Hey there, my dear focaccia fans; today, I’m super excited to share with you my latest kitchen experiment that turned into an absolute favorite – Focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes (and capers).
This is a fluffy, golden bread infused with a scent of thyme, topped with the perfect blend of tangy sun-dried tomatoes and capers, and of course, all combined with a fair mix of good organic olive oil
The best part? This recipe is surprisingly simple, and you won’t need any fancy ingredients.Jump to Recipe
The rich taste of sun-dried tomatoes in every bite
We’ve made all sorts of Italian food, from delicious tagliatelle ai funghi to mouthwatering porcini pizza, delightful porcini risotto to crunchy caprese empanadas, and I must admit that the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about Italy is food.
The history of the famous flatbread in Italy started way back with the Etruscans or Greeks. The Romans called it “panis focacius,” baking it right over the fire. Fast forward to today, and it’s a star in Italian baking, especially in Liguria. It’s been jazzed up with local herbs and toppings but still keeps its simple, olive oil-infused charm.
Have you tried the spicy black pepper focaccia? Well, if you love the taste of tangy sun-dried tomatoes, focaccia with these is definitely the one you want to make.
Let me convince you why:
- The recipe is easy to follow, and with the right ingredients, you’ll create the most delicious fluffy focaccia you’ve ever eaten. While it tastes very special, focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes is surprisingly easy to make without too much hassle.
- The ingredients for this focaccia are not expensive, but it will surely taste very special, nothing like ordinary bread. The combination of olive oil, herbs, and tomatoes will bring a touch of Mediterranean cuisine to your table.
- This recipe can be easily customized. You can add different herbs like rosemary, marjoram, or even other vegetables to suit your taste.
- The warm, comforting nature of freshly baked bread, combined with the rich flavors of sun-dried tomatoes, makes it a perfect comfort food. Combine it with some good cheese, maybe a few pieces of homemade smoked meat, and a glass of wine and there you go – even the most fancy guest will be amazed.
Ingredients you’ll need
FLOUR – “00” flour, often used in Italian recipes, is finely ground and has a lower gluten content compared to all-purpose flour. When you use “00” flour for focaccia, you’re likely to get a dough that’s a bit more tender and delicate. The resulting focaccia tends to have a softer, lighter texture with a fine crumb. It will get less chewy and more melt-in-the-mouth.
All-purpose flour is a bit more versatile and has a higher gluten content than “00” flour. With all-purpose flour, the focaccia dough is more robust and can handle a bit more mixing and kneading. It’s great for a more traditional, rustic focaccia with a hearty texture.
YEAST – While we used dry yeast for this focaccia, some will argue that fresh yeast makes a slightly lighter and airier bread. Some bakers also claim that fresh yeast offers a slightly better flavor. When using fresh yeast, you will need twice the amount of fresh yeast compared to active dry yeast.
Both types of yeast can produce delicious focaccia. The choice often comes down to availability, convenience, and personal preference.
SUN-DRIED TOMATOES – Sun-dried tomatoes in focaccia bring a sweet and tangy flavor that contrasts delightfully with the bread’s softness. These tomatoes add a chewy texture and intense tomato taste without making the bread soggy. You will find them in most of the supermarkets, however, we recommend that you opt for organic ones.
CAPERS – These tiny, pickled flower buds introduce a distinctive, slightly lemony and olive-like flavor, adding a Mediterranean twist. They will add a delightful burst of briny, tangy flavor to focaccia.
THYME – Thyme brings a subtle, earthy elegance to focaccia, infusing it with a hint of savory and slightly minty notes. It’s like a whisper of the Mediterranean. We added quite a lot of thyme in the dough, but if you don’t wish its aroma to be so strong, you can adjust accordingly. If you entirely skip it, focaccia will still taste good.
OLIVE OIL – Believe it or not, olive oil is the most important ingredient in every focaccia. Moreover, using organic olive oil in focaccia dough enhances its flavor and texture. The oil’s rich and robust taste deepens the bread’s overall flavor, while its moisture results in a soft interior and a crispy crust. Additionally, organic olive oil’s natural antioxidants contribute to the bread’s nutritional value.
COARSE SALT – This will add a sprinkle of saltiness to the crust, which pairs well with the taste of sun-dried tomatoes. If you don’t like your focaccia too salty, simply skip it.
