Do you know the phrase, “best thing since sliced bread”? Such a funny saying but it makes sense when you slice into this roasted cherry tomato and rosemary focaccia because it is seriously the best!
If you have read my other recipes posts, then you may be familiar with how I spent a full summer in Italy living with locals. During this time I was able to cook with my hosts and learn authentic Italian recipes such as seafood risotto, Mediterranean couscous, and spaghetti carbonara. Another recipe I absolutely loved learning was focaccia!
This recipe is very easy to make. Though it has kneading involved, you will see that the kneading process is actually hands-free. Moreover, the roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh rosemary add a burst of delicious flavor to the soft and airy focaccia.
You can enjoy the roasted cherry tomato and rosemary focaccia with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, marinara sauce, along with a bowl of pasta, or simply on its own.
Full disclaimer – This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on the link you will have the option to purchase a product at no extra cost to you, but I would receive a small commission. I want to thank everyone for following and supporting us on all of “Our Sweet Adventures.”
Foccacia in Brescia, Italy
This roasted cherry tomato and rosemary focaccia recipe is inspired by our two weeks spent in Brescia, Italy with our local hosts Ali, Marco, and their two sons. Ali and Marco would bake focaccia bread often for us and the family during our stay. One of my fondest memories is enjoying the focaccia in their camper at Lake Idro while we waited for the rain to pass.
Adam and I had to refrain ourselves from eating the entire loaf before anyone else could get a bite. It was hands down the best focaccia I ever had. So when we returned from the lake, Ali taught me how to make the focaccia from scratch.
Most focaccia recipes only use all-purpose flour. Ali taught me her secret to making the best focaccia… the addition of semolina flour and potato. The semolina flour adds a beautiful color and crisp texture to the focaccia. Whereas the potato helps keep the focaccia as soft as a pillow.
Ways to Eat Focaccia Bread
In addition to being flavorful, one reason why focaccia is one of my favorite loaves of bread is its versatility. You can eat focaccia bread in several different ways. If you are creative, the options are almost endless.
Of course, you can always eat focaccia bread as a side component to a salad or a bowl of soup. However, one of the best ways to eat focaccia bread is using it to soak up the last of the pasta sauce on your plate. This “technique” is referred to as scarpetta in Italy. In fact, while we were in Italy we ALWAYS had bread with pasta because of the Italian tradition of scarpetta.
A classic way of eating focaccia bread (found in most Italian-American restaurants) is dipping it in a plate of olive oil and balsamic vinegar or in a warm marinara sauce. Personally, I like to add a pinch of salt, pepper, and minced herbs to my olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It is so divine that I get full on focaccia before I even make it to the main entree.
The last way I enjoy eating focaccia is by using it as my sliced bread for sandwiches. Since focaccia is a thick bread, you can easily slice it in half horizontally. Then toast it for an extra crunchy texture, add your favorite meats, cheese, and components – viola, you have yourself a killer sandwich!
List of Ingredients for Roasted Cherry Tomato & Rosemary Focaccia
Here are the list of ingredients needed to make this delicious focaccia recipe.
- Dry active yeast
- Lukewarm water
- Olive Oil
- All-purpose flour
- Semolina flour
- Yukon golden potato
- Cherry (or grape) tomatoes
- Fresh rosemary
- Minced garlic
- Pepper to taste
- Coarse sea salt (such as Maldon salt)
How to Make Roasted Cherry Tomato & Rosemary Focaccia
The great thing about this roasted cherry tomato and rosemary focaccia bread is that you do not have to knead by hand! All you need is a countertop mixer with a dough hook attachment and you will be kneading hands-free.
Preparing the Focaccia
The first step is to peel, boil, and mash one potato (150g). Let the mashed potato cool in a small bowl. While it is cooling, you can begin working with the yeast.
In the countertop mixing bowl, add lukewarm water, sugar, and then sprinkle the yeast on top. Mixing the ingredients together is not needed because the yeast will begin working immediately. Let this stand for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast gets foamy.
Once the yeast is foamy, add the other half of lukewarm water, olive oil, and salt to the mixing bowl. Mix all the ingredients together. Then add the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and mashed potato.
Slowly (lowest speed) mix together all the ingredients with a dough hook. You do not want to start too fast or the flour will greet you in the face. Once the ingredients are fully combined, increase the speed to medium and begin the kneading process.
The mixer should knead the dough for 10 – 20 minutes. The focaccia dough will be ready when it comes together in a smooth, elastic ball. Since this is a wet dough, it will still be wet and sticky to the touch – that is okay.
