I can now officially say that I am no longer afraid of baking bread. This Cherry Tomato & Rosemary Focaccia Recipe (!!) was ridiculously easy to make, and I couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out. My kitchen confidence is now wayyy up, which is a 180 from where I was even a year ago!
For years I struggled with how to make any type of bread. I just couldn’t figure it out – Mm dough would never, ever rise and the end result was always super flat, tough and chewy. I know now that bread’s ability to rise is affected by a combination of many factors, both inside and outside of my control. For one, fresh yeast is a must. Digging out an old packet from the back of the pantry is no bueno. Also, bread rises best in a fairly warm environment. I’ve found that placing my dough in the closed oven (with the temperature turned off) is a naturally warm spot that it really tends to like.
Since figuring these two elements out, I rarely have an issue with baking bread. Now, there are other steps like kneading that I need (heh heh) to figure out, but any small progress is still progress, ok?
Back to the focaccia. I saw this Cherry Tomato & Rosemary Focaccia recipe on Food 52 and immediately had to make it. I didn’t even know that I was craving this until it happened across my phone screen. And now here we are, in a very, very happy place.
I really enjoyed eating squares of this focaccia with a seasoned olive oil dip reminiscent of a special sauce that a waitress whipped up for my friend and I at an Italian restaurant in Boston’s North End: about 1/4 c of olive oil with generous sprinkles of garlic powder, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and fresh herbs. Yum!
I’m hoping this focaccia recipe brings you as much joy as it did for me. Eating this took me back to my last summer in Italy where I ate all the breads and carbs that my body could handle. I can’t wait for the chance to do that again – until that time comes though, this homemade focaccia will have to do!
- 500g bread flour
- 5g dried yeast
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup plus 3 TBS warm water
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- pinch of sea salt
- Mix the flour, yeast, salt, water and olive oil in a bowl to form a sticky dough, then turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and silky, which should take about 10 minutes. The dough should also “bounce back” when you poke it.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Loosely cover with a plastic bag and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour).
- Once the dough has risen, turn it onto a clean surface and press it into a rough rectangle. Transfer to an oiled 8x12-inch roasting tray and cover with a plastic bag. Leave to rise in a warm place for another hour, until it’s doubled in size again and airy.
- Preheat the oven to 490° F, or as high as it will go. Poke holes all over the dough with your fingers. Push the tomato halves and rosemary sprigs into the holes and drizzle over more olive oil and sprinkle a generous pinch of sea salt.
- Place the focaccia in the centre of the hot oven for 10 minutes. Next, turn the heat down to 400° F and cook for a further 10 minutes. Take the focaccia out of the oven and drizzle more olive oil over. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.
Adapted From: Food52