SALT & BLACK PEPPER – We added a little bit of black pepper with salt.
ROSEMARY – When you add rosemary to focaccia, it gives the bread its unique aroma – a combination of pine, lemon and pepper. The fragrance of sun-dried tomatoes and thyme perfectly complements the rosemary. We used rosemary that was foraged in Croatia and dried under the sun, specifically to make different types of focaccia bread.
How to make focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes
THE DAY BEFORE
STEP 1: Prepare a large bowl and toss in the dry ingredients. Using a tablespoon, mix together the flour and yeast. Add a pinch of salt, but be careful that you stir in the yeast before adding the salt. Add 3 dl (1,3 cup) of water slightly warmer than room temperature and mix in the olive oil. Mix well until getting a somewhat sticky dough.
STEP 2: Prepare a flat surface and sprinkle it with flour. Knead the dough as long as it doesn’t become stretchy, and the gluten clearly develops. If you’re using a mixer with a dough hook, about 8 minutes should be enough. If you’re kneading it by hand (like us), be ready to knead it for about 10 to 12 minutes.
To avoid the dough sticking to the surface, keep adding small amounts of flour. At the end, the dough ball should be soft and stretchy and a bit shiny on the outside.
STEP 3: Sprinkle the same bowl with some flour and reload the dough to the bowl. Cover it with a cover or plastic foil and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. The longer you leave the dough resting, the better it will get.
Although the focaccia will taste much better if the dough is rising overnight in the fridge, if you don’t have the time, you can still make it the same day. Just ensure that it was resting for at least an hour (at room temperature) and that it has doubled in size before making the focaccia with sun dried tomatoes.
PREPARING THE FOCACCIA WITH SUN DRIED TOMATOES
STEP 4: The next day, bring the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up a little to room temperature, for about half an hour.
Again, sprinkle a flat surface with a bit of flour and add thyme to the dough before kneading it again. How much thyme you wish to add, we will leave it to personal preference.
Knead it once again, for at least 8 minutes. Prepare a baking sheet or a baking pan and cover it generously with olive oil.
Press the dough to the bottom and push it all the way to the edges. Once in the pan, it shouldn’t be thicker than 2 cm. Cover it with the foil or a towel and let it rest at room temperature for another 45 minutes until it rises again.
STEP 6: In the meantime, prepare your sun-dried tomatoes. Most of the time, they come bigger in size, so you might want to cut them into smaller pieces.
When the dough has doubled in size again, stick your fingers into a cup of warm water to push it down and create small wells on the surface. When done, generously cover the whole surface with olive oil.
STEP 7: Add sun-dried tomatoes together with capers (if you like the taste) and sprinkle with dried rosemary and coarse salt.
STEP 8: Bake at 220 °C/428 F for about 30 minutes. After 5 minutes, cover it with parchment paper to prevent tomatoes from burning. When focaccia is done, it should look golden and crusty.
STEP 9: Finally, let your focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes rest for about 15 minutes.
When the focaccia has completely cooled, you might want to wrap it in a kitchen towel to preserve it for the day. Enjoy 🙂
Essential tips to keep in mind
The higher protein content of the flour contributes to the development of a stronger gluten network. When yeast ferments the sugars in the dough, it produces carbon dioxide gas. A strong gluten network traps this gas effectively, leading to larger, well-defined holes in the crumb.
All-purpose flour, with a protein content usually between 10-12%, forms a weaker gluten network, though. It results in a tighter crumb structure with smaller holes. While the focaccia will still be tasty and delicious, the crumb will be less open, and the texture will be slightly denser than bread made with bread flour.
Allowing your dough to rest for 24 hours will result in relaxed gluten and deeper, more complex flavors. This will make your focaccia soft and airy on the inside, with a deliciously crispy crust.
But hey, we don’t always have the luxury of time, right? If you’re planning to bake your sun-dried tomato focaccia the next day, a 12-hour rest will do just fine. It’s a good compromise that still gives you a delightful taste and texture. However, if you can afford to wait the full 24 hours, trust me, it’s worth it.
Traditional Italian focaccia recipes highlight the importance of using high-quality olive oil, particularly organic varieties, to avoid pesticides and chemicals that could affect the oil’s taste and health benefits. In focaccia, where olive oil’s flavor seriously affects its deliciousness, its quality makes a significant taste difference, and it also affects how it blends into the dough.
