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Nov 4, 2012

Roasted Pepper and Chile Focaccia

I clipped this recipe from the Los Angeles Times over a year ago. It was part of their Master Class series and featured Nancy Silverton. The clipping sat in a pile of bread recipes I have been intending to try. When it was time to suggest a recipe for the Artisan Bread Bakers Facebook page's October Bread of the Month, I went for it.

What's better than a self-imposed deadline to get one to check something off of a to-do list?

What's even better is having everything needed for this focaccia in my pantry, freezer, and garden, with the exception of the tomatoes. How cool is that?

The dough for this bread is very wet, but it comes together nicely and is easy to handle. The dough recipe makes two 10 inch round breads. I made this recipe along with the onion and sage recipe (For a future post).

Note: You will need a stand mixer, a digital scale, and two 10 inch cake pans. If you don't have the cake pans, try using a rimmed sheet pan or smaller cake pans. You will need the rims to hold in the olive oil.

Another note: The recipe calls for a "sponge" that is made the day before.


Sponge Ingredients

1/16 teaspoon instant yeast
105 grams water
86 grams bread flour

Dough Ingredients (makes two focaccia rounds)

11.04 ounces water.
Scant tablespoon olive oil for the dough.
1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast.
.56 ounce rye flour. 
15 to 16.45 ounces bread flour, plus more to sprinkle.
1 T / .39 ounce Kosher salt.
1/2 Cup olive oil for the pans*
*Note: I infused my olive oil, but that is not necessary. To infuse the oil, measure the oil into a glass measuring cup and add fresh or dry herbs and spices. Warm in the microwave to 100 degrees F (about 30 seconds) and let sit. I added small amounts (about 1/8 tsp each) of garlic powder, paprika, crushed red pepper, fennel seeds, onion flakes, pepper, and herbes de Provence. 

Topping Ingredients

*Note, this is enough for one focaccia round. You can double this recipe, or make the onion sage focaccia with the other round.. or check out the link to the LA Times for more options.  

6 Fresno chiles, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced.
1/4 C olive oil.
Kosher salt.
15 sweet baby bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut in half, or 2 to three large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch squares.
2 ounces of low moisture mozzarella cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
10 small cherry or grape tomatoes.
1 T fresh thyme leaves.
Pinch of sea salt.



In a small glass bowl, mix the yeast and the water and let sit for about five minutes. 
Add the bread flour and stir with a spoon until combined.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. The sponge should be very bubbly. I usually stick a Post It on the plastic wrap with the time that I made the sponge so I don't forget. 


Begin about 3 to 3 1/2 hours prior to baking time.
  • Add the water, 1 T of oil, the sponge, the yeast, rye flour, and 15 ounces of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with a spoon or dough whisk, then mix with the dough hook of your mixer on low for about 2 minutes. 
  • Continue to run the mixer, and add the salt slowly. 
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix the dough until it is smooth and is beginning to pull away from the bowl. This should take about 6 to 8 minutes. Add additional flour in teaspoons if it is not pulling away from the bowl. Note: this dough is sticky, and will not pull away from the bowl like bread dough, so be very careful about adding too much flour. I added only 1 heaping tsp. 
  • Lightly oil a large bowl or dough rising bucket with olive oil, and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Lightly flour a work surface and gently turn the dough out of the bowl. 
  • Pulling from underneath the dough, fold the four "sides" of the dough to the top center. 
  • Turn the dough over so the folded side is down, place it back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature until doubled, about an hour. 
  • Place 1/4 C of the olive oil (infused or not) into each of the two cake pans and tilt the pans to spread the oil evenly. 
  • Lightly flour the work surface and turn the dough out gently. Be careful not to deflate it. Cut it into two equal pieces and place each piece into an oiled pan.
  • Gently urge the dough into a round shape with your fingers, and cover the pans with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

Roasted Pepper and Chile Focaccia

  • While the dough is rising, prepare the chiles and peppers.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and pile the cut chiles in the middle of a rimmed baking sheet. Pour 2 T of olive oil on top, and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher or sea salt. mix and spread with your hands. 
  • Roast for 4 to six minutes and remove from the oven to cool.
  • Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F and pile the peppers in the middle of a rimmed baking sheet. Add 2 T of olive oil, 1/4 t. of kosher or sea salt, and toss with your hands until coated. Spread the peppers out on the sheet and bake about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool.
  • Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Once the dough has rested in the pans for 30 minutes, gently press your fingertips into the rounds 5 times to push the edges out. 
  • Press the pieces of cheese into the dough one at a time while pressing toward the rim of the pan. The cheese should be flush with the dough. 
  • Press the tomatoes into the dough using the same method.
  • Sprinkle the chiles evenly over the top and gently pat them down. 
  • Press the bell pepper pieces into the dough next, but not as far down as the cheese or tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with the thyme and sea salt.
  • Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes, until puffy.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Move the pan to the floor of the oven to crisp the bottom, about 2 to 5 minutes. 
  • Remove the pan and move the focaccia to a cooling rack by slipping a fork underneath and sliding it carefully out of the pan.
  • Let cool a few minutes. 
  • Cut into wedges and eat!!!!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Karen it looks AMAZING
    So colorful and tempting

  2. That is seriously...SERIOUSLY...gorgeous. I love the color of the bread itself and the toppings are just so eye-catching. And don't even get me started on wonderful I just know it smells and tastes. Yum!

  3. That is one delicious looking focaccia! Beautiful color on the crust and crumb, great caramelization on the toppings. It must have been a real treat to eat. Thank you so much for posting the recipe as well as the link to the Nancy Silverton video. I am looking forward to watching it. Silverton is the one who started me on the road to naturally leavened bread with her Breads of the La Brea Bakery book and I will remain eternally grateful to her for it.

    1. Her book was my first book on artisan breads, and such an inspiration. And yes, this bread is sooooooo good. It's excellent reheated too.

  4. Hi! I wanted to let you know I included this recipe in my harvest recipe roundup. Thanks!

    1. Thank you for letting me know Sarah! And thanks for including this.


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