Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Homemade Tomato, Rosemary, Basil Focaccia Bread

Over the weekend, I decided to try making another type of bread.  I have somewhat of a fascination with breadmaking these days, between challah, brioche and beer bread, in part because I love making things fresh from scratch, like a true Brooklyn girl.  Heck, I've even made my own bagels - and I live in New York after all, home of the world's best bagel!

I recently decided to try making homemade focaccia.  Focaccia baking is a bit of an art form, as there is quite a bit of room for variation.  However, in the end, it basically requires a quality homemade pizza dough.  The possibilities for preparing your own focaccia are endless, so the recipe I devised below is really just a primer.  To make focaccia bread, most people will press the ingredients of their choice into the bread dough.  This can include fruit, dried fruit, herbs, nuts, tomatoes, garlic, and an assortment of vegetables.  Thus, your focaccia can be a basic sandwich bread, or it can be a dessert focaccia if you tend towards dried fruits and nuts that are on the sweet side.  This was actually quite easy to make, and provided me with a great delight because I love making just about anything from bread to cordials to cheese from scratch.  It also good if pressed with meats and spreads into a sandwich in a panini machine.

Sasha's Homemade Tomato, Rosemary & Basil Focaccia Bread

1 packet dry active yeast
1 T sugar
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
3/4 cup warm water
4 small organic tomatoes, off the vine
fresh rosemary
fresh basil leaves
1 T butter or canola oil

To prepare homemade focaccia, activate or proof the dry active yeast in the warm water (with the sugar) for 10 minutes until bubbly and foamy.  Mix the yeast/water/sugar mixture in a Kitchenaid mixer or bread making machine with the olive oil, salt and flour until it forms a dough.  You can do this by hand if you do not have a mixer or bread machine.  Allow the dough to rise (in a bowl covered with a damp towel) for 45 minutes.  Then, press the dough out flat on a baking sheet and press the sliced tomatoes (seeds removed), rosemary and basil into the dough.  Cover with a well oiled piece of plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.  Next, use your finger to poke little dots that look like dimples into the focaccia bread.

Before baking the focaccia, brush with olive oil, canola oil or butter.  If you prefer a sweet focaccia, you can brush with jam or jelly.  Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.   This was my first attempt at focaccia and the bread was just the right texture.  I loved the tomato and rosemary combination - it was just the way I had hoped it would turn out for the first time.  Next time, I will try some more unusual variations.

Want to make more bread?  Check out my recipes for Challah and Cinnamon Raisin Challah.  Also, click here for some of Emily's pizza dough variations or here for one of my pizza variations.  Next up in my world of bread will be some Chocolate Chip Dessert Challah (after Passover).  I have a few other things up my sleeve in the coming week or two, including some recipes from Thomas Keller (Ad Hoc At Home), a new tropical chicken recipe, a new goat cheese salad, S'mores Cupcakes and some creative fondant cupcake creations.  Stay tuned!

Focaccia on FoodistaFocaccia


  1. Thats colourful and looks yummy

  2. What a delicious focaccia! I love it with the rosemary and tomatoes!

  3. how wonderful....very colorful

  4. That is a nice looking foccacia!

  5. This is such a beautiful foccacia! You did such a great job!

  6. I think foccacia is my favorite kind of bread - all that crispyness on top and amazing pockets inside! Yours is just wonderful!

  7. This is lovely -- I bet it's delicious!


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