Tomato Focaccia

I can never eat a good focaccia without immediately being brought back to Italy. Memories of several slabs of focaccia, each topped with different flavours & colours, snapped up from the local forno or train station as a quick lunch on the go. It’s one of the passing things that I never really gave much thought whilst on our travels, yet now, it’s those moments that I’m missing the most… finding that little bakery tucked away down a tiny unassuming side street, trying to pick just one thing to purchase from the array of options all displayed so wonderfully in & upon the counters, putting on my best Italian language skills to order as best I can & of course, that first bite of something that should be so simple & yet is so full of flavour & joy that you can’t help but smile & devour it instantly.

Tomato Focaccia

I suppose, whilst we’ve not been able to travel like we used to pre-pandemic, at least I have my food & the knowledge I will never take for granted a steaming hot Italian espresso every again! So, as we approach September, a time where usually we would be exploring somewhere off the beaten track in Italy, I’m living vicariously through my kitchen instead. Luckily, I have a ready supply of tomatoes from the garden now which makes my Italian daydreams that little bit easier. Here I’ve used a colourful selection in a simple, yet wonderful tomato focaccia. This has everything you could ever need from a good focaccia, a golden crust, soft, pillowy bread, doused in quality olive oil & topped with sweet, bursting tomatoes. Delizioso!

Tomato Focaccia

TOMATO FOCACCIA

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 10g salt
  • 10g fast acting dried yeast
  • 400ml water
  • 50ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • Roughly 50-100g tomatoes

Method:

  • In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, yeast & salt
  • Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients & pour in the water followed by the olive oil
  • Mix until everything is wet & well combined, the dough will be quite loose & wet
  • Add some oil to a large bowl or rectangular tupperware or tin
  • Empty the dough out into the oiled container & use oiled hands to fold each edge of the dough back over itself into the middle
  • Turn the dough upside down so that the folds are no underneath
  • Cover the dough & leave to rise for about an hour, until it has doubled in size
  • Once risen, repeat the same folding process again, being careful not to knock out too much of the air bubbles & rise for another hour
  • Repeating the same fold & rise process for a third & final time
  • Once risen, empty the dough out into a 9″x13″ rectangular tin lined with baking parchment
  • Use your fingers to gently stretch the dough out to fill the baking tin being careful not to burst all of the air pockets inside
  • Cover the dough & leave to prove for 45 minutes minutes until risen with a few bubbles now on the surface
  • Next, drop the tomatoes into the the dough, creating tomato filled dimples in the bread before drizzling over some of the excess oil left in the container & sprinkle over the sea salt
  • Bake the tomato focaccia in the oven at 220C for 20-25 minutes until golden brown

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