I love bread. Especially when it’s fresh and warm (or steaming hot!) from the oven. Focaccia is one of those breads that is so versatile. You have the basic dough, and then as far as toppings, they sky is the limit--do you want savory, sweet, herby, cheesy, meaty, or veggie? Use your imagination!
That’s just what I did when Shulie of Food Wanderings asked me if I’d like to join the Bread Baking Society. They want to (from Lora’s site) “inspire you to bake more bread in your kitchen. We want you to bake along with us every month and break bread with your family and friends. We want to spark a bread baking passion across the nation and the world around.” There are three founders--Shulie, Lora of Cake Duchess, and Marnely of Cooking with Books. Please see Lora’s site, Cake Duchess for the info on the BBS!
When Shulie asked me to join in, she said she couldn’t wait to see my twist on a focaccia. Uh oh...a twist. Hmmmm… “I’d better make it something good,” I thought. I’m so happy that she put it that way, because it really got me thinking! While talking to Billy about what I could top it with, the idea slammed right into my head. Italian deli sandwich. I could take my favorite things from one of those and top off this bread! I couldn’t put everything on it, of course--that would be too much. But I pulled some of the most flavorful aspects from the sandwich to use here.
Salty hard salami, sharp Provolone, sweet red onion, and tender tomatoes. And how could I not use vinegar, oil and some flavor packed dried herbs? I also picked up a jar of sliced deli peppers to use--and forgot to add them. Gah! Next time.
For the bread, I went with pretty much my bread baking usual, the Artisan Bread in Five method. In a busy home with six people, this bread baking method has changed my life! It takes literally five minutes to mix up the dough, and there’s no kneading. Just let it rise in the container for 2 hours at room temp, then toss it in the fridge. Want bread? Take some of the dough, shape it, let it rest 20 minutes, and bake. EASY. And you can bake any kind of bread your heart desires! If you’re still on the fence about trying it, I urge you to please give it a try.
I used the Master Recipe from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. If you like pizza and other flatbreads (and who doesn’t?) you need to give this book a try. Whip up the dough and you can be having a pizza party in no time. Your family and friends will love you for it!
Italian Deli Focaccia
Makes one Focaccia, roughly 17 x 12 inches
- Prepare the Artisan Pizza and Flatbread Master Recipe, found here. Just the water, oil, yeast, salt and flour, not the toppings. You’ll have half the dough left, so you can make another focaccia or some pizza!
- Let it rise for 2 hours at room temp, and for easier handling, chill it in the fridge for a bit
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp freshly minced garlic (one clove)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
pinch of kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Sliced Hard Salami, cut in strips (about 1/2 cup total)
Sliced Provolone cheese, also cut in strips
Thinly sliced red onion
About 1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line an 18x13 inch (or roughly the same size) baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush it with olive oil, set aside.
Whisk the oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl, set aside.
Sprinkle the dough in the container with a bit of flour. With a serrated knife, cut the dough in half, and using floured hands, pull half of it out. Quickly shape it into a ball and set it on your lined baking sheet. Flatten it with your hands and keep gently pressing and dimpling it with your fingertips until it's filled most of the sheet.
Brush it with the oil and vinegar mixture. I used all of it, being sure to get most of the garlic and herbs on the dough, and also--brush the oil all the way to the edges of the dough.
Gently press the tomatoes on the dough, and then sprinkle the other toppings over. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
After the 20 minutes, dimple the entire focaccia again with your fingertips. This helps the toppings stay on during baking.
Place the sheet on the middle rack in your oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check it after 15 minutes to see if it's browning too quickly. If it is, turn the pan around.
Remove from the oven when done, and place the focaccia on a rack to cool for a few minutes. Then pig out like we did! OINK!
- This is great as is, but we made open faced sandwiches with it for dinner. I took squares of the focaccia, topped them with a slice of salami and a slice of provolone, and heated them under the broiler to melt the cheese.
- Don’t feel limited to these toppings--use what you like! And don’t forget the peppers, like I did.
- Picnic season is upon us! This would be fabulous at any outdoor gathering.