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A long rise and ample olive oil make the best focaccia
Milk Street Bowtie Tomato-Olive Focaccia

Tomato-Olive Focaccia

7¼ hours 40 minutes active, plus cooling

Tomato-Olive Focaccia

Free

This recipe recreates the light, open-crumbed focaccia we ate in Bari, Italy. To achieve that texture, the dough must be wet—so wet, in fact, it verges on a thick, yet pourable batter. Resist the temptation to add more flour than is called for. Shaping such a sticky, high-hydration dough by hand is impossible. Instead, the dough is gently poured and scraped into the oiled baking pan; gravity settles it into an even layer. To cut the baked focaccia for serving, use a serrated knife and a sawing motion to cut through the crust and crumb without compressing it. If you like, serve with extra-virgin olive oil for dipping. If you have trouble finding Castelvetrano olives, substitute any plain pitted green olive.

500 grams (3⅔ cups) bread flour
5 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 cups water, cool room temperature
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted (see note)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Ground black pepper
Ingredients
  • 500

    grams (3⅔ cups) bread flour

  • 5

    teaspoons instant yeast

  • 1

    teaspoon white sugar

  • 2

    cups water, cool room temperature

  • 8

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1

    cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1

    cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted (see note)

  • 1

    teaspoon dried oregano

  • Ground black pepper

Directions
  1. 01
    In a stand mixer with the dough hook, mix the flour, yeast and sugar on medium until combined, about 30 seconds. With the mixer on low, drizzle in the water, then increase to medium and mix until the ingredients form a very wet, smooth dough, about 5 minutes. Turn off the mixer, cover the bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coat the bottom and sides of a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of oil; set aside.
    See Demo
    tomato-olive-focaccia-1
  2. 02
    Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt over the dough, then knead on medium until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes; the dough will be wet enough to cling to the sides of the bowl. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the dough into the oiled bowl. Dip your fingers into the oil pooled at the sides of the bowl and dab the surface of the dough until completely coated with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 5½ to 6 hours; during this time, the dough will double in volume, deflate, then rise again (but will not double in volume again).
    See Demo
    tomato-olive-focaccia-2
  3. 03
    After the dough has risen for about 4½ hours, heat the oven to 500°F with a baking steel or stone on the middle rack. Mist a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray, then pour the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the center of the pan; set aside.
    See Demo
    tomato-olive-focaccia-3
  4. 04
    When the dough is ready, gently pour it into the prepared pan, scraping the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula to loosen; try to retain as much air in the dough as possible. The dough will eventually settle into an even layer in the pan; do not spread the dough with a spatula, as this will cause it to deflate. Set aside while you prepare the tomatoes.
    See Demo
    tomato-olive-focaccia-4
  5. 05
    In a medium bowl, use a potato masher to lightly crush the tomatoes. Scatter the olives evenly over the dough, then do the same with the tomatoes, leaving the juice and seeds in the bowl. If the dough has not fully filled the corners of the pan, use your hands to lightly press the tomatoes to push the dough into the corners. Let stand uncovered at room temperature for 20 minutes.
    See Demo
    tomato-olive-focaccia-5
  6. 06
    Drizzle the dough with the remaining 4 tablespoons oil, making sure to oil each tomato. Sprinkle evenly with oregano, the remaining 1½ teaspoons salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper. Place the pan on the baking steel or stone and bake until golden brown and the sides have pulled away from the pan, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, lift the focaccia from the pan and slide it onto the rack. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
    See Demo
    tomato-olive-focaccia-6
Tip: Don't disturb the dough during its rise. And when transferring the dough to the baking pan, handle it gently. The goal is to retain as much gas in the dough as possible so the focaccia bakes up with an airy texture. Don't use a baking dish made of glass or ceramic; neither will produce a crisp, browned exterior, and glass is not safe to use in a 500°F oven.
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Comments
  • Alice B.

    Can I double this recipe and cook in a half sheet pan?

    0 votes
    1 comments
    • Mark G.

      You could try it but it might not rise as well since the half pans generally have shorter sides than the boxier 9x13 metal pans.

      0 votes
      0 comments
  • diane d.

    you mention a substitute for the olives in the recipe. i am unable to find the note. thank you

    0 votes
    2 comments
    • Mark G.

      You could use capers or sliced pepperoncini peppers with diced roasted red peppers or sliced/diced pickled jalapeños or pickled sliced artichoke hearts

      0 votes
      0 comments
    • Jody N.

      It says any plain pitted green olive may be substituted.

      0 votes
      0 comments
  • Vandana M.

    I just returned from Bari after spending two months there and learning to cook a lot of the local dishes. I have the "family recipe" for this focaccia which is MUCH easier and faster. This is not the authentic Bari focaccia. They use semolina and flour (about 50% each). A single round of proofing right in the baking dish. Takes just over one hour and then bake. Made it three times since I returned and tastes and looks exactly like what I had with the families and in the restaurants there. I don't understand the need for complicating a simple beautiful thing!

    0 votes
    3 comments
    • ann k.

