Focaccia Files Part II: Tomato Basil Focaccia

Ever since I made the Peach Focaccia, I’ve wanted to make it again, but switching it up with a savory version using tomatoes instead of peaches. I followed the New York Times recipe, swapping out the peaches, sugar, and thyme with cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and basil. It turned out great! Everyone agreed it was very tasty, in fact it was hard to stop eating it.

I used Nature Sweet Constellation tomatoes because there were red, yellow, and green ones in the container which made the bread colorful and just as pretty as it was delicious. Also, using a very coarse salt on top just before baking was a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Nonstick cooking spray, as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely sliced

Preparation

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the warm water, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter and set aside.
  2. With the mixer on low, add the flour, salt, egg, 3 tablespoons sugar and melted butter. Continue until the dough is almost completely smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough will be very sticky, but no need to add extra flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm, draft-free spot until it has doubled in size. (This could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.) Gently punch the dough down, scrape the sides down and cover again. Let the dough rise one more time, about 30 minutes.
  3. Toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, and 1/4 cup of minced basil, set aside. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Tip the dough onto the prepared sheet and use your fingers to stretch it out to a large oval, roughly 10-by-15 inches. Allow the dough to rise, uncovered, in a warm spot to about 1/4 inch above the edge of the pan.
  4. Without deflating the dough, use your fingers to make dimples all over the surface. Gently top the dough with the tomatoes, leaving any extra liquid in the bowl. Sprinkle with the coarse sea salt then bake until golden brown, puffed and set, 20 to 25 minutes.
  5. Gently brush remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the focaccia then top with remaining basil. Let cool slightly in the pan on a rack, then slip the focaccia out of the pan onto a cutting board, cut into squares and serve warm.

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