Tomato & pesto focaccia

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Light, crispy and chewy, this focaccia is packed with flavour and is ideal torn apart to dip into oil, balamic vinegar or used as the base for a bruschetta.

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Post updated: March 2020 – new photos

I adore focaccia: for me it is up there in my top five breads, both to make and to eat.

As I have mentioned in previous focaccia posts, I really don’t think those dense, doughy affairs you can buy from the shops are worthy of the name focaccia: those ones are often little more than thick, tasteless bread with a few dusty old herbs thrown over and barely a lick of olive oil.

No, for me a focaccia is very light, crisp and littered with irregular-sized holes, and have a rich taste of olive oil:  perfection!

The simpler the better!

Whatever flavour focaccia I go for, I use my go-to (and fool-proof!) focaccia recipe: link below. I simply add the flavours I want to the finished dough and bake.

The main focaccia dough is made with a high proportion of water, which gives the irregular hole structure you want in a focaccia.

It is a very wet, loose dough and although it is a challenge to work by hand, the use of a food mixer (using the whisk attachment rather than the dough hook) makes this so simple!

The recipe

The recipe for my fool-proof focaccia is here.

A sourdough version:

If you want to make it sourdough, as I did here with these photos, you can simply omit the yeast from the recipe, reduce the water and flour by 50g each and replace with 100g sourdough starter.

Once mixed and gone through the food mixer, cover and leave overnight in the fridge (or for up to 48 hours for a tangier flavour) until well aerated and bubbly all over.

For this focaccia:

Here I simply made the dough as in the recipe above but without the onions and garlic in the recipe. Once the dough was made and pressed into the tin, I scattered over some small tomatoes, freshly made pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and small chunks of Parmesan.

Proportion-wise:

  • a generous handful of Parmesan chunks
  • about 10 small tomatoes (or a few larger tomatoes: they can be sliced neatly or torn apart!)
  • a couple of tablspoons of pesto
  • a handful of sun-dried tomatoes (drained from a jar of oil or out of the packet)

Just before it goes into the oven, push some of these little flavoured jewels deep into the dough, leaving a few on top to go gorgeously caramelised.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking & eating.

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