Cherry Tomato Focaccia
In this unusual focaccia, sweet-as-candy cherry and currant tomatoes, such as Sara’s Galapagos, Green Grape, Blondköpfchen, and Black Cherry, give a boost to savory bread. This makes a stunning presentation as an hors d’oeuvre or as part of a meal.Yields Serves 8
2 tsps active dry yeast
1 tsp honey or sugar
¾ cup lukewarm water, between 110 and 115 degrees
1 cup room temperature water
2/3 cup bread flour
4 cups all-purpose white flour
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
2 tsps salt
1 cup plus 2 Tbsps pure olive oil
¼ cup sliced garlic
1 pint assorted cherry and currant tomatoes
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
3 Tbsps basil leaves
1 tsp kosher or coarse salt
To make the focaccia dough
- Sprinkle the dry yeast over the lukewarm water and let it sit for 5 minutes, then stir in honey or sugar. Allow it to sit another 5 minutes until bubbly.
- Add the bread flour and combine to form the “sponge.” Rest it for 30 minutes.
- In a large separate bowl, combine the white and whole-wheat flours and the salt. Make a well in the flour and add the sponge, ¾ cup of olive oil, and the remaining cup of water. Mix until shaggy (this can be done in a mixer with the paddle).
- Once it becomes a shaggy mass, dump the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth.
- Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm spot, about 80 degrees, until it doubles in size. This should take about 1 ½ hours.
- While waiting for the dough to double, warm ¼ cup olive oil in a small saucepan and cook the garlic until tender. Reserve both the oil and the garlic.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Brush a cookie sheet or half sheet pan with the remaining 2 Tbsps of olive oil. Place the dough in the center and gently spread it out until the dough is about 8 inches by 12 inches.
- When the dough has just begun to rise, scatter the cooled garlic and olive oil over the top. Place the whole tomatoes on the surface of the dough, pushing slightly to fix them in place. Allow the dough to rise again to double its volume, surrounding the tomatoes.
- Bake until browned, about 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and continue baking for 10 more minutes.
- Chiffonade the basil. Sprinkle the salt and basil on the focaccia and serve.