Cherry Tomato and Olives Focaccia: the Easy Recipe for a Fluffy Italian Focaccia!

Total time: 1 hour / leavening time
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist

Cherry Tomatoes and Olives Focaccia is a soft and irresistible savory leavened product, typical of the Apulian tradition, in particular of the city of Bari. In our recipe we first made the yeast, which will have to rise for about 20 hours; once the necessary time has passed, we added water, more brewer's yeast and flour, so as to create a soft dough which will have to rise for about 2 hours. The dough will then be rolled out into the pan, pressing with your fingers to make the classic bubbles, and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, cherry tomatoes and olives, before cooking in the oven for about half an hour. The final result will be a soft and fragrant focaccia, to be enjoyed warm or cold.

What is Focaccia and What Makes it Different From Other Types of Bread?

Focaccia is a flat, oven-baked Italian bread that has a texture similar to pizza dough. It is known for its chewy texture, crisp crust, and rich flavor, which is typically enhanced with olive oil, salt, and various toppings like herbs, vegetables, and cheeses. This bread has its origins in ancient times, likely with the Etruscans or Greeks before it became a staple in Roman cuisine. Historically, Roman soldiers used to bake a version of focaccia, called "panis focacius," on hearthstones or in the ashes of the fire, which is where the name derives from—'focus' meaning ‘hearth' in Latin.

What sets focaccia apart from other breads is its distinctly moist texture, achieved by high olive oil content both in the dough and brushed on top before baking. This not only adds flavor but also creates a slightly crispy surface while keeping the inside soft and airy. Unlike other breads that might aim for a drier, fluffier texture, focaccia’s charm is in its density and oil-rich crumb. Its versatility is another unique aspect; focaccia can be seasoned simply with sea salt and rosemary or adorned with a variety of toppings to complement the meal or satisfy the baker’s creativity. This adaptability has led to numerous regional variations across Italy, each bringing its own local flavors and traditions to the basic formula, from adding olives and sundried tomatoes to incorporating slices of potato or swirls of caramelized onion.

Tips and Variations

The consistency of your dough can greatly impact the texture of the final bake. After mixing the starter with the remaining ingredients, the dough should be tacky but not overly sticky. If it feels too dry, add a little more water; if too wet, add a bit of flour.

– The dough's rising time can vary depending on the room temperature. Warmer environments might speed up the process, while cooler ones slow it down. Always look for the dough to roughly double in size, regardless of the exact time.

– Before baking, consider scoring the top of the dough with a sharp knife. This not only adds a rustic look but also helps control where the dough expands as it bakes.

– Ensure your oven is thoroughly preheated before baking for an even and consistent bake.

– Experiment with different herbs like rosemary, thyme, or oregano for varied flavors. A sprinkle of garlic powder or onion flakes can also add a nice touch.

– Add chunks of feta, slices of mozzarella, or sprinkles of parmesan before baking for a cheesy twist.

– Apart from cherry tomatoes and olives, consider incorporating thinly sliced bell peppers, red onions, or artichokes.

– Serve the bread with a side of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or a flavorful pesto or hummus for dipping.

– Sprinkle sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or crushed walnuts on top before baking for added texture and flavor.

– Mix up the flour types by using half whole wheat flour or adding some rye flour for a different flavor and denser texture.

More Focaccia Recipes You Might Love

Classic Focaccia Bread

Onion Focaccia

Mini Focaccia

Big Bubble Focaccia Bread

How to Store Cherry Tomatoes and Olives Focaccia

You can store the focaccia with olives and cherry tomatoes for 2 days in a food bag and in a cool, dry place.

Find out how to prepare Cherry Tomatoes and Olives Focaccia following the step-by-step recipe and advice.

For the yeast
160 grams
160 ml
Dry yeast
2 grams
For the dough
340 grams
Dry yeast
5 grams
12 grams
220 ml
For the topping
Cherry tomatoes
1/3 tsp
Olive oil
Basil leaves

How to Prepare Cherry Tomatoes and Olives Focaccia

In a bowl mix together water and 2 grams of yeast, to dissolve it.

Add 160 grams of flour and mix it with your hands, until the mixture has turned liquid.

Cover with plastic cling and then let it rest for about 20 hours.

Once the time as passed, take the mixture and add the flour, remaining 5 grams of yeast and salt.

Work it with your hands until a dough has started to form, then let it double in size for at least 2 hours.

In the meantime, in a bowl, start prepping the topping: cut the cherry tomatoes in half and mix them with olives, salt, basil and olive oil.

Transfer the dough to the baking pan, distribute it and then leave for 20 minutes.

Cover with a generous drizzle of olive oil and then work it with your hands, forming many little indentations.

Distribute the toppings unevenly, covering the entire surface. Bake in a preheated oven at 374°F (190°C) for 30 minutes.

Let the focaccia cool before serving it. Enjoy!

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