccia « A Year in the Kitchen

    September 6, 2009 at 6:24 pm
  9. Carrie

    September 16, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    I followed your instructions, but this looks a lot like my pizza dough recipe, and it calls for 1 3/4 C water to 3 1/2 C flour. Martha Stewart’s proportions for her foccacia are 3 1/2 C water to 7 C flour.

    I tried making this tonight and the dough was so stiff, I could tell something was wrong. Is this recipe correct as printed, er, posted?

  10. Kelly

    September 16, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    the recipe is accurate as posted. i’m not sure what to tell you about the stiffness issue… the only thing I can think of off the top of my head is to make sure to allow the dough enough time to rise, it certainly becomes lighter after the rising time.
    i’m sorry if it doesn’t work for you but i have to say it was super delicious when i made it!
    good luck!

  11. Jordan

    January 23, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Carrie, correct if I am wrong, but your pizza dough (1 3/4 cup water, 3 1/2 cup flour) and martha’s foccacia you speak of (3 1/2 cup water, 7 cup flour) are in an exact 2:1 ratio. I couldnt imagine any textural difference, just batch size. You are a strange one.

  12. links london

    April 6, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    just batch size. You are a strange one.

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