During quarantine, baking has become super common, even for those who I know regularly avoid the kitchen. Even as someone who baked before this crazy time, I am finding myself baking much more frequently (also because I’m now with my parents, I’m I can share my baked creations with them, so my baked goods go by more quickly).
One of my favorite trends that came out of this crazy time is the garden focaccia trend, and it looked like a lot of fun to do. I had never made homemade focaccia before, and decorating the focaccia was an entertaining, stress relieving activity.
Inspiration came for this Garden Focaccia came from instagram, especially from NYT Cooking who made a post and wrote an article about the trend that encouraged me to get on it.
I used The Chef Sucre Facine recipe for Ridiculously Easy Focaccia Bread. I shared her recipe, including my edits/additions in red, below. FYI, I halved her recipe to get the amount of focaccia I used in my photo, but it’s so delicious, I would recommend doing the original amount.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)
- 2 cups warm tap water
- 1 teaspoon soft butter for greasing pan (can use vegan butter if vegan)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
Italian seasoning or finely chopped fresh herbs(because I used fresh herbs for the garden, I didn’t finely chop them. I used flaky sea salt I like Maldon(I used kosher salt)
- Your favorite fresh herbs (I used thyme, oregano and rosemary)
- Green onion
- Bell pepper (I happened to use mini, but regular will also do). Try to get ones that aren’t green for color contrast).
- Cherry tomatoes (I used sangria tomatoes for color contrast)
- Red onion
Prepare the dough
In a medium-large bowl, combine flour, salt, and instant yeast. Stir well. Add the warm water. Using a Danish Whisk, sturdy wooden spoon or a rubber spatula, mix until all of the flour is well incorporated (there should be no small pockets of flour.
Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.Instead of refrigerating, I covered the bowl and waited until dough doubled in size, around 3-4 hours.
Lightly butter two 9-inch cake pans.I used a baking sheet. Line pans with parchment paper. Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into the center of each pan.Divide dough in half with a large spoon or rubber spatula and place one piece of dough in each pan, turning to coat with oil. Tuck edges of dough underneath to form a rough ball.I did half the recipe and still split the dough in half to get the size I used in my picture.
Cover each pan tightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough balls to rest for 2 hours (it may take as long as 3 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen).The dough should cover most of the pan. I let the dough rise until it doubled in size again, around 1 and 1/2 hours.
Construct your garden:
- Try to use a blend of colors, there is no right or wrong way to do this!
- Cover dough with vegetables and herbs, both roast so nicely in the focaccia and add so much flavor to it. Get in tune with your inner Picasso and create your own design!
Preheat oven to 450˚F with a rack positioned in the center of the oven.
Drizzle another tablespoon of oil over each round of dough. With oiled fingers, using both hands, press straight down and create deep dimples that go all the way through the dough (in other words, you’ll actually be making deep holes.) If necessary, gently stretch the dough as you dimple to allow the dough to fill the pan.Skipped this step, dough was already so oily and there wasn’t any space left once I added all the vegetables/herbs on my dough to put more olive oil
Sprinkle tops with
Italian seasoning (or fresh herbs) and flaky seakosher salt.
Transfer the pans to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 425˚F. Bake for 22
to 28minutes, until the tops are golden and the undersides are crisp. Remove pans from the oven. With a metal spatula remove bread rounds from the pans and transfer to a cooling rack.
Serve warm or allow to cool completely then store in a zippered bag.
To freeze, allow bread to cool completely, then transfer to a ziplock bag and freeze. Thaw and enjoy at room temperature or warm for 10 minutes in a 350˚F oven.
Enjoy and let me know if you @ahavabite, I’d love to see your artistic creations!