Monday, November 23, 2015

Roasted Tomato Focaccia Bread

Last month was sadly the very last of the fresh local cherry tomatoes.  Cathleen and Barbara at work kept me rolling in tomatoes until the frosts set in and ruined my life.  I had a little container of them in the fridge still in October; they weren't as perfect as they were when they were first picked, but I still wanted to use them up, so when I found this gorgeous bread on Pinterest, I gave it a try.

This bread, besides being beautiful, is delicious!  The bread itself is flavored with thyme, and it's both chewy and light.  It has that great focaccia look, all dimpled and sprinkled with salt.  And, of course, it is topped with roasted cherry tomatoes that are somehow both sweet and salty at the same time.  They almost get dehydrated a bit in the oven, so the flavor is concentrated kind of like a sun-dried tomato, but wonderful.  This bread is perfect all by itself (like rip hunks of it off the baking sheet, I won't judge you), but it's just as amazing dipped into soups or used as the start of a kick-ass sandwich.  If you're going to make some homemade bread, this is probably the one you should be trying out.


roasted tomato focaccia bread
from Completely Delicious
serves 8

1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 - 2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, divided
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
coarse salt for sprinkling


1)  Heat the water and olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat until it starts to steam.  Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes, or until temperature is 120 - 130 degrees.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 1 cup of the bread flour with the salt, sugar, yeast, and half of the fresh thyme.  Add the water mixture and mix until it forms a wet dough, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

3) Add the remaining bread flour 1/4 cup at a time while mixing until dough clears the bowl and is tacky but doesn't stick to your fingers when touched.  You may not need all 2 1/2 cups flour.  Knead for 5 - 7 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Place dough in a greased bowl and turn to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

4) Punch down dough and knead a few times to remove air bubbles.  Shape dough into a rough 14-inch circle on a sheet pan.  Cover and let rise for an additional 15 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

5) Use your fingers to dimple the dough, pressing your fingers all the way down.  Brush with olive oil and gently press the tomatoes into the top of the dough.  Sprinkle with remaining thyme and a heavy pinch of salt.

6) Bake until golden brown, about 20 - 25 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Focaccia is best the day it is made, but it will keep well wrapped at room temperature for a few days.

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