Focaccia with Cherry Tomatoes and Oregano. Soft and fragrant focaccia dressed up with sweet cherry tomatoes, aromatic oregano, and pungent garlic. An excellent idea for a tasty appetizer, a delectable snack, or simply, a great addition to the bread basket.
Song of the day: I Want It All - Queen
Maybe it's because of the simplicity of the ingredients, but it is impossible to resist a focaccia so fragrant and tasty as this one with cherry tomatoes and oregano. A must try for sure!
I don't make only sweets!
When I do not bake sweets, pizza and bread are at the top of my list.
An abundance of cherry tomatoes in the fridge provided the impulse to my Sunday baking: Focaccia with Cherry Tomatoes and Oregano. The sweetness of cherry tomatoes, the fragrance of oregano, and the pungency of garlic, combined with the softness of the focaccia won my family over.
While Loreto is counting the days till I get back and I see his smile getting bigger and brighter by the minute, I can already see in my parents' face that look of sorrow I know so well. Anyway, the months that I spent with them were filled with joy, laughter, road trips, good eats, and a whole lot of baked goods!
Let's talk 'flours'
You might have noticed that, when I am in Italy, my recipes for baked goods list flours that contain a number. In Italy we have different types of soft wheat flours, characterized by a number: 00, 0, 1, 2, and then whole wheat. In this order, the different types of flour have an increasing amount of bran and germ: the type "00" flour (white, soft, and particularly rich in starch) is the most refined and comes from the innermost part of the wheat grain; while type "2" (darker and with a greater quantity of fiber, vitamins, proteins, fats, and enzymes) is the most similar to wholemeal flour, containing all the parts of the ground grain.
For this focaccia, I used an organic type 2 soft wheat flour from Mulino Marino that I buy at Eataly Roma. Type 1 and type 2 are ideal for bread and pizza, also because they are "stronger" flours with a good elasticity and the power to absorb water well.
The other ingredients:
- yeast (in this case I used active dry yeast)
- sugar (to activate the yeast)
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- cherry tomatoes
Arm yourself with patience and let's make focaccia!
Making focaccia is very simple. If you make pizza, you're already on the right track. The thing to keep in mind is that the dough needs a few hours to rise and therefore requires patience and a little planning to prepare it according to when you need it.
I work it by hand, most of the times, and when I use the food processor, I nonetheless finish kneading it by hand to reach that smooth, soft dough. Do not knead it too much, though, 'cause overworking the dough will result in a much tighter and tougher structure as the gluten develops and strengthens.
TIP I never use a rolling pin to spread the dough in the pan (also when I make pizza), but I gently spread it using my fingers, going from the center outward, so not to "deflate" the air bubbles. In the case of focaccia, you need the fingertips to make little "holes", or "dimples", where the cherry tomatoes, and also the e.v.o. oil, are going to nestle.
"Oil is all you need"...Errrr..."Love is all you need"...
All focaccia contains water, and extra virgin olive oil. E.v.o. oil is what makes focaccia taste so unbelievably delicious. As well as keeping the dough moist, the oil gives a rich flavour and wonderful texture.
There is e.v.o. oil in the dough. Then, you need to oil the bowl where the dough is going to rest and rise, oil the bottom of the pan, even if it is a non-stick, and oil the top of the focaccia before it goes in the oven. You are going to appreciate that later, lol.
Of course, the secret ingredient is always love. You need that, too.
Golden, succulent, soft with crunchy edges, that's how it appeares to me after I take it out of the oven. While the focaccia is in the oven, I hear the members of my family taking turns saying "Che buon profumo!" (What a wonderful scent!). Surely, they cannot wait for it to be cooked. Neither do I.
I let it rest just for a few minutes, then I cut it with the scissors.
The many ways to eat Focaccia
I'm sure after I list all the many ways to eat Focaccia with Cherry Tomatoes and Oregano you are going to stop reading and get in the kitchen right away to make it, lol!
- In addition to the breadbasket
- Delectable party appetizer served with cold cuts and soft cheeses
- Snack for kids and grown-ups
- Weekend brunch
- Packed lunch, perfect for outdoor picnics
- Sandwich bread to slice and fill (if you make it pretty thick)
- Packed to be brought to the beach during the summer and eaten cold or slightly warmed up by the sun under the umbrella. Seeing is believing, I've done it so many times, lol!
The scent of oregano, the sweet taste of the cherry tomatoes, and the pungent garlic combined with the perfect crunch-meets-softness of the focaccia will win you over with its simple goodness and the result will satisfy even the most demanding palates.
For the focaccia dough:
- 500 g all-purpose flour (I used organic stone ground flour type 2)
- 7 g active dry yeast or 25 g fresh baker's yeast (I used 1 package lievito Mastro Fornaio)
- 1 heaping teaspoon (5 g) salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 300 ml of water
- 1 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
For the topping:
- 250 g cherry tomatoes (about 14, or more)
- 2 Tbsp e.v.o. oil + more for brushing the top
- ½ clove garlic, minced, center removed
- salt & pepper
For the focaccia dough:
- Add the flour into a bowl (or the bowl of a food processor). Sprinkle the dried yeast in with the sugar and mix. Start adding the water and mix (or pulse). Add the salt and continue to mix adding all the water. Finish as you pour -slowly- the oil and mix (or pulse in the food processor) until it comes together.
- Pour onto a work surface and knead only until you get a smooth and soft dough.
- Oil a big bowl, put the dough ball in, and with your greasy fingers brush the top of the dough. Cover with a towel (or cling wrap) and let rise for about two hours or until doubled in size (I put the covered bowl in the oven, turned off and with the light on).
For the topping:
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, season with minced garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the e.v.o . oil. Let them sit a bit, they will get juicy and flavorful.
Assemble the focaccia:
- Grease a non-stick cookie sheet or oven tray with e.v.o. oil and, with greasy hands, transfer the dough on the sheet.
- Spread the dough in the sheet, pressing with your fingertips, creating little crates, until you reach the edges of the pan, always keeping your hands greasy. If you like a taller focaccia use a smaller sheet, and keep your edges thick. I'm not a fan, so I like to spread it somewhat thinner and have the edges a little crispier.
- Add the tomato halves on the focaccia with its juices and the minced garlic, pressing lightly to make them sink a little. Sprinkle with abundant oregano and drizzle (or brush) more e.v.o. oil on top of the focaccia.
- Let it rise again in the oven, turned off with the light on, for half an hour to an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (425° F).
- Bake in the lower part of the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until nice and golden.
- Let cool slightly and cut with scissors.
You can also use a round pan. The bigger the pan, the thinner the focaccia. Depending on the use, you might want it to be thicker to make a sandwich with, or maybe thinner and crisper to have as a nice aperitivo.
Experiment with toppings. You can add to the focaccia anchovies, rosemary, or olives. A sprinkle of coarse sea salt is optional but so good!
Allow the focaccia to cool slightly before cutting it.
Focaccia is at its best when it's freshly baked. Keep the leftover focaccia in a paper bag, or in the bread container. You can re-heat it in the oven or eat it cold.
- Prep Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
- Category: Bread, Pizza
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: focaccia, homemade, appetizer, cherry tomatoes, garlic, oregano. snack, party, bread, italian
I love baking and kneading dough because it takes me to a happy place in my soul.