Rosemary cherry tomato focaccia
When I have a dinner party or really party of any sort, it’s pretty much a guarantee that I will make bread if time possibly allows. As I said in my prior post about focaccia, this really is about the easiest type of yeast bread you can possibly make. It’s just not hard to do – very few ingredients, mix them together, let them rise, put it on a baking sheet. The best timing for this is on a Saturday when you can make it in the afternoon and let it have plenty of time to rise before people come over, but sometimes you can also make the dough the night before, wait till it rises, put it in the fridge overnight to stop the rising process, and then take it out of the fridge and continue the bread shaping process the next day. Yes, making bread is certainly more of a time commitment than some other baked goods, but it is just so worth it. The smell of freshly baking bread when guests come in is just a kickass hostess move in my opinion.
This is a great savoury focaccia and goes amazingly well with fresh roasted garlic. (You know, when you roast a whole head of garlic until it’s so soft that you can just take it out of the clove and spread it on something? Do that on this.)
Rosemary cherry tomato focaccia (adapted from Technicolor Kitchen)
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons dried yeast
500g all purpose flour
100ml extra-virgin olive oil + extra for greasing and drizzling
¾ teaspoon table salt
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
5-7 rosemary sprigs (you can also use fresh thyme, or both)
sea salt (Maldon preferred, obviously) and freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl combine sugar, yeast and ¼ cup (60ml) warm water. Mix with a fork and stand in a warm place until foamy (5 minutes). To the yeast mixture add about half the flour, oil, table salt and 200ml room temperature water (so warm-ish). Stir until combined, then slowly add the rest of the flour and mix in until a soft smooth dough forms. Now it’s kneading time – with flour-coated hands, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, adding more flour to the dough if necessary if it’s too sticky, and knead the dough until it’s easy to handle and comes together well. I like doing this for about 5 minutes – you don’t want to over-knead, but it is really relaxing/satisfying to just knead dough. (Seriously.) Transfer to a large bowl sprayed with non-stick spray, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and/or a tea towel and stand until doubled in size (at least 1 hour). Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and, using your hands, shape it into a rectangle that covers the entire sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise again – this can be shorter (about 30 minutes) or you can let that rise for an hour or two as well, depending on your timing.
Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Press tomatoes cut-side up into dough, scatter with the rosemary, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle sea salt and black pepper all over it. Bake until golden and cooked through (15-18 minutes). Keep an eye on it as overbaked/burned bread is the worst feeling ever. It will be a lovely golden colour and smell heavenly when it’s done, although it really smells amazing starting from minute 7.
Told you this isn’t a photography blog. So here’s the dough. Forgot to capture the how-to of making the dough because I did it so fast. (Not to brag – you can do it that fast too – this dough literally comes together in <15 minutes.)
I definitely recommend anyone wanting to throw a little dinner party to invest the time in making some bread – all you need that you might not normally have on hand is yeast, and once you’ve made fresh bread once, everyone in your life will want you to do it repeatedly.