Monday, April 23, 2012

Cherry Tomato Focaccia with Garlic and Basil


"The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight." ~ M.F.K. Fisher

Until few years ago, the term "homemade-freshly-baked-bread" was non-existent in my food dictionary. I never knew bread can me made at home. Well, that does sound silly today, but at that time that's what I thought. Over and above, I suffered from what I call "yeast-o-phobia". All you bread-bakers know what I mean. At first, bread making may sound like a daunting task, quite intimidating too. It seems difficult just for the fact that - at any step one could go wrong and end up with a chewy, inedible bread. Trust me, it happened to me too!. After couple of batches of bread dough ending up in the trash can, I conquered my fear almost four years ago. It was an exhilarating experience and there is no looking back since then! :-).
 
nothing beats the taste of freshly baked bread - house smells divine. that's for sure! 
One of my all time favorite bread recipes with yeast  is - No Knead Pizza by Jim Lahey. From New York Times to Huffington Post, almost everybody featured it. My personal experience with recipe gave awesome results and it works for its sheer simplicity. If you are a novice bread baker, then I would go for Jim's recipe and fall instantly in love making bread at home!

Let the magic of yeast begin..
....and if ever you want for a bread which rarely fails and very forgiving, perfect to dip in olive oil sprinkled with salt or balsamic vinegar, then this is it: Focaccia. I tried my hand for the first time with Roasted Sweet Pepper Focaccia Bread in a cast iron skillet. Oh my, the taste still lingers in my mouth. It was that good to be one of popular posts on this blog and got featured on food52 as well.

bread dough...after two hours, doubled in size
Today's recipe - Focaccia with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and hint of garlic is an ultimate classic combination. One could easily take this idea and come up with other topping such as - rosemary, roasted garlic, mixed herbs, caramelized onions, olives etc. In any form or shape, I promise you will end up with an absolutely delicious piece of bread.

cherry tomatoes with basil..
The trick here in this recipe is to let the tomatoes, basil and garlic sit in olive oil as long as possible to get an excellent infused oil, which works best as a topping for focaccia. If fresh herbs are not available, use dried ones. It is important to use olive oil (extra virgin, if possible) and  please note that such flavored oils mostly depend on personal taste and involves some trial and error to get the right amount of zing that suits one's palate.

cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and garlic induced in extra virgin olive oil

focaccia .. fresh out of oven..

Cherry Tomato Focaccia with Garlic and Basil


{Recipe} Cherry Tomato Focaccia with Garlic and Basil

Ingredients:

Makes 2 medium sized loaves

For Bread Dough:

1.5 cups of milk
1 tsp sugar
2.5 tsp of active dry yeast
3 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or just olive oil works too)
1 tbsp cornmeal or semolina (coarse sooji)

For Topping:

20-25 cherry tomatoes, halved
10 basil leaves, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil  (or just olive oil works too)
salt

Preparation:

1. In a sauce pan, dissolve sugar in milk. Heat until luke warm and transfer in a small bowl. Add active dry yeast and let it proof for 10 mins. (it will form foamy bubbles and slightly  increase in volume)

2. In a large bowl, add 1.5 cups of all purpose flour and salt. Add in the yeast mixture with olive oil. Mix. Add in rest of the more flour little by little until the dough is slightly sticky. Transfer on a floured surface and knead for 4-5 mins. the dough should be smooth and elastic. Place in a greased large bowl. Make sure there is enough room for the dough to double. Cover with a plastic wrap or damp towel and leave in a warm place for approximately 2 hours.

3. For the topping - heat olive oil until warm in a pan. Add garlic, basil and cherry tomatoes. Cover and let is stand for atleast 30-45 mins.

4. On a greased baking sheet, sprinkle some corn meal or semolina. Slightly punch down the risen dough and divide into two portions. Gently roll into desired shape. Transfer onto the baked sheet and gently stretch. Cover again with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rise for another 45 mins.

