Cherry Tomato Focaccia
Summer is winding down here in the Northeast U.S., but I’ve still got plenty of teensy cherry tomatoes ripening on the vine in my garden. These mini cherry tomatoes are perfect atop a focaccia, although you could certainly use regular-sized cherry tomatoes instead. The basic no-knead focaccia recipe comes from Bon Appetit, and I added the tomatoes and rosemary. Feel free to try other herbs, such as thyme or oregano if rosemary isn’t to your liking.
The hardest part of this recipe is stretching the dough across the pan. It keeps wanting to spring back, but be persistent and keep pressing and stretching until it reaches all the edges. (NOT TRUE – SEE UPDATE BELOW)
UPDATE: Let the dough rise a second time in the pan BEFORE trying to stretch it out. It works much much better that way. This is a photo of the dough when I tried to stretch it out before letting it rise a second time. It worked, but it’s much better to let the blob of dough sit in the pan to rise a second time before pressing it out.
This is a photo of the dough after it had risen a second time. Only then, did I try to stretch it while in the pan, and it had already stretched nearly to all the edges by itself. After it had risen, and I stretched it the rest of the way into the corners of the pan, I dimpled it with fingers that were wet with a little olive oil.
Then I scattered the tomatoes, minced rosemary and kosher salt on top, with another little drizzle of olive oil.
Bake it in a 450 degree F. oven for about 20 minutes to a half hour, or until lightly golden.
The recipe makes enough for a crowd, so if you can’t eat it all the same day it’s baked, it’s best to freeze the leftovers and reheat another day.
Bon Appetit’s recipe calls for a brush of melted butter on top, but I prefer to drizzle with a bit more olive oil and sea salt, Pour yourself a nice drink, and enjoy a slice of this focaccia as a perfect accompaniment.
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- 1 ¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.)
- 2 tsp. honey
- 5 cups (625 g) all-purpose flour
- 5 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 Tbsp. Morton kosher salt
- 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for hands
- a bunch of cherry tomatoes
- butter to grease the pan
- Flaky sea salt
- minced fresh rosemary
- Whisk one ¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.), 2 tsp. honey, and 2½ cups lukewarm water in a medium bowl and let sit 5 minutes (it should foam or at least get creamy; if it doesn’t your yeast is dead and you should start again—check the expiration date!).
- Start adding the flour and salt, but add only four cups flour at first and mix. Add more flour if needed. What you want is a shaggy dough with no dry streaks of flour.
- Pour 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil into a big bowl that will fit in your refrigerator.
- Transfer dough to bowl and turn to coat in oil.
- Cover with a silicone lid or plastic wrap and chill until dough is doubled in size (it should look very bubbly and alive), at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
- If you're in a rush, you can also let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 3–4 hours.
- After the dough has risen double in size, use a silicone spatula, gather up edges of dough farthest from you and lift up and over into center of bowl.
- Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat process.
- You want to deflate dough while you form it into a rough ball.
- Generously butter a 13x9" baking pan, for thicker focaccia that’s perfect for sandwiches, or an 18x13" rimmed baking sheet, for focaccia that's thinner, crispier, and great for snacking.
- The butter may seem superfluous, but it’ll ensure that your focaccia doesn’t stick.
- Pour 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil into center of pan.
- Dump the dough to the center of the prepared pan.
- If you try to stretch it out right away to the corners of the pan, it will be difficult.
- Wait ten or fifteen minutes, then stretch out the dough. It will be much easier.
- Pour any oil left from the bowl over and turn dough to coat it in oil.
- Let rise a second time, uncovered in the baking sheet, in a dry, warm spot (like near a radiator or on top of the fridge or a preheating oven) until doubled in size, at least 1½ hours and up to 4 hours.
- Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 450°.
- To see if the dough is ready, poke it with your finger. It should spring back slowly, leaving a small visible indentation.
- If it springs back quickly, the dough isn’t ready. (If at this point the dough is ready to bake but you aren’t, you can chill it up to 1 hour.)
- Lightly oil your hands. If using a rimmed baking sheet, gently stretch out dough to fill.
- Dimple focaccia all over with your fingers, creating very deep depressions in the dough (reach your fingers all the way to the bottom of the pan).
- Place cherry tomatoes throughout the focaccia, pushing them down into the dough,
- Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and the minced rosemary.
- Bake focaccia until puffed and golden brown all over, 20–30 minutes.
- Drizzle with more olive oil and additional salt if needed.
- Focaccia is best eaten the day it's made, but keeps well in the freezer.
- Slice it into pieces, store it in a freezer-safe container, then reheat it on a baking sheet in a 300° F oven.
I think I would eat the entire focaccia, Linda! Especially if it’s still warm!
This is beautiful. And I’ve got a million ripe baby tomatoes waiting for me to make this focaccia!
Linda, what a perfect way to use the last of your season cherry tomatoes. A big slice of your focaccia bread, a glass of red wine and some nice olive oil for dipping and it’d be set…
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