May 16, 2016

Crispy Herb and Sugar Plum Grape Tomato Focaccia

Crispy Herb and Sugar Plum Grape Tomato Focaccia

This crispy Herb and Sugar Plum Grape Tomato Focaccia originally had the descriptor "thin" in it as well, but when I slid it onto the baking stone, it puffed up like crazy! This is not a bad thing. The bread is full of amazing, amazing (yes, I said amazing twice, and now a third time) airiness.

Crispy Herb and Sugar Plum Grape Tomato Focaccia

The Bread Baking Babes are celebrating spring with Cathy of Bread Experience. If you are into bread baking, you need to check out her blog. It's loaded with information about all things bread. It's pretty much a "how to" and dictionary for bread geeks. In fact, when I first started baking bread, Cathy's blog was one of my "go to" websites for information.

Crispy Herb and Sugar Plum Grape Tomato Focaccia

This recipe creates a really wet and sticky dough, but it still is amazingly easy to work with. Bread geek talk alert: even though Cathy recommends reducing the hydration if you do not use any whole wheat, I was rebellious and did not reduce the amount of water in the dough. With just two stretches and folds, this dough came together and was super easy to shape even though it had a really high hydration level.

I topped my focaccia with olive oil, Fleur de Sel, fennel seeds, thyme, and thin slices of sugar plum grape tomatoes.

The dough can be divided and refrigerated for up to three days before baking. I still have three more dough balls in the refrigerator, and am looking forward to experimenting with different toppings!

Sugar plum grape tomatoes are kind of like cherry tomatoes that are shaped like plum tomatoes, but way smaller, like cherry tomatoes. They are very sweet and tasty. If you can't find them, use the most fresh and ripe tomato you can find.

This focaccia is fabulous!

Crispy Herb and Sugar Plum Grape Tomato Focaccia

Crispy Herb and Sugar Plum Grape Tomato Focaccia

Makes four approximately 400 gram focaccias



40 grams bread flour
44 grams water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast (I used Red Star Platinum)

Final Dough

835 grams bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
725 grams water
All of the poolish
17 grams olive oil
25 grams of water, to mix in the salt
17 grams sea salt


2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse sea salt, to taste
Fennel seeds, to taste
Dried thyme, to taste
Thin slices of sugar plum grape tomatoes


To make the poolish: 

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the bread flour and yeast. Pour in the room temperature water and combine using a wooden spoon. 
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula or dough scraper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter at room temperature (75 degrees F. /25 degrees C.) for 12 to 14 hours.

Final Dough:

  1. Whisk together the flour and yeast in a large bowl or container. I used this 12 quart Cambro container.  
  2. Pour the water and oil over the flour and yeast and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk. 
  3. Add the poolish and mix it in with wet hands or the dough whisk. When all of the flour is aborbed, scrape down the sides of the container with a dough scraper, cover and let it rest (autolyze) for 20 minutes.
  4. Uncover the container and sprinkle the salt over the top of the dough. Pour the remaining 25 grams of water over the salt to dissolve it. 
  5. Using wet hands, thoroughly incorporate the salt into the dough by pinching and folding it into the dough until you no longer feel any graininess from the salt. 
  6. Scrape down the sides of the container, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Stretch and fold the dough from all sides. Re-cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  8. Stretch and fold the dough one last time. Cover and set it aside to ferment for 2 hours.
  9. An hour before you plan to bake the focaccia, place a baking stone or tiles in the oven and preheat it to 500 degrees F. (260 degrees C.) 
  10. Sprinkle your work surface with water. Transfer the dough to the work surface and divide it into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a round and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let them bench rest for 15 minutes.
  11. At this point, I placed three of the dough balls in oiled plastic bags and put them in the refrigerator to use another day (up to three days later). 
  12. For each dough ball, lightly oil a half sheet sized piece of parchment paper, and place one of the dough balls onto the piece of parchment. Gently press on the dough to degas it (but not too much) and shape it into a flattish round. Cover the round with oiled plastic wrap and let it proof for 45 minutes.
  13. Uncover the dough, drizzle olive oil over the top and gently stretch it into an oval disk the length of the parchment paper.  Sprinkle the top with fennel seeds, thyme and sea salt (optional) and place thinly sliced tomatoes, as desired. 
  14. Using a baker’s peel or unrimmed baking sheet, transfer the focaccia (on the parchment) to the preheated baking stone. 
  15. Bake the focaccia for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and crisp around the edges.  Remove the parchment paper partway through baking to allow the bottom to firm up.
  16. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board to slice and serve. 
  17. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
Recipe adapted from Bread Experience, adapted from The Local Palate

