EVERYBODY LOVES GOOD BREAD. Am I right?
If you love a soft warm, right out of the oven bread, then this focaccia bread recipe is a definite must try. Not only is the focaccia itself amazingly delicious, but the fresh rosemary, garlic, and tomatoes also give it a ton of flavor. The combination is fabulous. When it comes out of the oven finish it with an extra drizzle of fragrant olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. The olive oil gives the top of the bread a beautiful sheen, and the finishing sprinkle of salt adds that extra touch of crunch and saltiness on your palette.
For the most part, in my day-to-day diet, I generally try to avoid grains, especially the gluten-y kind. I don’t have a gluten allergy, but I feel better when the majority of my food is more about lean protein and veggies. I do notice that if I eat wheat flour regularly, my joints tend to feel a little less flexible.
Some bread is worth it! You know what I mean, right?
I have no problem having some bread if it’s so good that I feel like the splurge is well worth it. This focaccia is one of those times. But be warned, it’s one of those recipes that if you make it it’s going to disappear. So make sure you aren’t the only one home. The focaccia bread is especially addictive if you’re dipping it in a lovely olive oil. This bread makes a perfect appetizer to bring to a party. Not only is it gorgeous, everyone loves it! And you will seem like five-star artisan baker.
I’m definitely a savory person.
Sweets are something that I can take or leave, but a salty, savory cracker is my kryptonite. I love an excellent rustic bread with all the right flavors. This focaccia bread hits the mark. This particular recipe came to Foodology Geek by way of Kit. The recipe is one that she has used by Jamie Oliver. I love that guy! We made this Rosemary, Garlic, and Tomato Foccacia Bread on one of our marathon cooking days. Not to be rivaled by our famous cake and whiskey cocktails day. But it was still pretty epic.
If you have wanted to try your hand at making homemade bread, but the task sounds way too daunting, this focaccia bread recipe is a perfect get-started-with-making-bread recipe.
Focaccia bread is a pretty forgiving bread recipe. The most important thing to get right about bread making is picking the correct flour. Have you ever seen a recipe that calls for flour, but doesn’t tell you what kind it is? When I see this, I’m like okay people, is it all purpose? Bread flour? Cake flour? What are we talking about here? Bread making requires bread flour because bread flours contain more gluten than other flours.
All flours are not created equal in this department. High gluten flour is needed to get that chewy, yummy bread texture. Gluten is also what is responsible for those fantastic air pockets in bread. Those are the best.
My go-to brand of bread flour is King Arthur Brand. You can read a little more about the science of gluten and flour here if you are as geeky as I am. I will spare you the details if you want to get to the recipe so that you can make this fantastic focaccia bread.
The next thing that makes bread making super easy is a stand mixer.
I have to say that baking with my Kitchen Aid stand mixer is an actual pleasure. It is true that if you have the right tools for the job, the job is so much easier. If you do have a stand mixer, yay, if you don’t but can fit one into your budget I highly recommend it. For Holiday cookie baking alone it is worth the investment.
Keep in mind that the basic recipe for the bread can be made plain without all of the toppings. Foccacia bread makes a great sandwich bread. You can make it and then cut it into sandwich sized squares before you slit it in half bun style. If you would like to make sandwiches, you may not want all the flavor on top.
Other topping combos that I love:
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Rosemary, for a classic rosemary focaccia bread
- Caramelized onions and ricotta
- Kalamata olives and fresh oregano
The possibilities are endless here. Use your imagination and get the kids involved. Teaching kids to cook is not only a life skill that they will thank you for later, and it’s a fun project to bond over. You get to teach math and science and have fun. Plus, you get a delicious reward in the end.
This recipe makes enough dough to make two sheet pans worth of focaccia bread.
You can always cut the recipe in half if you don’t need that much. You can always free leftovers. But who are we kidding fresh bread tastes way better than reheated, thawed out frozen bread? You can freeze half of the focaccia dough and bake another whole focaccia bread later. Dough keeps quite well in the freezer.
The great thing about making a focaccia bread, besides the fact that it is so easy is that you can make it however you want it. You can make it on the thicker side if you like a nice soft and fluffy chunk of bread or you can roll the dough out a little bit thinner, which is usually my preference.
After you roll your dough out, you use your fingertips to poke it all over the place, so it has that crater-like texture. Then you add your toppings. For this recipe, you add the garlic, fresh rosemary, and fresh grape tomatoes to the top of the rolled out dough. Then add a little drizzle of olive oil before you bake the bread.
Bake the focaccia bread until it is golden brown. It will rise in the oven quite a bit.
This focaccia bread recipe also makes a fantastic pizza dough for the grandma style pizza that you make on a sheet pan. Yum!
Tomato, Garlic & Rosemary Focaccia
- 8 cups strong bread flour 1 kg
- 2 envelopes dry yeast
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 1/5 cups water (tepid) 600 ml
- 1 bulb garlic broken into gloves, skin on.
- 5 sprigs rosemary leaves picked off
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 11 ounces cherry tomatoes 300 g - washed
- sea salt
- Put your flour in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to make a hole in the middle. Add the yeast, honey, and two large pinches of sea salt. Then, pour in nearly all the water. Using a spoon, mix the water into the flour until it starts to form a sticky ball. (If it looks dry, add the remaining water.)
- Lightly oil a large bowl and set it aside. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Dust your hands with the flour and start kneading. (Pull the dough towards you with one hand while pushing it away with the other hand.) Keep kneading until you have a smooth, soft, elastic dough. Shape this into a ball and place it into your oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth. Leave it somewhere warm to rise. This will take about an hour.
- Meanwhile...place the garlic, rosemary and a small pinch of salt in a mortar (or sturdy bowl) and crush it all together with a pestle (or blunt object) to release the flavors. Add 3 tbsp olive oil and mix together.
- Drizzle a 13 x 9 pan with olive oil. (For thinner bread use a larger than 13 x 9 jelly roll pan or roasting pan.)
- Once the dough has doubled in size, press it gently. It should feel wobbly. Tip it out onto a floured surface and knead/punch it for a few moments to knock out the air. Place it into your prepared tray. Stretch it to fit.
- Smear your flavored oil - including all the garlic and rosemary - over the dough. Push your fingers into the dough to make lots of dents. Gently press the cherry tomatoes into some of the dents. Leave it for 40 minutes to rise. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees (220 degree Celsius/Gas).
- Bake for about 25 minutes. Once out of the oven, drizzle with some more olive oil and enjoy! (NOTE: If you have made your loaf in a larger pan it will cook faster.)