The Bread Bakers are a fun group of bread loving bakers, cooks, chefs and bloggers who come together once a month to celebrate . . . yup, bread! This month Anshie, from Spiceroots, chose an Italian theme for our bread baking adventures. Anshie is an amazing baker and an even more amazing photographer! I love gazing at all of her beautiful baked goods on her blog. There are so many of her recipes that I would love to try like her Tequila Lime Chicken Wings, French Onion Tart, and those beautiful Green Apple Fritters!
One of my favorite breads to make is focaccia. It’s easy. I love it’s texture. And you can flavor it in so many ways. This light and fluffy focaccia is my riff on an Italian BLT. Salty pancetta, peppery arugula, and sweet balsamic roasted tomatoes tops this light and chewy dimpled bread.
As a bread baking novice, focaccia is one of the easiest breads to make. In fact, it’s almost like topping a pizza.
I love the salty bite of the pancetta. But I really love these sweet, slow roasted tomatoes!
A slice of focaccia is perfect with a salad. A lovely slice of bread, perfect for sopping up your dressing. But you know, sometimes I’ll cut a little square and top it with some salad. And that’s a perfect little meal for me. And then again, a bit of olive oil for dipping and a glass of wine is all I need, too!
I adapted this focaccia recipe from one of Beth Hensperger’s focaccia recipes in The Bread Bible. No kneading is necessary. And it requires that you add warm milk to the dough. Because of this, the dough remains sticky so there is no way or need to dimple it. So easy!
- 4½ cups of bread flour
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons of salt
- 1 cup of hot water ( 120°F)
- 1 cup of hot milk (120°F)
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 3-4 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 2-3 ounces of diced pancetta
- a handful of arugula
- olive oil and balsamic vinegar for brushing on top of the tomatoes
- freshly cracked pepper for the tomatoes
- Place 2 cups of flour, the yeast, and the salt in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Whisk these together to combine them.
- (If you want more flavor in your bread than on the top, you could also add a little crushed, dried basil at this time.)
- Add the hot water, milk, and olive oil.
- Blend this for a couple of minutes until everything is combined.
- Now add your remaining flour ½ a cup at a time.
- You want to see a soft dough that just pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (And it's also going to be pretty sticky).
- I prefer to transfer this to another bowl to rise.
- So rub a little olive oil onto the bottom and sides of a large bowl.
- Scoop your focaccia dough into this bowl.
- Cover it with some plastic wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature to rise for about 1 hour. You are looking for it to double in size.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Tip the dough out onto the baking sheet and gently pull and shape the dough into a rectangle.
- Place the sliced tomatoes around the top of the dough.
- Brush the dough and each tomato with olive oil.
- Sprinkle the pancetta over the dough.
- Brush each tomato with a little balsamic vinegar.
- Sprinkle the tomatoes with a little freshly cracked black pepper.
- Sprinkle the entire dough with a little coarse sea salt.
- Let it sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.
- Bake the foccacia for 15 minutes.
- Then reduce your oven temperature to 350°F and bake for another 20-25 minutes more.
- You want the crust to be golden and the bread to spring back when gently pressed.
- Cool the bread for abut 5 minutes on the pan.
- And then use a spatula to help you gently remove it to a wire rack or your bread board to cool completely
Check out the other Italian breads made by the group!
- Casatiello by A Shaggy Dough Story
- Ciabatta Sandwich Rolls by Herbivore Cucina
- Classic Italian Bread by Hostess At Heart
- Cornetti by Gayathri’s Cook Spot
- Einkorn Parmesan Piadina by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Fingermillet and Rosemary Focaccia by Sizzling Tastebuds
- Focaccia Caprese by Sneha’s Recipe
- Grissini by Sara’s Tasty Buds
- Gubana – An Italian Sweet Bread by The Schizo Chef
- Il Pane di Matera by Food Lust People Love
- Italian BLT Focaccia by A Salad For All Seasons
- Italian Easter Bread by Palatable Pastime
- Italian Easter Cheese Bread by A Baker’s House
- Italian Herb and Garlic Focaccia by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Italian Stuffed Pane Bianco by Cook’s Hideout
- Mini Panettone by Mayuri’s Jikoni
- Pane Bianco by Veenas Vegnation
- Pane di Genzano by Spiceroots
- Piadina by Passion Kneaded
- Pizza alla Siciliana by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Rosemary and Cabernet Salt Focaccia by What Smells So Good?
- Torta Salata Pasquale by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Tuscan Coffeecake by Ambrosia
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to firstname.lastname@example.org