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Tomato Focaccia

This focaccia recipe is super easy and is a great bread for a rainy day because it can be started and finished in about 4 hours. No overnight ferments or complicated processes.

So, truth be told, this is a subject that I wrote about for Pure Joy Catering's Blog page about 3 weeks ago.

As some of you know, prior to Pandemic 2020 I had taken a Culinary Director position with them but I was furloughed because of event cancelations. That furloughed sparked me to start up this food delivery that I have been doing... Not only do I not want to be on unemployment, I have been SELF employed for so long that I don't qualify for much more than a bag of groceries per week. So those of you who are using my Market Forager Delivery Service, thank you! This is how I am making it through this crazy time we are living in.

So, this Focaccia recipe, like all good things, came from a craving. I was at the grocery store and I knew I was making Spaghetti that night (my kids love spaghetti & meatballs) and I just wanted a nice spongy focaccia to soak it all up. Alas, there was none. No worries, I am a chef. I will figure one out.

It wasn't great the first couple times I made it. But over time of making it and tweaking the recipe I have something that is great and now I can reform my technique.

Since that first day of making this recipe they have gotten a lot better. My attention to the dough has improved. I got comfortable, tried to cut some corners one day and made the worst one ever... learned a few things that day.

Although I have been cooking for 25 years, baking is something I just started taking up in the last 5-7. At Julienne we never had "real" desserts on our menu. We had what I refer to as "kitchen desserts"; Chocolate Mousse, Creme Brûlée and Ice Cream. It was pretty much like that for 8 years and you know what, we sold a ton of dessert. Every so often we'd get some hotshot in the kitchen who wanted to spend 5 hours and 100 dollars in chocolate to create some masterpiece.. One thing was for sure though, we never, ever made bread.

However, back in my early years (1996-2000) I worked for my dad's Italian restaurant, Mona Lizza. We had a giant wood burning pizza oven and we made our dough fresh, daily. So despite never baking, I did have some knowledge of dough, yeast, proofing and gluten.

So, now that I have laid some story on you. Let's look at the focaccia recipe and processes.

Here's the Recipe

235g Warm Water

6g Instant Yeast

10g Honey

150g A/P Flour

50g Oil Mixture

240g A/P Flour

10g Salt

Ingredients for Oil Mix

10g Garlic, Minced

3g Rosemary, Minced

1g Black Pepper

100g Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Did you buy a gram scale yet?

1. Mix the Warm Water, Yeast and Honey. Mix to dissolve the yeast and allow to sit for 5 min until it gets frothy.

2. Add the 150g Flour and mix well. Cover and allow to sit for 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, put the oil mix together.

When the sponge is proofed take 50g of the oil mix and add it to the sponge.

3. Take the sponge and transfer to the bowl of a Kitchen Aide mixer set with he Dough Hook Attachment. With the mixer on low, slowly begin to add the 240g of flour and the salt and allow the mixer to mix it for 5-7 min.

You will probably need to add another spoonful of flower while it's mixing. When the dough is done it will start to peel itself back from the bowl. You want it tacky but not sticky. When it gets to that point in the mixer, transfer it to the table and knead it for another 2-3 minutes. It should look something like the picture below when you bowl it up to proof.

4. Transfer to a floured bowl and allow to proof for 30-45 minutes.

After about 40 minutes it should look like this.. .

5. Once risen, take the dough from the bowl and begin to stretch it. I never use a rolling pin for this because I like the inconsistency of the baking process when it's hand stretched. The rolling pin kills air bubbles.

Then you want to allow this to proof again for about 25-30 minutes...

At this point you should pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F too

Once final proofing is done then I add the remaining oil mix (minus a couple spoonfuls for the tomatoes). I always make sure to spread this all over the dough and down the edges because it soaks in and meets the hot pan in the corners and on the edges and makes a nice, crusty crust.

Then put the tomatoes on and top the tomatoes with some of that oil.

Put in the oven and bake for 17-22 minutes depending on wether or not you have convection in your oven.

Here's some pictures from Focaccia's from the past

Properly proofed Tomato Focaccia with fresh basil and herbs

This one was baked in a convection oven and you can see the difference in the tomatoes. Look how nice and dry they got.

One day I made one with thin sliced potato and goat cheese and topped it with fresh parsley from the garden when it came out of the oven.

So good. This was a bread and salad night for dinner.

There's never leftovers of this when I make it here at my house, but it does keep really well. Keep it in a ziplock bag in the pantry. It's great with pasta, soup, salad, roasted vegetables, braised greens & charcuterie plates.

Give this recipe a try and send me some pictures!!

Happy Baking!


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