Soft and pillow-y crumbs with that crispy crust, this Pesto Tomato Garlic Focaccia is super flavorful and so easy to bake. I absolutely love baking Focaccia and I try various different toppings. This particular one is my current favorite, and we enjoyed it utterly.
Baking bread makes me very happy, and every once in a while I like to spend an entire day just baking bread. I definitely prefer no knead baking method but then someday, I don't mind taking out my stand mixer either.
The whole process from activating the yeast to watching the dough rise and turns so soft and bake to that crispy golden crust is so satisfying.
This Pesto Tomato Garlic Focaccia happened on one such day when I ran out of ideas of what to make for dinner. My In laws were here, and they enjoyed this Focaccia every time I baked.
So had to record it this time and share with you all.
You can definite use store bought pesto, but making at home is just that much easy. I often make pesto with whatever greens I have handy. Here is a link to my Pesto Recipe
What you need for the Pesto Tomato Garlic Focaccia ?
Active Dry Yeast - You need to activate the yeast separately with warm water and little sugar. Sugar helps to activate the yeast faster. If the yeast doesn't activate, then please discard and start again.
All purpose flour - You can definitely use whole wheat flour too. But the texture will be a little different, and you might need to add more flour to make a soft dough.
Salt - Don't skip salt.
Pesto - Store bought or homemade
Tomato Garlic Confit - I had a jar of Tomato Garlic Confit that I had made a few days back and use the tomatoes from there along with the garlic. I also added some fresh tomatoes. You can choose to use fresh tomatoes and fresh/roasted garlic, or try this recipe of Tomato garlic confit.
Preparing the Dough
Just like any other bread dough, this too can either be prepared in a stand mixer or you could prepare the dough by kneading with hand.
Simultaneously, you could also avoid the kneading and let the dough rise slowly in the refrigerator. That definitely creates a more chewy texture, and I will share that technique sometime soon.
Once the yeast is activated, add it to the flour with salt and mix to make a soft, pliable dough.
The stretch and fold technique
I learned this technique a few years back when I started baking sourdough bread. The technique of stretching the dough and then folding it, helps to strengthen the texture of the dough.
It helps to create multiple layers and there by develops delicate crumbs.
I use this technique will my bread recipe since then, irrespective of using a stand mixer or not.
Watch the video to understand the technique better.
One of the best thing about Focaccia bread is that you don't have to worry about shaping the bread. This makes it the PERFECT BREAD to try for beginners who are new to baking breads at home.
You just drop the dough in an ovenproof pan layered with parchment paper. I use a cast iron pan. Then pour some oil and using your clean hand to create those dimples on the dough.
And then go nuts with toppings. Add whatever you feel like. Herb oil, pesto sauce, just chopped herbs, some fresh veggies, roasted garlic, fruits works great too. There are endless possibilities!
Go wow your family/friends/guests with this fantastic yet easy homemade Focaccia.
Pesto Tomato Garlic Focaccia
- 1 cup luke warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 and ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 4 tablespoon pesto
- few roasted tomatoes (garlic or fresh tomatoes and garlic (read notes))
- Stir the sugar and yeast in the warm water and let it activate for 5 minutes. If the yeast doesn't activate, discard and start again.
- Once the yeast is activated, you are ready to make the dough. You could either use a mixing bowl or use the stand mixer attached with the dough hook.
- Mix the salt with the flour and pour the activated yeast water. Mix it around to make a soft, pliable dough. If it feels too dry, add little water and if it feels too wet, add little flour.
- Once the dough is ready, drizzle 1 tablespoon oil on the dough and cover the mixing bowl with a clear film. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, transfer the dough to the clean kitchen counter or a table. Stretch the dough from one side and fold it over. Now lift the dough, rotate it 90 degree, stretch and fold the same way. Repeat a few times and then form a round shape of the dough and place it back in the mixing bowl. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, repeat the process again, and you can do the same straight on the bowl too. (WATCH THE VIDEO to understand the step better)
- After two set of stretch and fold, cover the dough and leave it aside for 2 hours to double in size.
- I used a cast iron pan to bake the focaccia. You can use a baking pan too. Just rub oil and place a parchment paper on it. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and cover it loosely. Leave it aside for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 400F
- Drizzle little oil on the dough and rub little oil on your hand and poke the dough with your fingers to make those dimples.
- Spread the pesto and the roasted tomatoes, garlic and some fresh tomatoes too.
- Poke again all around with your fingers.
- Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the bread looks golden brown on top.
- Let the warm bread rest for 15 minutes, before you slice and enjoy!