Links to the rest of the Bread Baking Babes' version of this recipe are/will be listed below. If you would like to bake along with the babes as a Buddy, check out Cathy's post.

The Babes who baked along:

Cathy of Bread Experience
Lien of Notitie van Lien
Kelly of A Messy Kitchen
Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups
Elizabeth of Blog from OUR Kitchen
Judy of Judy's Gross Eats
Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms
And check out Katie of Thyme for Cooking's round up of all of our posts!


  1. wow Karen sound every yummy!!! thanks for sharing

  2. Perfect for little grape tomatoes! It was sticky dough but then surprisingly easy to work with. And yes amazing airiness is a good thing.

  3. Oh it looks amazing! I would love to try a bite of that one. :D

  4. What a wonderful focaccia and with the Poolish two started with and that gives it more of a flavor ,I love that kind of a focaccia , and with plum tomatoes, it sounds absolutely delicious Karen, I can't wait to try this recipe out, thank you for sharing the focaccia pizza , looks wonderful in the pictures and it must taste really good.😉😎

  5. I love those little tomatoes! And I bet they're fabulous on focaccia. And what a good idea to add fennel seeds.

    Our focaccia puffed up like crazy too. Isn't it thrilling when it does that?

    1. I sit on a stool with the oven light on just to watch!!!

  6. Oh my heavens this looks amazing!!!

  7. After several amazing and one fabulous, I would be a fool if I did not save this recipe - I usually hate turning my oven at 500F, but... it will be for a good cause. I need to pick a day with mild temperature outside - we had a cold front this week, but I suspect the weekend will be back the way I like it... ;-)

    1. I did kind of over do the hyperbole and gushing didn't I!! Lol. I'm kind of lucky that my oven is really insulated and only gives off heat when I open the door. BTW, this focaccia makes "amazing and fabulous" leftovers. I just pop a piece in the toaster oven and it comes back to it's crispy self.

    2. DId you say amazing and fabulous leftovers? Oh, you ARE a teaser!

      Love it!

  8. I thought foccacia was my favorite bread ever--but Karen, this may be it! You took it over the top :)

    1. Thanks Kristen! It's also wonderful split through the middle for sandwiches =)

  9. That is so delicious with tomatoes, We always eat a lot of them when on holiday in Italy, yours looks just like some of them overthere. Delicious with tomatoes, we already decided to bake the next batch with tomatoes too :)

    1. You'll be very happy Lien! I'm doing my next batch with onions!

  10. Karen, your photos and the focaccia look fabulous! As always! I'm so glad my blog was helpful to you. You've definitely mastered bread baking and working with wet dough.

    I still have dough balls left in the fridge from my second batch. I'm getting lot's of creative ideas for using them.

    1. I've got one of the dough balls resting while oven heats up and I have some KAF pizza seasoning and a ton of sliced red onions. =)

  11. Looks like a delightful cross between a focaccia and pizza. I can almost smell the herbs and warm tomatoes. Yum!

  12. Gorgeous! I've picked up our first cherry tomatoes of the season... Perfect for spring.

    1. Thank you Katie! Cherry tomatoes are my favorites.

  13. I made these today. Lovely soft inside a nd crispy crust.

    1. How great!!! So happy to hear that you liked them!!


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