Focaccia is a simple, rustic and versatile bread that can stand alone, or as accompaniment to soups and sandwich fillings. It’s one of my favorite recipes because it’s a great way of using what you have in your pantry and fridge. If you have an excess of a certain kind of herb or vegetable, use it up! Extra salami or pancetta? Throw it on top of your focaccia. For example, I didn’t have any extra fresh herbs laying around, so I opted to use Sarah’s Sea Salt Tuscan Blend for a little extra flavor and a kick of chili flake.
Tuscan Tomato Focaccia
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water (about 110-115 degrees)
about 4 cups white flour
2 teaspoons salt (a little extra if using a seasoning salt with herbs and spices)
4 1/2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
5 sprigs of fresh rosemary or other fresh (or dried) herbs
Several pinches of Maldon salt (or other flakey sea salt)
The warm water you use to bloom your yeast in should feel slightly warmer than body temperature. You can use a thermometer to tell if its between 100-115 degrees, but my rule of thumb is if it feels too hot against your skin, it will probably kill your yeast. Add the yeast to the water, and give it about 5 minutes before it looks foamy and frothy. Slowly add in most of the flour to your yeast and water mixture. Keep in mind your dough might not need all 4 cups. You want to add just enough flour so the dough picks up off of the side of your mixer. Once it picks up, or there is no sticky dough on the sides of your bowl, your dough ball will look quite “shaggy” before the mixing makes it nice and smooth. This is when I added about two big pinches of the Tuscan Sea Salt. Once my dough was nice and smooth and elastic, I added enough olive oil to coat the bottom of my mixing bowl and let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap for about 90 minutes before it doubled in size.
Next, add more olive oil to a baking sheet for crispy focaccia or a cake pan for a thicker, chewier focaccia. Turn your dough out onto your oiled surface and gently press down the dough with your fingertips. Now that you’ve shaped your dough, allow it to rise one more time for about 30-40 minutes and top with your favorite goodies. I’ve chosen the Pomadoraccio tomatoes we carry at The Chopping Block because they’re dried and soak in a flavorful olive oil mixture. Because they’re slightly rehydrated in oil, they’re less likely to burn in the oven, plus I can use some of the delicious oil they’re packed in to flavor my bread. Make sure you press in any toppings so they stay on your bread and don’t fall on the floor when you take a bite. Sprinkle the focaccia with a little more of the seasoning salt and bake at 425-450 for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown and delicious. Want a different version? Try our Potato and Rosemary Focaccia recipe.
For the rest of February, you can get any of The Chopping Block’s salts (including our truffle salt), spices and seasonings as well as any accessory for 20% off! It’s a great way to stock your pantry so you can spice up your food, from eggs, to veggies, breads and just about anything else you can imagine. Show us your favorite way to use your favorite spice blend or seasoning salt on Instagram by using the hashtag #thechoppingblock.