Focaccia with “treasures”

Focaccia with “treasures”; a brilliant bread from Sicily.

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It’s no secret that I admire Lana from Bibberche—heck, I dedicated a whole post to her once—and it’s no secret that I love bread, so this week, when the two met in my kitchen (not literally, more’s the pity), it was made of pure win, if you ask me.

side view of the focaccia

See, the story goes like this:

  1. Lana (@Bibberche) makes a beautiful post about her foodie daughter that happens to also be about focaccia
  2. James and I remember that I’ve been meaning to learn to make focaccia, and hey, this looks so easy!
  3. Joy ensues.

At first, I followed the recipe in Lana’s post almost to the letter. I tend to do that when I’m making an unfamiliar food, especially a baked good. I don’t usually bake using a sponge, but I figured what the heck, looks easy enough. I did cut back on the quantities of red pepper flakes and salt in the topping, and added a dusting of granulated garlic, but otherwise, I carefully followed directions. This is what I got (click the thumbnails to enlarge):

focaccia doughfocacciaantipasto on a lettuce leaf
focaccia and antipasto

The little salad is cubes of whole-milk mozzarella tossed with marinated roasted tomatoes, anchovy-stuffed olives, and pepperoni.

But wait! It gets even better! Judith from Think On It, who is a fellow rec.food.cooking member, said:

Forever, to my kid, focaccia is the Sicilian one I used to make for after school snacks for her and friends. It was basically an Italian dough (flour, salt, yeast, water and oil) [spread] out on a baking sheet and allowed to rise a bit. Cubes of treasures were poked into it, like salame, cheese, onion, garlic, tomato, then a sprinkle of olive oil and coarse salt, then a bit more rising and then baked at a very high temperature so that the dough sprang up and nearly surrounded the cubes.

When she comes here and gets focaccia in Tuscany or Umbria she says, “That’s not focaccia. I remember focaccia. How come you never make me focaccia anymore?”

Isn’t that a lovely Mom Food vignette? Isn’t it great that mine isn’t the only bratty grown child? [Judith’s focaccia posts]

At any rate, I couldn’t wait! Though we had had focaccia just the day before, I set to work to make Judith’s version. And oh, my family is still praising me for it:

onions, tomatoes, and quesofocaccia just before bakingbaked focaccia with cheese and veggiesbaked focaccia with cheese and veggies
focaccia plated with broccoli

I seeded some tomatoes (but didn’t peel them; that’s a rare task around here), and chopped some red onion finely. The cheese was Mexican queso, which is very much like a buttery mozzarella (you may remember it from last Wednesday’s Caprese salad). And in a stroke of genius, I enlisted my bread machine to knead the dough, just to see if it would come out well.

It came out VERY well. I forgot to put strips of fresh basil on top at the end, but it was still marvelous.

This focaccia is a new standard around here. I am happy with how it looked, tasted, and pleased the family.

It’s cheap, easy, and impressive. And yeah, those are my favorite things.

(And now I can hear James saying, “Not as cheap, easy, and impressive as YOU, my love!” Silly man.)

Focaccia with treasures (bread machine and oven)
If you want to make the dough by hand, by all means, follow the recipe at Bibberche. It’s the same ingredients.

For the dough:
470 g water
660 g flour
20 g coarse sea salt
13 g sugar
7 g yeast

For baking/topping:
“treasures”—cubes of anything you like: tomatoes, onions, meat, cheese, veggies, whatever
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

For the dough, place dough ingredients into your bread machine in the order recommended, then use the dough cycle. Prepare a large baking pan (I used 16×12 inches) by pouring the 1/4 cup olive oil on the pan and tilting the pan around until it’s completely covered in oil.

When the dough is ready, pre-heat the oven to 450°F. Plop the dough out of the bread machine onto the pan. No need to worry about how it looks; just let it rest for a couple minutes, then pat it out using dampened hands or a silicone spatula until it fills all or most of the pan. When that’s done, quickly lift the dough and flip it so the other side gets oiled, as well, and re-pat for a moment so everything’s fairly even.

Place your “treasures” onto the dough and press them in with your fingers, then sprinkle the spices and salt over the top. You may also add a little drizzle of olive oil if any areas look like they’re not sufficiently moistened.

Bake 10 minutes, then turn the pan if your oven is like mine and not completely even. Turn the heat down to 400°F and bake 5-10 minutes more, or until golden brown.

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Author: Serene

I run The Mom Food Project, which was born out of love for my mom and a desire to preserve the recipes of my childhood, which didn't actually exist in written form until I quizzed my mom and wrote the recipes down.

17 thoughts on “Focaccia with “treasures””

  1. Oooh, that looks awesome! Focaccia is one thing that I’ve never had fresh out of the oven but only from the store — just looking at it I can imagine that it must be a wonderful treat suitable for all sorts of occasions.

  2. LOL, Serene, I have some bratty kids around here, too:) They do not realize how lucky they are with us! But the world awaits, they will discover on their own:)
    I have to make this! I can only imagine the wonderful surprises in the dough! It seems that focaccia will become a staple in our household, too:)
    And, thanks , again – you are so sweet:)

  3. There should be oil in the dough. This is an americanismo – or a watered-down version of focaccia, sort of like the wonder bread of focaccia. I doesn’t matter – you are all too dumb to know the difference.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind and constructive critique. I will look for recipes that call for oil in the dough, and I will keep a good thought for your lost manners to return.

      1. You answered that beautifully and respectfully.

        I love the look of this. It is calling out to be eaten.

        You asked about Ina’s group and the recipes. We decided to try to use recipes that are online. If someone chooses one that is not, we would only print it on one blog or possibly not at all. I have written to Ina and await an answer. In the meanwhile, the recipes selected it, are online. Thanks for a good question. If you have anymore, please ask. It helps us clarify our goals which in a new group, are being developed.

        1. Oh, thank you for the response, and I like the way you’re going about it. Count me in! I’ll be The Neutral Party, because I’ve never seen her shows or read her books or anything. I think I once made her pickled red onions from a recipe a friend passed on to me. :-)

    1. Oh, man, I missed the auction. :-(

      What’s the oven situation? You can’t be living in the tundra with no way to get yummy hot bread into your life, can you? Do I need to stage an intervention?

Comments are closed.