Focaccia

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I decided to make focaccia for dinner at about 7pm on a very hot night in Chicago. Maybe not the best decision I have ever made. Three hours later we were both starving and very hot.  Luckily this focaccia was worth the wait. It is wonderful. We ate almost all of it in one sitting and I was truly sad to see it go.

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This would be another great recipe for all of you yeast-phobes out there. The reward will outweigh any anxiety you might have over the process. Like all recipe with few ingredients, try to find the best. I used organic tomatoes from the farmers market and best quality olive oil. Try to buy olives from a reliable source and avoid supermarket cans. There seems to be such a range in quality of focaccia out in the world. From sort of soft, limp, flavorless breads to rich, crusted, and full of great taste. This definitely belongs to the latter.

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I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend as much as I am. It has been a long week and I need to enjoy these last weekends of summer. If you’re looking for a restaurant to try in Chicago I’d suggest: Urban Belly or Xni-Pec. Both very special and far enough away from the lake to avoid Air and Water Show madness!

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Focaccia with Tomatoes and Olives (adapted from Saveur)

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 pound kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • Coarse sea salt

In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1⁄4 cup water heated to 115˚. Let mixture sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, the remaining sugar, and salt in a large bowl; form a well in the center. Pour in yeast mixture, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 cup warm water; mix into a stiff mass. Transfer dough to a floured work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and transfer to a bowl greased with 3 tablespoons oil; cover with plastic wrap and let rise until dough has about doubled in size, about 1 1⁄2 hours.

Heat oven to 475˚. Rub bottom and sides of a 13″ deep dish pizza pan or a 12″ cast-iron skillet with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Transfer dough to pan; flip to cover both sides in oil and flatten into the bottom of skillet with your fingertips. Cover skillet with a damp kitchen towel; set aside to let rise for 1 hour.

Gently press tomatoes and olives into dough and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle dough with remaining oil. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 30–35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to let cool slightly. Enjoy!

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35 comments to “Focaccia”

  1. Hot or not, it still looks delicious, lots of color!

  2. looks DELICIOUS! question — can i use a round cake pan if i don’t have a big cast iron pan or deep dish pizza pan?
    I definitely would try this one — I’ve been making pizza dough every once in a while, but this seems MUCH more exciting and tasty!

  3. Is it bad that I am really not looking forward to the air and water show. I live right by North Ave beach and its just going to be super loud all weekend :P

    I really need to get out to Urban Belly. All I hear is great things.

  4. Jen: Yes- try using a cake pan. especially if you have a heavy/dark one.
    Whitney: It is not bad. The Air and Water show is my least favorite weekend of summer. It just sounds so aggressive and terrible to me. Go to Urban Belly to escape!

  5. Need to try focaccia in a pan – always to it free form. Thanks for another recipe option!

  6. mmmmm beautiful

  7. um, please make us dinner in September. please. please. thank you. and please and thank you.

  8. Mikaela: Yes, I will. Please and thank you.

  9. Ooooh. This looks wonderful!

  10. gorgeous! this looks so yummy!!

  11. I like focaccia…I like it dimpled and topped with olive oil, fresh rosemary, sea salt, & losts of coarse ground black pepper. I like that you baked it in a cast iron skillet. My next thing to make is Sfincione. Did you ever have that or tried to make it?

  12. How handy…I happen to have a ton of tomatoes sitting around just waiting to be used!

  13. Ok so I made this. It’s pretty great. I used a cake pan instead of a skillet and it worked fine. I also added onions to the top and that worked pretty well too. One thing I would recommend is eating it hot/warm. I brought it to a party later on the same day I made it and while it was totally fine, it wasn’t like “oh hell yes” like it was when it first came out of the oven. but yeah, overall awesome recipe and not that hard at all.

  14. Red: Thanks for the update! It didn’t last long enough for us to know how it tasted when is was cool. Glad to hear it worked for you, too.

  15. We made this last night too! It was the perfect way to have my kids help with dinner! It was great and we look forward to lots more focaccia in the house!

  16. This looks so delicious bursting with simple flavours! Mouthwatering!

  17. oh. boy. i fell in love with focaccia when I studied in Italy. i ate it at least once a day, if not more. a vendor just started selling local flour at my greenmarket and i’ve been waiting for the perfect use for it. i think this is it. thanks!

  18. This focaccia looks remarkable with its colorful bits of tomato and olive clinging to the surface, poised for a snag.

  19. [...] just seems intimidating… especially to live up to those memories. I saw this recipe over on Lottie and Doof and decided it was time to try my hand at it. Let me tell you, I have fallen in love all over [...]

  20. YUM! Thanks for the reminder that I haven’t made focaccia in ages (what is wrong with me?). Yours looks wonderful. I bet the crust is fantastic baked in that oily cast iron skillet – and you can’t go wrong with cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives.

  21. Looks good! Focaccia is next on my list of yeast breads to try so I’m just looking around for good ideas before I dive in. Thanks!

  22. I am so wanting to make some focaccia and this just jumps out at me. Anything with olives and bread gets my attention.

  23. Been wanting some good bread and remembered seeing this post months back…gonna make some this weekend. Plus trying to break in my cast iron! Double yay!!

  24. How much salt is in the dough and how much is on top? Seems like too much to put it all in th dough?

  25. Hi Andria,
    The recipe is correct as written. It is a lot of salt, but very tasty! You can sprinkle as much as you like on top.

  26. this looks wonderful, i love the crisp crust. adding it to my list!
    thanks for the recipe

  27. How much salt is actually IN the dough. I’ve made it twice. Once was great and once was salty. Can’t remember what I used each time! :) I want to make this again tomorrow but need to know about the salt… Help please!

  28. Hey Frogs, the tablespoon plus teaspoon of salt is all in the dough. Am I missing a typo, or is something confusing? Just let me know. You could easily cut that down if you were worried about salt. Maybe you switched brands of kosher salt or something? Good luck!

  29. I don’t have any cast iron pans that can go into the oven but plenty of silver cake pans of varying sizes and shapes. Would those work out as well?
    Do the olives and tomatoes have to be on top or can they be folded in?

  30. Levynite, You can try it in a cake pan. It will work, the crust won’t get quite as lovely but it should still be delicious. Keep the ingredients on top!

  31. Ooooh, I see what the salt confusion is! It’s the kosher salt into the dough mixture and the coarse salt sprinkled on top, right? You didn’t specify which salt is which in the recipe.

  32. the over has to be pre heated an hour prior to baking..?

  33. Hi Sandrine- The oven needs to be very hot. At least 30 minutes, but the longer the better.

  34. this is the first of your recipes that i tried. at first i didn’t trust your dough. i know you said stiff mass but i find myself altering lots of dough recipes i find online b/c they’re too wet, too dry, too hard, too soft, too lame. you look like you’ve got it together so i trusted you even though the dough felt too hard. it was amazing. i think about it on a regular basis and the only thing keeping me from making it every day is that i’ll get too fat. anyway, sorry for doubting you.

  35. ha, Casey! You sound like me. I never trust anything on the internet. ; ) Glad you started with this recipe, it is one of my favorites.

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