I came across a new magazine for me this week at the library, Vegetarian Times, and was delighted that their July/August 2012 issue featured recipes with cherry tomatoes. While I’m still waiting for my cherry tomato plant to ripen, I happened to have two pounds of grape tomatoes purchased on my latest Costco trip. Focaccia is an easy bread for beginners like me to make at home. The dough is straightforward and simple to make with or without a standing mixer; toppings can be customized to your personal taste. There are two rising periods of one hour each then the focaccia is baked for less than 30 minutes, a process that makes this bread a cinch to pull together in an afternoon just like I did today.
Ingredients: (changed slightly from recipe found on page 61 of July/August issue of Vegetarian Times)
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 TB sugar
1 package instant yeast
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 TB olive oil
Topping & dipping oil
1/4 olive oil
1 heaping TB rosemary, chopped
1 heaping TB garlic, minced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1. Mix all ingredients for the focaccia together at once. Let a stand mixer do the work—use a dough hook to knead the ingredients on speed 4 for about 4-5 minutes
2. Spray the dough with baking spray and allow it to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
3. Next, coat a baking pan with olive oil. Spread the dough out into the pan, stretching it slightly to reach the edges. Allow the dough to rest again for about an hour.
4. Meanwhile, make the dipping oil: combine the olive oil with the rosemary and garlic.
5. After the dough has risen the second time, press a spoon or your fingers into the dough as shown in the photo below.
6. Brush the dough with a few tablespoons of the olive oil and herb mixture. Gently press the tomatoes into the dough, cut sides facing up.
7. Bake at 450 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.
I was concerned at first with the color of my focaccia, worried that I had over-baked it. As it turned out, this golden crust covered a soft yet well-cooked bread underneath. Dip the focaccia into the leftover herbed olive oil for an extra burst of flavor.
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