Recipe first, tidbits second. Enjoy!
Rosemary Tomato Focaccia Made With All-Purpose Flour
With a fluffy crumb, crunchy golden crust, and blast of flavor thanks to sun ripened cherry tomatoes and crushed rosemary, this focaccia bread is the perfect addition to any table. Great to serve as a standalone appetizer or alongside the main course. Travel and storage friendly, this bread also makes for a wonderful snack to take to parties or on road trips!
- Prep Time: 1/2 hour
- Rise Time: 4 1/2 hours
- Cook Time: 1/2 hour
- Total Time: 5 1/2 hours
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Italian
- 3 cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour – plus more for sprinkling
- 2 tsp active dry yeast or instant yeast
- 2 tsp salt – plus more for sprinkling
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 1/4 cups room temperature water
- 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp rosemary
- Mix together 3 cups flour, yeast, and 2 tsp salt in a large bowl.
- Add 3 tbsp olive oil and water and stir to combine.
- Add the remaining 1 tbsp flour and knead dough with your hands. Fold the dough in half then knead flat; repeat 9 to 10 times. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour; if the dough is too dry, add more water.
- Shape the dough into a ball, sprinkle with flour, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm area and let rise for 3 hours or until dough is about doubled in size.
- Line a baking sheet or pizza peel (if using a baking stone) with parchment paper and sprinkle it with flour. Gently remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the floured surface, cover with a towel, and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle the dough with flour and use your hands to gently shape the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Cover with a towel and lest rise somewhere warm for 1 hour or until dough is slightly puffy.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Uncover the dough and gently press in the sliced cherry tomatoes, taking care not to deflate the dough. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and rosemary.
- Put the dough in the oven, reduce the temperature to 375 F, and bake for 30 minutes or until the focaccia is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and cool on a rack until no longer hot to the touch. Slice into rectangles and serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days at room temperature or up to 1 month in the freezer.
- Bowl Material – When rising bread, opt for a glass or metal bowl since they retain heat better than plastic and will produce a puffier dough.
- Active Dry Yeast vs Instant Yeast – Either works for this recipe. Active dry yeast does best when reactivated with warm water first – just mix the yeast and warm water called for in the recipe together when you begin. If the weather is warm I often skip this step and just add the active dry yeast directly to the mixture.
- Rising Time – The warmer the air, the faster the bread will rise. Take care not to place the dough on a cold surface such as a granite counter because this will increase the amount of time required for the dough to rise – opt for a wooden table instead.
- Cooling Time – I know how tempting it is to slice into a loaf of bread immediately after removing it from the oven but do your best to be patient! Waiting until the bread has cooled to the touch allows the dough to off-steam which produces a better texture. Slice the bread too soon and it is likely to have a more gummy consistency.
- Freezer Storage – Focaccia freezes and keeps well in the freezer for up to 1 month.
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This Recipe’s Roots
I have tried a LOT of focaccia recipes over the years. Some with bread flour, some with all-purpose flour, some with garlic and onions, some with peppers, some with tomato sauce – you name the topping and I’ve probably put it on focaccia at some point. This recipe is a classic combination of ingredients we always have on hand. And with just the right amount of liquid in the dough, this recipe produces an excellent texture that stays fresh for days.
Rosemary, olive oil, sea salt, and fresh cherry tomatoes. Does focaccia get any better? After years of experimenting, this recipe is far and away my family’s favorite.
Taking a Closer Look
When choosing a large mixing bowl I recommend using glass or metal since they retain heat better than plastic and will keep the dough warmer, resulting in a better rise.
After adding the water and olive oil I like to first mix the dough with a wooden spoon. It keeps my hands a bit cleaner and doesn’t compromise the gluten development. Some people like to mix their dough in a food processor because it’s faster. I’ll occasionally use a food processor but it definitely produces a denser texture. If you like your focaccia light and fluffy, opt to mix your dough by hand.
After initially mixing the dough with a wooden spoon, add one more tablespoon of flour and begin to knead it by hand. The dough should be slightly sticky but shouldn’t glob onto your fingers – if it does, add another tablespoon of flour. If the dough is too shaggy and won’t all stick together in one ball, add another tablespoon of water.
After kneading the dough, shape it into a ball. If this is your first time making focaccia don’t worry about getting it perfect, the dough will straighten out as it rises.
Sprinkle the dough ball with more flour, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it somewhere warm to rise. I like to put my bread dough on a wooden server in our dining room. Our kids always look there first thing in the morning to see if Mama is making bread. Other great places to let dough rise are on a wooden table or on top of the refrigerator! Heat dissipates from the refrigeration process and makes the top of the fridge a nice toasty place for bread to rise.
If the weather is particularly cold you can always put your bread dough in a slightly warm oven. I often do this when making tsoureki because springtime is still cool in Connecticut. Just make sure you only preheat your oven a LITTLE BIT and that you turn the oven OFF before you put your dough in or else the plastic wrap will melt into your food and you’ll have to start all over again. (Ask me how I know).
After a few hours your dough should have more than doubled in size. If not, give it a little more time or put it somewhere warmer.
To turn the dough out I like to sprinkle a little more flour around the edges between the dough and the bowl, then sort of doggy paddle my hands all the way around. However you choose to turn out the dough, be gentle. If you’re using a pizza peel (I have this peel with a nifty folding handle and love it), line it with parchment paper and put the dough right on it. Let it rest for 20 minutes or so then start shaping.
My focaccia dough never works out to a perfect rectangle but I’ll tell you a secret – no one will be able to tell when you slice it into rectangular pieces after baking. Just do your best to spread the dough out uniformly about an inch thick. Cover it with a towel or cloth napkin, put it somewhere warm again, and let it rise for another hour or so until puffy.
Now comes the fun part! Press the cherry tomatoes gently into the dough so as not to deflate it. I find that pressing the slices in on their sides works best. Slather on the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and rosemary and you’re ready for the oven.
If you have a pizza stone, go ahead and use it. If you’re like me and break a pizza stone just by looking at it then I highly recommend investing in one of these steel baking plates. They’re AWESOME. Virtually indestructible, they retain heat like a boss and produce really crunchy crusts. They’re also really easy to clean. My only complaint is that these suckers are HEAVY.
But I mean just look at this golden crust…
And that crunchy bottom…
Steel baking plates are worth the workout. Buy one and be prepared for an immediate improvement in your bread and pizza game.
What I Like Most About This Recipe
Gosh there are so many things I love about this focaccia recipe. Like the fact it uses all-purpose flour and other ingredients I always have on hand. Or that it requires very little active prep time. Or that our kids love making it as much as they love eating it.
Not to mention the taste.
But of all the things I love about this recipe I’d have to say its versatility is the best part. It’s just as appropriate served alongside a weeknight family dinner as it is a romantic gourmet meal. It’s beautiful, it’s classy, it’s DELICIOUS, and it makes the perfect dish to bring to literally any event. As a slightly sturdier loaf of bread thanks to its crunchy crust it also travels really well and is a roadtrip favorite.
This focaccia is addicting. If your friends and family enjoy bread as much as we do then plan on making at least two loaves. It freezes well for about a month so no worries on any of it going to waste. Always better to have extra than not enough when it comes to tasty food.
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