5. Preheat oven to 425 F or 220 C. Poke indents on the dough and generously drizzle tomato-basil-garlic olive oil. the oil must pool in the indentations. Sprinkle some salt and bake for 20 minutes. Once done, let it still for 5 mins and Serve with olive oil or balsamic vinegar on the side. Yum! :-)


~*~Have a great week ahead folks!~*~



until next time,

35 comments :

  1. I love baking and baked bread only once, whole wheat focaccia. I would love to bake more husband is not very fond of breads, specially eating at home.

    That is a perfectly baked focaccia

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  2. Very delicious bread..baking bread gives me more satisfaction as hubby is very fond of home made bread..

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    Replies
    1. Even my husband is. the satisfaction is indeed priceless. Isn't it. I can't wait to bake more bread recipes. It is that addictive.

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  3. Bread looks so good,..nd flavorful,..beautiful pics too,..

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  4. Pizza has come out perfect ... Loved the snaps .. I'm still the one who is afraid of yeast .. when i overcome the fear will try this out :)

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  5. I love freshly made breads... even better if it's homemade. The pics are awesome.

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  6. I have never really baked focaccia. It looks so fluffy and nice. I can eat that jar full of cherry tomatoes and garlic in olive oil just y itself with a spoon! YUM

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    Replies
    1. Chinmayie - Focaccia is the easiest of all breads. You should give it a try sometime. I did the same - licked the left over tomatoes topping with my fingers. ;-)

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  7. Wat a wonderful toppings, simply fantastic..bread looks prefect..

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  8. Super yummy Siri, just like an Italian!

    Ciao
    Alessandra
    http://alessandrazecchini.blogspot.co.nz/

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    Replies
    1. Not sure how much italian-ness is there in my recipe, but thanks for the compliment Alessandra. :-)

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  9. Focaccia looks very tempting.... perfect bread.I have the yeast phobia too and ur bread making tempts me to try :)

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    Replies
    1. Sharmi - Home-made bread gives you such a kick that it is worth a try. I hope you do pretty soon.

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  10. siri this is up my list, got active yeast over the weekend but never got a chance to bake, will use ur recipe and give it a try, its going to first for me

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    Replies
    1. Now, I am really eager and curious to know how will yours be. Happy bread baking Sriii.

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  11. Yummy looking focaccia. Love the addition of cherry tomatoes and basil -- will try your version next.

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    Replies
    1. You can even sliced roma tomatoes Pavani. Any tomatoes that are available. Roasting them gives such nice, tangy flavor in every bite. :-)

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  12. I'm still in that phase where baking bread scares the pants off me! I have had one experience of my loaf being about as soft as a brick and that's that! I gave up... at least for now :(
    But posts like yours give me hope... maybe someday I can also make this gorgeous cherry tomato, basil and garlic focaccia! but until I get rid of that yeast-o-phobia, I will just ogle at your pictures and sigh!

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    Replies
    1. Swati - Trust me when I say I was in the same boat few years ago. But, slowly & steadily I overcame the fear. One thing I did was give myself some room for trial & error and NOT to give up until I end up with fluffy home-made-bread! :-)

      Hope to see your journey for bread baking will begin soon and then rest will be history!

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    2. Thanks for all the encouragement Siri! Bolstered by it, Im going to attempt something tomorrow... will let you know how it turns out ;)

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    3. All the besties Swati. :-)

      Siri

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  13. Thats a beautiful looking bread Siri...love the pictures...Bread baking is just such a wonderful feeling when you get it right :)

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely Arch. Bread baking is very therapeutic as well. :-)

      Siri

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  14. I dread baking bread. You make it sound simple. My BP always shoots when I am baking.:D

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  15. Lovely ! the tomatoes r so tempting. I have made focaccia twice now the first time I used a small dish n it rose high but was yummy. Do you think roasting the tomatoes fr some time before placing them on the bread will make them more flavorful.

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    Replies
    1. Roasting tomatoes before placing them will definitely give it more flavor. :-)

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  16. Those pictures and the infused basil and tomato made me sooooo hungry! Great photos and love this recipe!

    www.agirlandherfood.com

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  17. The focaccia is currently baking in my oven, it smells amazing! Thanks so much for the great recipe - it was fun on this rainy day.

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Siri

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