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Fresh tomato and basil focaccia

May 28, 2011

Tomato and basil focaccia When I bought some focaccia from Baker & Spice the other day I knew I just had to make some at home.  With a truss of organic tomatoes on the vine, a punnet of slightly over-ripe cherry tomatoes and a fragrant bunch of basil, all locally produced and from the market, I had the best ingredients.

Tomatoes and basil

I wanted a slightly more substantial and tastier base so played around with a mixture of flours.  It gave me the rustic look and more earthy flavours I was looking for.  Making focaccia is pretty easy and a loaf like this is huge on the wow factor.  I really like the feel of the silky dough when you push your fingers in to make the distinctive focaccia dimples.   Warm from the oven, it’s so satisfying tearing off a hunk to eat with cheese or to dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  If I’ve got a bunch of friends round for supper I like to serve a big bread like this and some Italian wine.

Dough with tomatoes and basil

Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food for Families is hosting this month’s Fresh From The Oven Challenge and asked us to share our favourite savoury bread recipes that can be served at either picnics, BBQ’s, or just make sandwiches a bit more interesting.  The tomato and basil focaccia definitely ticks all these boxes.

Tomato and basil focaccia

Tomato and basil focaccia  – Inspired by River Cottage Handbook No.3: Bread by Daniel Stevens and Jamie’s Kitchen

Ingredients

350g strong white bread flour
150g wholemeal bread flour (you can use all white too)
5g dried yeast
7g sea salt plus extra for sprinkling
About 325ml warm water
Extra virgin olive oil
Two handfuls of tomatoes (on the truss if possible)
4 bushy stems of basil

Tomato and basil focaccia

Method

I use a free-standing mixer with a dough hook (my KitchenAid).  You can knead this by hand quite easily but the dough is quite sticky.

Put the flour, yeast, salt and water in the bowl and mix until combined.  Add a tablespoon of oil and knead in the machine for about 10 minutes until smooth and silky.

Tip out the dough, wash the bowl, dry it and rub the insides with a little oil.  Shape the dough into a rough round shape, tip back into the bowl and flip it over so slightly coated.  Cover the top with cling film and leave until doubled in size (about an hour).

Stretch the dough out on the work surface into a rough rectangle and put into an oiled baking tray (about 25 x 35 cm).  Smooth the dough right into the corners, it will need a bit of encouragement to stay there.  Cover with oiled cling film or a clean tea towel for about half an hour to rise again.  Put the oven on to heat up to 250C

Dig your fingers right down to the bottom of the risen dough to make a dimpled surface.  Put the tomatoes in a bowl, coat with some olive oil and season with some black pepper.  Arrange the tomatoes on the bread, tear the basil leaves and scatter over the top and drizzle with olive oil letting it settle into some of the holes.  Sprinkle with salt.

Put it into the oven for 10 minutes and then turn down the heat to 200C for a further 10 minutes.  Carefully give the base of the bread a little tap to check that it’s cooked through.  Serve warm on it’s own or with some runny soft cheese like Mont d’Or.

Tomato and basil focaccia

20 Comments
  1. May 28, 2011 9:39 am

    Oh man, this is a masterpiece *drool*.

  2. May 28, 2011 11:05 am

    I agree with Cindy! My first thought was…”it’s like a work of art!”. Well done!

  3. Anna permalink
    May 28, 2011 2:14 pm

    I keep meaning to have a megga session…where I try out loads of your recipies, at least ones you can do in bed sit with no utensils… this one looks like it could be a fun one, and cherry tomatoes are on offer in LIDL this week!

  4. May 28, 2011 2:27 pm

    Looks wonderful! I love that you kept the tomatoes whole and on the vine. So dramatic!

  5. May 28, 2011 2:37 pm

    Wow! This looks amazing!
    I love fresh tomatoes in general, and I love focaccia, so this is very appealing :))

  6. May 28, 2011 2:41 pm

    This is hands down the best focaccia ever – love that you used fresh basil.
    🙂 Mandy

  7. May 28, 2011 6:09 pm

    looks lovely sally – another one for my files to try!

  8. May 28, 2011 6:23 pm

    Stunning! I love that you kept the tomatoes on the vine and just baked them right in. I would just love to tear into this! Great job with this month’s challenge 🙂

  9. May 28, 2011 6:27 pm

    wow. this focaccia looks incredible. i love the rustic look of the tomatoes still on the vine. nice work.

  10. May 28, 2011 7:26 pm

    OHMYGOD. all my favourite things in one. Looks heavenly.

  11. May 29, 2011 12:17 am

    All is right with the world. I was fascinated with the beautiful shot you took at the market of similar bread recently, and your own version is absolutely gorgeous. As I said before, I will be making this!

  12. May 29, 2011 1:01 am

    Your photos are beautiful. The tomatoes really give a vibrant burst of colour, don’t they. Looks amazing!

  13. May 29, 2011 7:45 am

    I love the idea of using the whole tomatoes in this bread! It looks wonderful! I will have to try this very soon. Thanks for sharing!

  14. May 29, 2011 5:18 pm

    What a splendid facaccia! I’d love to have a slice.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  15. May 29, 2011 7:21 pm

    Wow- that looks absolutely delicious! And (frequenting Baker and Spice regularly for their lush coffee, as we live near-ish by) most definitely superior! A is sitting next to me asking me why I haven’t yet made him foccacia- I most definitely will be now!

  16. Anna permalink
    June 5, 2011 2:27 am

    Being a student in a tiny kitchen, I used a bread mix and added olive oil, which worked well. The basil leaves went rather dry and crispy, and blew around my fierce fan oven like autumn leaves – next time I will coat them with oil and pepper with the tomatoes, so they will stick better. I expected the dough under the juicy, bursting tomatoes to be soggy, but it wasn’t. A succulent success.

  17. June 10, 2011 10:05 pm

    This looks AWESOME. Foccacia is one of my favorites And I actually really love the stems on there!

  18. June 13, 2011 4:06 pm

    Gorgeous – juts gorgeous! Like a weekend in Italy 🙂

  19. June 14, 2011 12:38 am

    Great focaccia. I have tons of baby tomatoes from my garden. I will need to try making this.

    • June 14, 2011 8:08 am

      Good tomatoes make such a difference. Enjoy.

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