Lightly grease a 9 x 13 in. baking pan with oil. Then place the focaccia dough in the pan and spread it out evenly. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm area until it has risen (at least doubled in size) and reached about 3/4 pan level – about 1 and a half hours.
Roasting the Cherry Tomatoes
While the focaccia dough is resting, prepare the roasted cherry tomatoes. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Then in a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, minced rosemary, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
Add the sliced cherry tomatoes and toss them together in the mixture. Once the cherry tomatoes are coated well, spread them out face up onto a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Bake the cherry tomatoes at 400°F for 25 minutes or until they blister. Let the cherry tomatoes cool and set aside.
Baking the Roasted Cherry Tomato & Rosemary Focaccia
Once the focaccia dough is finished rising, carefully remove the plastic wrap. Then pour some olive oil in a small shallow bowl. Dip your fingers in the olive oil and press them into the dough to create small indentions.
Sprinkle the coarse sea salt and minced rosemary on top of the dough. Lastly, place and firmly press the roasted cherry tomatoes into the dough.
Bake the roasted cherry tomato and rosemary focaccia in the oven at 375°F for 35 – 40 mins. Make sure you rotate the bread halfway through the baking process to get a beautiful golden brown color.
Tips & Tidbits
Making bread is not always easy, so here are a few tips and tidbits to help make successful focaccia.
Working with Yeast
If the water is too hot or cold when added with the yeast, the yeast can die. Moreover, if the dough does not rise during the resting process then that is a clear indicator the yeast is dead. If this happens, sadly you will need to throw the dough away and start from scratch.
Working with Humidity
One of the most difficult components of baking bread is when you have to work with humidity. Whether it is in a professional or home kitchen, humidity can play a huge role in the baking process. The best way to work with humidity is by adding more flour to your dough. Make sure you do not add too much at once, but slowly incorporate more flour until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Rising the Dough
The longer the dough rises, the more flavorful the bread will be when it is fully baked. So when you are letting this focaccia rest, make sure it does not just double in size, but it rises almost to the pan level. Moreover, the more it rises, the thicker the bread will be.
- 1 packet of Dry Active Yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 Yukon golden potato (150g)
- 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup semolina flour
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (Maldon salt)
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 1/2 pint roasted cherry tomatoes
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- 1/2 pint cherry (or grape) tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Then peel and cut a Yukon golden potato into cubes. Add it to the boiling water and cook until tender. Remove the potato and mash it into a small bowl. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, add 1 cup of lukewarm water to the countertop mixing bowl. Followed by the sugar and sprinkle the dry active yeast on top. Let the ingredients stand for 5 - 10 minutes until the yeast is foamy. Do not mix the ingredients together - the yeast will begin its process immediately.
- Once the yeast is foamy (should almost cover the entire surface of the water), add the remaining 1 cup of lukewarm water, olive oil, and salt. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the ingredients together until combined. Add the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and mashed potato to the mixing bowl. Start on the lowest speed, and mix all the ingredients together.
- When the ingredients are combined well, increase the speed to medium to begin the kneading process. The dough should be kneaded for 10 - 20 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. The dough will be ready when it forms into a ball. You can also take a rubber spatula and scrape the dough against the bowl. If the dough keeps its shape, it is ready. Also note, this is a wet dough, so it will be sticky.
- Lightly grease a 9 x 13 in. baking pan and place the focaccia dough in it. Carefully spread the dough evenly into the pan. Then cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for 1 - 1 and a half hours. The dough is ready when it has doubled in size and risen at least 3/4 to the pan level.
- While the dough is resting, begin roasting the cherry tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes lengthwise and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, minced rosemary, salt, and pepper together. Then toss the cherry tomatoes into the bowl until they are well coated.
- Place the cherry tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cherry tomatoes for 25 minutes or until they are blistered. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Lower the oven temperature to 375°F.
- Once the focaccia dough has doubled in size, carefully remove the plastic wrap. Pour some olive oil in a small shallow bowl and dip your fingers into it. Then using your fingers, make small indentions into the focaccia dough. Sprinkle coarse sea salt and minced garlic evenly on the dough. Followed by firmly pressing the roasted cherry tomatoes into the dough.
- Bake the focaccia at 375°F for 35 - 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The focaccia is baked to perfection when the edges and the top are beautifully golden brown.
Feel free to create your own focaccia flavor using this recipe as a base guideline.
You can enjoy the focaccia with a salad, soup, or pasta dish, dip it into warm marinara sauce or olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or slice it in half and use it for a sandwich.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, when you click on the link you will have the option to purchase a product at no extra cost to you, but I would receive a small commission. I want to thank everyone for following and supporting us on all of “Our Sweet Adventures” and for cooking with my recipes on "Christina's Culinary Creations".