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Tomato Focaccia (best recipe)

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Sometimes called focaccia bread, this is one of my favorite recipes to make with yeast. It's a simple dough that uses few ingredients, and the result is spectacular: golden crust, salty and oily in the best possible way, with an unparalleled crunchiness. The aroma in the kitchen will make you a fan, if you're not one yet.

  • Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast (or 6 teaspoons fresh)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon each fresh oregano and thyme


  1. Put warm water, yeast, sugar in a large bowl (if you use a stand mixer use its bowl) and mix lightly. Leave 4-5 minutes until foamy or bubbly.
  2. Add half of the flour and mix with a spoon. 
  3. Add the olive oil and salt.
  4. Mix everything and add the rest of the flour in half cups or so.
  5. Wait until al the flour is incorporated and see if it comes together. You might not need all the flour.
  6. Move this mass to the counter and knead for 5 minutes (or in the machine using the dough hook) until it’s well integrated and smooth but slightly sticky. This is fine. Don’t be tempted to add flour until it loses all the stickiness because it will make a tough crust. 
  7. Transfer to an oiled bowl, turn the dough so that all sides are greased, cover with film or a kitchen towel and leave to rise until it doubles its volume, about 1 hour.
  8. Have ready a round or square 8 or 9-inch pan, well oiled. The difference in size will result in a higher or shorter focaccia. 
  9. Punch the dough down softly and transfer the dough to the oiled pan.
  10. Stretch with your hands without forcing it and making sure it doesn't tear. It might refuse to stretch as much as you want on your first try, so let it rest for a few minutes and stretch it some more. Do this until it fills the pan. 
  11. Cover with a kitchen towel or loose piece of plastic wrap and leave to rise until puffy, about 45 minutes. At this point, you can put the pan (tightly covered with plastic wrap but not touching the surface if possible) in the refrigerator until the next day. Take it out and leave it at room temperature until it puffs up before continuing.
  12. Turn the oven to 400°F/200°C about 20 minutes before you plan to bake it, so it's well pre-heated. 
  13. Dimple the surface with your fingers, making indentations but without breaking the dough. Some dimples will stay in place, some will spring back, it's normal. Just make sure most of the surface is covered. 
  14. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and herbs on top.
  15. Top with halved cherry tomatoes or slices of large ones. 
  16. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. If in doubt, lift carefully a corner of the focaccia (you should be able to do this pretty easily) and check that the bottom is brown and crisp. Leave it a few more minutes if you need to. 
  17. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool a little before removing it from the pan. 
  18. Eat warm, or let cool completely, wrap tightly and freeze for a month or more. Let thaw at room temperature and warm before eating.


  • Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier.
  • Baking time: consider that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust. 
  • Yeast:
    Active dry. This is my first choice and the one I always use. It's easy to store in the refrigerator and allows the dough to rise well without the risk of doing it too quickly. This type of yeast needs to be mixed first with a liquid and a tiny bit of sugar to activate. 
    Instant dry or rapid rise. I sometimes use it if I don't have active dry yeast. The difference is that its particles are smaller and it activates quicker, hence the name. It doesn't need to be mixed with liquid first, you can add it directly to the flour. I found that it can rise too quickly sometimes, especially if the place is warmer than usual. So it's not the one I usually use. 
    Fresh yeast. This one is my last choice, not because it doesn't work well, but because it doesn't keep for long, a few weeks at the most in the fridge, if that. It comes in a cube usually and, when it's fresh, it should be crumbly, with an even whitish grey hue and foam after a few minutes when mixed with liquid and sugar. You need 3 times the amount, so if a recipe calls for a teaspoon of dry yeast, you should use three of fresh. 
    Activating yeast. You have to make sure it's active. To do that put a pinch of active dry or fresh yeast, whichever you're using, in a small cup and add a few teaspoons of water. It should start to foam in a few minutes, or start showing a few bubbles or bulge a little. In short, it should not be the same way as when you started. For instant yeast, you have to add a few teaspoons of flour also and sometimes wait a little longer until you start to see some activity.
  • Toppings: play around with different herbs and other ingredients like olives, sun dried tomatoes, onion, etc. Let your imagination and palate try new combinations.
  • Make ahead: I recommend making the focaccia and freezing it if you want to make it ahead of time. Always well wrapped, first in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil.
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Resting time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 1/8
  • Calories: 256
  • Sugar: 1.1 g
  • Sodium: 584.8 mg
  • Fat: 12.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 31.6 g
  • Protein: 4.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg