This easy Focaccia Bread with Garlic, Tomato and Herbs is a hearty, thick and spongy crowd pleaser. It complements any antipasto, tastes delicious eaten while still warm and loves being dipped in a bowl of soup or stew. It also works as a fantastic thicker crust pizza base recipe.
As you know I am a keen artisan bread maker and even keener carb and bread eater. To me nothing beats a bite of freshly baked bread. With all its heartiness, generosity and lovely textures… when I think bread I think home, safety and comfort.
So every 2 weeks I make a few large loaves of sourdough bread and fill our house with the lingering smell of fresh bake and homeliness. I halve each loaf and freeze, so they last fresh for longer.
Focaccia Bread with Garlic, Tomato and Herbs Recipe
Unlike the sourdough Focaccia Bread with Garlic, Tomato and Herbs is my newer friend and certainly rising in the ranks quickly! It is a great, easy, thick pizza base contender and a fantastic all around weekend or midweek dipper-snacker bread. Focaccia bread is much quicker to make than the sourdough as it rises on regular, fresh yeast, which you can easily get in supermarkets these days. Dry, instant yeast will do just fine too. (Find out all about wild yeast and sourdough here.)
Purists’ focaccia bread version is really good, but I think that it still benefits from some coarse salt crystals sprinkled over, little Italian seasoning and olive oil. And I am really happy to shout out that this bread was born to be served with garlic infused oil!
You can infuse oil with raw garlic or if you’re a bit like me, you probably keep some confit garlic oil in a jar in your refrigerator. Using different type of garlic oil will produce a subtle difference in flavour of your focaccia bread – worth testing!
So we mentioned coarse salt, Italian seasoning, garlic, oil…the rest of toppings are up to your imagination and liking really. I chose to share an adapted version of Paul Hollywood’s Focaccia Pugliese with Garlic and Tomatoes from ‘100 Great Breads – Paul Hollywood’.
I have added some extra seasoning and Kalamata olives (on my halve only because my partner is not a fan – I’m winning the tomato battle though! :-). Other potential savoury toppings include thinly sliced peppers or onions, potatoes, hardy herbs like rosemary or thyme.
Poems have been written in honour of breads and Italians are undeniably up there with all the heroes in this discipline. I’d like to join in the gratitude and say ‘thank you, dear Italian friends for giving us focaccia pugliese, which makes my world a better place!’
- 150ml olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 10g fine salt (2 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 350ml water
- 20g fresh yeast or 15g dry instant yeast
- 500g all purpose white flour plus extra for dusting
- 6 plum tomatoes sliced
- Salt water made with 10g salt dissolved in 100ml water.
- Pinch of rock salt crystals to sprinkle over the flatten dough just before baking
- Rosemary or thyme leaves, finely chopped (without stems) to sprinkle over before the second rising
- Kalamata olives, very thinly sliced onions, peppers, thinly sliced potatoes...
- Place crushed garlic and oil in a glass jar with a lid to infuse over at least 4 hours (overnight is the most convenient) in the refrigerator.
- Put flour, salt, yeast, half the infused oil and all still water into a large bowl and mix together for 4 minutes. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6 minutes, then put back into the bowl and rest for 1 hour.
- Line a baking tray. Tip the dough onto lightly floured surface and roll out a rectangle about 1 inch thick.
- Using a knife, prick the top of the dough all over. Sprinkle the remaining oil, salt water (and rock salt), arrange tomato slices (and olives or other topping of your choice) and leave to rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 220C. Bake the bread for 25-30 min until golden brown. Eat warm!