Tomato & Herb Focaccia
I love bread–I’m sure I’ve stated this before, but it’s worth repeating. I really do love bread. I use to purchase copious amounts of bread before I learned just how easy baking bread can be. You mix/kneed, let it rest, shape it, let it rest again, then bake. So long as you follow a few guidelines you will get a delicious, perfect loaf every time.
Last night, I made a bread that is going into my forever-remember-this-recipe repertoire. I am of course talking about a tomato and herb–oregano, thyme and rosemary–focaccia loaf. This simple bread is tucked under a deliciously crisp crust, with olive oil, Mediterranean sea salt, roma tomatos and a heap of herbs. This bread is so, so delicious. Like those annoying Red Robbin commercials, I find myself thinking, and almost saying, “yum!” after each time I mention or think of this bread. Like with other loafs, there are a few guidelines you’ll want to follow when baking this Tomato & Herb Focaccia, Yum!
Here are some tips to remember when baking bread: 1. Since there are typically so few ingredients in a bread, each is key: use good quality ingredients, especially when adding herbs in which case fresh is best; 2. The order of adding ingredients is important as it can effect how it will rise; 3. Yeast is picky and requires a specific temperature range to properly develop in the bread; 4. The loaf should double in volume the first rise, and increase in size 1 1/2 times the second rise–this is because the loaf will still rise in the oven until it reaches 145 degrees; 5. Cutting a loaf allows steam/pressure to escape and helps shape the loaf; 6. Baking times are dependent on many factors–the best way to check if a loaf done is to invert it and tap the bottom; if it sounds hollow it is ready!
This loaf should take between 25 and 32 minutes at 425 degrees. Mine took 31 minutes.
1. 3 tablespoons good olive oil
2. 4 cups bread flour (plus or minus a few tablespoons)
3. 2 teaspoons salt
4. 1/4 oz (or one packet) active yeast.
5. 1 1/4 cup water
6. 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
7. 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
8. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
9. 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
10. 2 tablespoons Mediterranean sea salt or kosher salt
11. Extra olive oil
1. Dissolve the yeast in 1 1/4 cup warm water (between 105 and 115 degrees is best).
2. Add the olive oil, 3 1/2 cups flour and salt and mix
3. If using a stand mixer, knead for one minute. Add the remaining flour until the dough ball begins to clean the sides of the bowl.
4. Continue kneading for 2 to 3 minutes. If kneading by hand, add all the ingredients and knead for 6 to 7 minutes.
5. Place in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise one hour (keep in a warm place free of drafts; if your house is cold, turn on the oven for 1 minutes, turn off then put the bowl in the oven.)
6. Once risen and roughly twice its original size, punch down the dough (to get all the air out) and shape into a rectangle/oval shape 1 inch thick.
7. Prick the loafs with the tip of a sharp knife all over.
8. Drizzle the extra olive oil over the loaf. Lay the tomato slices on the loaf, then add the mediterranean salt and the herbs.
9. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
10. Let rise roughly 45 minutes until slightly larger than the size it was.
11. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 to 32 minutes or until just golden brown on top.
This bread is delicious, and I hope you enjoy it! This goes perfect with a simple vegetable soup.