There is nothing so wonderful as fresh, homemade focaccia on one of our Italy culinary tours. But you can easily make this Italian dish at home, as I do regularly. Focaccia can be topped with almost any seasonal ingredient you want, and in the summer I love to make it with tomatoes and herbs. Read on for the recipe, or contact us at The International Kitchen to book one of our Italy food and wine tours!
Tomato Herb Focaccia
Prep time: 12 hours
Cook time: 205 minutes
Cook method: bake
For the focaccia:
- 27 oz bread flour
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 tsp instant yeast
- 19-24 oz ice cold water
For the toppings:
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, Italian parsley)
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 6 -8 ripe tomatoes
Although I usually make focaccia with a mother yeast, I’ve included Peter Reinhart’s Pain a l’Ancienne dough recipe here since many people don’t have yeast starters hanging around. It makes a great focaccia.
1. Prepare the dough by mixing dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Gradually add the water and knead with the dough hook attachment for approximately 5-6 minutes. The dough should be soft and sticking to the bottom of the bowl but not the sides.
2. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes while you prep a 13 x 9 inch jelly roll pan, lining the bottom with parchment and coating the bottom and sides with 2 T olive oil.
3. Gently spread the dough in the pan. If necessary, let rest 10 minutes to get the dough all the way to the edges. Spread about 1/4 cup of the herb oil (see below) over the top, and cover with plastic wrap. Place the pan in the refrigerator overnight.
4. The tomatoes are inspired by Thomas Keller’s tomato confit. I don’t blanch them for this use, because I don’t mind the skins on the focaccia, but you easily could. You could also use thyme, as he does, or any other herb that pairs well with tomatoes.
5. Prep the tomatoes by cutting the flesh in petals from the center, discarding the center with the seeds. Toss them in 1/4 cup olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt and the dried oregano.
6. Arrange on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 275 degrees, turning them once halfway through. Remove from oven and let cool.
7. Prep the herb oil by slightly heating the olive oil (not past 120 degrees). Remove from heat, add the herbs, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
8. To finish the focaccia, remove it from the fridge. place the tomatoes around the dough, and use your fingers to dimple the dough. Spread a bit more of the herb oil, cover, and set aside for 2-3 hours until it has come to room temperature and risen.
9. Heat the over to 425 degrees. Before putting in the oven, sprinkle the focaccia with kosher salt. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake about 30 minutes more, rotating the pan as needed, until the focaccia reaches 200-210 degrees.
10. Remove from the pan immediately and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm, but not piping hot.
By Peg Kern
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