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.
Just as an FYI, in the picture I have here, I tried cutting down on the oil and rise time with the exact same recipe and it turned out more like a flatbread, and less like a fluffy focaccia (as you can see from the picture). I updated the recipe below once I found the perfect rise time and oil amount for the perfect taste/consistency for focaccia (see the fluff/golden factor in this picture).
I was inspired by The Chef Sucre Facine recipe for Ridiculously Easy Focaccia Bread.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)
- 2 cups warm tap water
- 2 teaspoon soft butter for greasing pan (can use oil if vegan)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Italian seasoning or finely chopped fresh herbs (because I used fresh herbs for the garden, I didn’t finely chop them)
- 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. Put 2 tbsp oil in a separate bowl and fold and turn the dough in new bowl so that the dough is covered in oil. Cover and wait until dough doubled in size, around 1 hour. Place in fridge for 8-24 hours, or if in a rush let rise for two more hours at room temperature.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper (optional). To get the dough amount I used in my picture for the garden focaccia, split the dough in half. Put 2 tsp oil on the pan, spread evenly, and add the dough on top. Either make dough balls and spread out into the shape you want, or if using full recipe (and want to cover the sheet pan), stretch out the dough to fit the pan (you might need to let it rest in between stretching). Wait for it to rise 1-1.5 more hours, and add 2 tbsp olive oil on top of a full sheet worth of dough.
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.
Sprinkle tops with Italian seasoning (or fresh herbs) and flaky sea salt (or kosher salt).
Bake for 22-25 minutes, until the tops are golden. Remove pans from the oven.
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!