This Tomato Focaccia recipe is inspired by the famous series, Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samim Nosrat. The cherry tomatoes add sweetness to Samin Nosrat’s focaccia recipe. The recipe also features readily available ingredients so you can make focaccia from scratch at home.
Focaccia is a popular Italian bread that has a similar taste to a pizza crust. The difference between a focaccia and a pizza dough is that focaccia is thicker and has the fluffiness that is commonly found in bread. That’s also why focaccia is often referred to as focaccia bread.
Like the tomato focaccia bread recipe below, there are a variety of topping that you can try.
What Goes Well With Focaccia?
Classic focaccia characterizes itself by the salty brine poured on top before baking. However, you can get creative with its flavor by adding herbs, vegetables, fruits, or olives as your focaccia topping.
A few classic ideas for toppings are:
- Tomatoes and rosemary
- Garlic and rosemary
- Olives and sundried tomatoes
- Lemon and Italian herbs
Some creative topping ideas:
- Caramelized red onion with pancetta and oregano
- Kalamata olives and anchovies
- Parmesan and asparagus
How Do You Make Focaccia Like Samin Nosrat from Salt Fat Acid Heat?
In the episode of Fat of the show Salt Fat Acid Heat, Samin Nosrat took us to Italy to experience the traditional creation of Linguarian Focaccia. You would think that due to the salty nature of Linguarian Focaccia it would be featured in the Salt episode. However, the key to good focaccia isn’t just salt, it’s oil. A good quality olive oil is will make a great difference in the taste of your focaccia. Buy the cheap flour (works best according to this hilarious interview with Samin), but do not skimp on the olive oil.
Samin Nostrat’s focaccia recipe is an adaptation from Diego with the help of Josey Baker. Her recipe recommends Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and calls for active dry yeast. The Diamond brand is of better quality and has the right salty flavor. If you can’t get your hand on it then use fine sea salt instead, which is what I used in my recipe.
Active dry yeast, or baker’s yeast, requires to be mixed with water before incorporating it into the dough. You also have to proof the dough about 15 minutes longer than with instant yeast. Since active dry yeast can’t always be found in all supermarkets, I used instant yeast instead. Even though it’s not necessary I did mix it before adding it to the remaining ingredients.
The rest of the ingredients and technique are all based on Samin’s recipe and the iconic episode of Salt Fat Acid Heat.
How Do You Make Focaccia from Scratch?
Focaccia is a no-knead bread, so no expensive gear is necessary. You start by mixing the yeast with water and honey. Then the flour and salt. Then, at last, you mix the dry ingredients with the dry ingredients, including the olive oil.
The dough has to ferment first. You ideally want it to ferment for about 12 hours or at least 3 hours. The longer you ferment it the more flavor your focaccia will have. After fermenting comes the proofing which happens on the baking sheet itself. During this process, you want to continuously stretch the dough as it may shrink.
The last part of prepping the dough, and probably the most fun part, is making the dimples. To make the dimples you press, at an angle, holes in the dough using your ring finger, middle finger, and index finger. But, for this tomato focaccia recipe, the cherry tomatoes will “lay” in the dimples. So, for this recipe, you can skip this whole step and use the cherry tomato halves to push them into the dough. I know, I’m withholding you from the fun but, trust me, it’s more efficient this way.
Tomato Focaccia from Salt Fat Acid Heat
- Rimmed baking sheet (approx. 11-by-9 inch/24.5-by-29.5 cm)
- Napkin or plastic wrap
- Rubber spatula
- Metal spatula
For the Dough
- 1¼ cup (350 ml) lukewarm water
- ¼ tsp instant yeast
- 1¼ tsp honey
- 3¼ cup (400 gr) all-purpose flour
- ½ tbsp. fine sea salt
- 2½ tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for greasing
For the Brine
- 3 tbsp. lukewarm water
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
For the Topping
- ½ lbs. (250 gr) cherry tomatoes in halves
- Flaky sea salt
- Take a medium bowl and stir together the water, yeast, and honey. In a very large bowl, whisk the flour with the yeast mixture and add the olive oil. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and incorporate all the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap or a napkin and let it sit at room temperature for 12 hours (or at least 3 hours). The dough need to double in size.
- Generously grease your baking sheet with olive oil. Use your hand to carefully release the dough from the bowl by folding it into itself and letting it slide onto the baking sheet. Pour more olive oil on the dough. Carefully stretch it to the edges by sliding your hand underneath and gently pulling it out. Repeat the pulling process every 10 minutes for 30 minutes (the dough will shrink when it sits).
- In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the brine. Take the cherry tomatoes and press them into the dough creating lines parallel to each other. Pour the brine over the whole dough.
- Proof the focaccia for 45 minutes until it's light and bubbly.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (235°C). Bake the focaccia on the center rack for about 25 minutes or until the bottom is crispy and golden brown. If needed, place the baking sheet on the top rack and bake for 5-7 minutes to brown the top crust.
- Remove from the oven, pour extra olive oil, and let it sit for 5 minutes to cool down and absorb the oil. Use a metal spatula to release the focaccia. Place on a cooling rack. Serve it warm or at room temperature.