At the very first restaurant I ever worked in, we would bake up huge trays of focaccia every evening, varying the topping throughout the week, from classic sea salt and rosemary, through caramelised onion with feta, or even red onion and romesco. Sliced and served with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping, it was the perfect way to begin your meal. Focaccia is fantastically easy to make, even if you have never made bread before and infinitely variable. Today I am sticking with a real summer classic: Tomato and Rosemary Focaccia.
Focaccia is a brilliant beginners bread, as the kneading and shaping of the dough are incredibly forgiving. There’s no special equipment required, and if you can’t get bread flour it will even work with plain or all-purpose flour. The trick to making great focaccia is to be gentle with the dough, leaving as much air in it as possible. It’s also important to be generous with the olive oil. This is no time for stinginess, channel your inner Italian nonna and splash the oil around generously, your focaccia will be all the better for it.
Here in Italy, focaccia is always available. It is commonly served as an antipasto or snack with the evening apero, though it is excellent as a side at any meal. Every region of Italy has some variation of focaccia, whether soft and fluffy or thin and crunchy, though outside of Italy the higher and more bread-like focaccia is more well known.
In this recipe, I have kept the topping simple and summery, with tomatoes and rosemary taking centre stage. Try out whichever flavour combinations you like. Topping the focaccia with Gorgonzola, pear and red onion is rich and luxurious, while olive and oregano are more austere. Mixing it up is part of the fun.
What are your favourite focaccia toppings? Let me know in the comments below! Take care out there and happy cooking. xJ
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
- 500g bread flour
- 7g sachet dried yeast
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 75ml olive oil, plus 2 Tbsp for after baking
- 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- Combine the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add half of the oil and 250ml of warm water and stir to combine. The dough should be soft and sticky. If it is at all dry, add up to 50ml more water.
- If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or oiled surface and knead gently for 5 minutes, return to the bowl, cover with a clean cloth and refrigerate for 1 hour. If kneading with a dough hook, knead 5 minutes, then cover and chill for 1 hour.
- When the dough has risen, oil an oven tray with 1 Tbsp of the remaining oil. Turn out the dough onto the tray and stretch into a large rectangle, turning to coat in the oil. Cover again with a cloth and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 220°C / 425°F / Gas 7. When the dough has risen, mix the remaining olive oil with a tablespoon of water and drizzle over the bread. Use your fingers to press dimples all over the dough, then push the tomatoes, cut side up, and rosemary into the focaccia. Sprinkle generously with sea salt flakes.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden. Drizzle over remaining tablespoon of olive oil while the bread is still hot. Allow the focaccia to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 264Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 875mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make Tomato and Rosemary Focaccia without a kitchen machine?
Yes! Focaccia is very simple to make without a kitchen machine. If you are finding the dough a little sticky, try oiling your hands while you knead it. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty you can even knead it in a bowl with a wooden spoon. It’s a great arm workout!
How long does focaccia keep?
Focaccia is best eaten on the day it is prepared. If you wrap it tightly it will still be fine for a day or so, though you may want to toast or warm it.
Do I really need to use so much olive oil to make focaccia?
Olive oil is serious business in Italy and a generous hand with the olive oil is what separates great focaccia from a dry flatbread. Yes, you can reduce the oil, but it will affect the texture of the finished bread.