Our focaccia brings together savory herbs and garlic with the sweetness of late summer cherry tomatoes. The chives cook down to impart a wonderful onion flavor.
Yields six to eight servings.
- ¾ teaspoon dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon malt syrup or honey
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- In a bowl, stir together the yeast, water and malt syrup or honey.
- Set aside until it becomes bubbly approximately five minutes. Stir in the flour.
- Cover and leave at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
- 1¾ cups bread flour
- ½ cup overnight sponge
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon medium rye flour
- Extra virgin olive oil
- In the bowl of a standard mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine sponge with milk, water, yeast and both flours. Mix until incorporated about three minutes. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and rest 15 minutes.
- Mix on low speed 2 minutes to incorporate the salt. Increase to high speed for 2 minutes. Remove the dough to a bowl generously brushed with extra virgin olive oil. Turn the dough in the bowl to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a fairly cool place for 45 minutes.
- Remove plastic and fold the top half of the dough over the center then fold the bottom half of the dough over the top (like an envelope) and flip the dough over. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Repeat the folding process. Leave the dough to rise for half an hour.
- Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a loose ball. Generously brush the baking pan with extra virgin olive oil and place the dough seam side down in the center of the pan. Gently press the dough down and outward with your fingertips. Allow dough to rest and relax after dimpling. Continue to dimple and press the dough outward toward the sides of the pan. Brush the surface with olive oil. Cover and allow to rise for ½ hour.
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes (an assortment of sweet 100s, black krim and other small varieties)
- Kosher salt
- black pepper, coarsely ground
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles
- 1 ounce fresh chives, cut in half
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Asiago cheese, grated
- 1 garlic bulb, roasted
- 1 tablespoon Maldon sea salt
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Prepare tomatoes: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place tomatoes on a baking tray and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove tomatoes to a cooling rack.
- Remove plastic from focaccia. Beginning at the edge, press the tomatoes into the dough leaving ¼-inch space between. Cut the roasted garlic bulb in half and squeeze the cloves out onto a small dish. Press the garlic pieces into the dough sporadically between the tomatoes. Sprinkle the Asiago, rosemary, chives and lemon zest over the entire focaccia. Generously drizzle the focaccia with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place focaccia on the middle rack and immediately throw three handfuls of ice cubes into the roasting pan to create steam. Close the oven door and bake the focaccia for 35 to 45 minutes rotating the tray twice to ensure even cooking. The tomatoes will char and the overall focaccia should be nicely caramelized.
- Remove focaccia to a cooling rack. Allow the focaccia to cool for 5 minutes then using a spatula, carefully slide focaccia out of the pan and onto the cooling rack to finish cooling. This will help keep the focaccia crisp.
You don't have to be a master baker like Metropolitan's James Barrett to make delicious French-inspired delights at home. Here are several favorites—some savory, some sweet—adapted by James for the home chef.