Sun-dried tomatoes usually come in packages with olive oil. If you wish to prevent your tomatoes from burning while baking, cover the focaccia with parchment paper after an initial five minutes of baking.
A good variation of this focaccia can be made with olives instead of capers. Also, you can change thyme for basil, marjoram, or oregano to your liking. If you don’t like the taste of sun-dried tomatoes, use fresh cherry or grape tomatoes.
How to store it or freeze it
For short-term storage (a day or two) at room temperature, wrap the focaccia in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or place it in an airtight container. The focaccia should be completely cool before you store it.
Focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes can be frozen for up to three months. Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil or place it in a freezer bag. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, leave it at room temperature, unwrapped, so the crust doesn’t become soggy.
Focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes FAQs
To prevent the tomatoes from burning, cover the focaccia with parchment paper while baking.
Sun-dried tomatoes will pair great with olives. You can add olives on the top or slice them into smaller pieces and knead them into the dough.
Absolutely, you can use fresh tomatoes instead of sun-dried tomatoes for focaccia! In fact, fresh tomatoes can add a lovely, juicy burst of flavor to your bread. Cherry or grape tomatoes will look nice because of their size. Before baking, we recommend that you cut them in half and remove the seeds as well as excess moisture to prevent your focaccia from becoming too soggy.
No, sun-dried tomatoes don’t need to be soaked before adding them to focaccia.
Dry-packaged tomatoes have a shelf life of 6-12 months if unopened. If opened, they are best consumed within a few weeks to months, and can last longer if refrigerated. On the other hand, sun-dried tomatoes in oil can last up to a year or more if unopened. Once opened, they should be refrigerated and can last for several months, as long as the tomatoes remain covered by oil.
Homemade sun-dried tomatoes can last for a few weeks to months if kept in a cool, dark place. They can last longer if stored in oil and refrigerated.
Always check for signs of spoilage such as an off-odor, mold, or changes in texture before using.
To determine whether sun-dried tomatoes have gone bad, you should inspect them for any signs of mold, unusual colors, or changes in texture, such as hardness or sliminess. In case they smell off or taste fermented, it’s advisable to dispose of them.
Yes, sun-dried tomatoes are acidic.
It is possible for sun-dried tomatoes to cause heartburn in certain individuals. Sun-dried tomatoes are acidic and can trigger heartburn or worsen acid reflux symptoms in those who are sensitive to acidic foods. The severity of the heartburn may vary depending on the individual’s sensitivity and the amount of sun-dried tomatoes consumed.
Capers, like many other foods, have the potential to cause gas in some people. This is because they contain fiber and a type of carbohydrate called raffinose, which can be difficult to digest for some individuals. When raffinose reaches the large intestine, it is fermented by bacteria, resulting in the production of gas. Despite containing only a small amount of fiber, capers can still cause gas due to the presence of raffinose.
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Focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 baking sheet or baking pan
- 380 g (2,7 cups) flour
- 7 g (package) dry active yeast
- 118 ml (8 tbso) cold pressed olive oil
- 3 dl (1.3 cups) warm water
- 100 g (3.53 oz) sun dried tomatoes
- 10 g ( 1 tbsp) thyme
- dry rosemary
- pinch salt
- coarse salt
- black pepper
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add 3 dl (1.3 cups) of warm water and olive oil. Knead thoroughly for at least 10 minutes. If using a mixer, eight minutes will be enough.
- Reload the dough back to the bowl and cover it with a cover or plastic foil. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Make sure you have sprinkled the bowl with flour before reloading the dough.
- When the dough has rested, allow it to get used to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the counter with flour, reload the dough and knead again. Grease the baking pan with olive oil, transfer the dough to the pan and let it rest for another 45 minutes while it's covered with a kitchen towel. Preheat the oven to 220 °C/428 F.
- When the dough has risen, use a cup of warm water to stick your fingers in it before making the wells on the top of the focaccia. Generously cover with olive oil and add pieces of sun-dried tomatoes, capers, dry rosemary and coarse salt.
- Bake at 220 °C/428 F for 30 minutes. After first five minutes cover the focaccia with parchment paper to prevent sun dried tomatoes and capers form burning.
- When baked, allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes. If you won't eat it at once, store it covered with a wrap when the focaccia has completely cooled down.
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