      Although I would guess the 6 to 7 hour proofing would add more flavor.

      0 votes
      0 comments
  • Charron O.

    Despite the generous amount of olive oil added to the pan prior to baking my bread stuck- we had to scrape it off. Tasted great but I’m not entirely sure what I did wrong.

    1 votes
    2 comments
    • Christopher Z.

      Same here.

      1 votes
      1 comments
  • Elsie H.

    I made this for New Years Eve dinner with Cioppino, and we all fell in love with this focaccia. I keep making it because it is so good, and if you have a stand mixer, surprisingly easy.!. For comparison, I made Milk Street’s Herbed Focaccia, and this is hands down, our preference. Just fabulous and addictive!

    1 votes
    0 comments
  • lucas f.

    Is 5 teaspoons of instant yeast really what you meant? My dough was nearly boiling out of the bowl after 2 hours, then lost all lift.

    1 votes
    1 comments
    • Janelle C.

      Hi Lucas,

      5 teaspoons of instant yeast is correct! As mentioned in the instructions "the dough will double in volume, deflate, then rise again (but will not double in volume again)." Hope this helps.

      Best,
      The Milk Street Team

      1 votes
      0 comments
  • Katie L.

    Absolutely delicious and the recipe was perfect. Follow it.

    1 votes
    0 comments
  • nancy b.

    Just made this and it was fabulous. I added fresh oregano as I didn't have Mexican and added sliced dried chorizo and grated sharp provolone cheese. Everything else remained the same, down to the pizza steel in the oven. This is like no other focaccia I've ever tasted. It was moist and flavor-filled, especially the salt topping. Love it. And it was super easy with a stand mixer.

    0 votes
    0 comments
  • Pattie M.

    Could the second proof be in the pan and not the bowl. I had a very hard time getting the dough out of the bowl and it never filled the corners. Backed unevenly.

    1 votes
    1 comments
    • Janelle C.

      Hi Pattie,

      Our Recipe Developer, Julia Rackow says to go for it! Since the goal is to retain the air and to handle it as little as possible it should be fine. Just make sure you oil the pan generously.

      Best,
      The Milk Street Team

      2 votes
      0 comments
  • Robert P.

    i made this and the short rib lasagna both are keepers in my world 6 stars out of five WONDERFUL will make many times thanks

    0 votes
    0 comments
  • Robert P.

    one question the recipe here on the website says 4 Tbs olive oil my magazine says 8 Tbs olive oil i used 8 ??

    0 votes
    1 comments
    • Janelle C.

      Hi Robert,

      Thank you for flagging this! The recipe previously said 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup for drizzling. We've edited it to 8 tablespoons to keep the recipe consistent with the magazine.

      Best,
      The Milk Street Team

      0 votes
      0 comments
Down arrow

Tomato-Olive Focaccia

Get Ready to Cook

12

Servings

7¼ hours

40 minutes active, plus cooling

Tip

Don't disturb the dough during its rise. And when transferring the dough to the baking pan, handle it gently. The goal is to retain as much gas in the dough as possible so the focaccia bakes up with an airy texture. Don't use a baking dish made of glass or ceramic; neither will produce a crisp, browned exterior, and glass is not safe to use in a 500°F oven.

Ingredients
  • 500

    grams (3⅔ cups) bread flour

  • 5

    teaspoons instant yeast

  • 1

    teaspoon white sugar

  • 2

    cups water, cool room temperature

  • 8

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1

    cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1

    cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted (see note)

  • 1

    teaspoon dried oregano

  • Ground black pepper

Step 1 of 6

Mix Dough

500
grams (3⅔ cups) bread flour
5
teaspoons instant yeast
1
teaspoon white sugar
2
cups water, cool room temperature
2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a stand mixer with the dough hook, mix the flour, yeast and sugar on medium until combined, about 30 seconds.


With the mixer on low, drizzle in the water, then increase to medium and mix until the ingredients form a very wet, smooth dough, about 5 minutes.


Turn off the mixer, cover the bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coat the bottom and sides of a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of oil; set aside.

Step 2 of 6

Rest Dough

2
teaspoons kosher salt

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt over the dough, then knead on medium until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes; the dough will be wet enough to cling to the sides of the bowl.


Using a silicone spatula, scrape the dough into the oiled bowl. Dip your fingers into the oil pooled at the sides of the bowl and dab the surface of the dough until completely coated with oil.


Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 5½ to 6 hours; during this time, the dough will double in volume, deflate, then rise again (but will not double in volume again).

Step 3 of 6

Prepare Oven

2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

After the dough has risen for about 4½ hours, heat the oven to 500°F with a baking steel or stone on the middle rack.


Mist a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray, then pour the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the center of the pan; set aside.

Step 4 of 6

Prepare Pan

When the dough is ready, gently pour it into the prepared pan, scraping the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula to loosen; try to retain as much air in the dough as possible.


The dough will eventually settle into an even layer in the pan; do not spread the dough with a spatula, as this will cause it to deflate. Set aside while you prepare the tomatoes.

Step 5 of 6

Add Tomatoes and Olives

1
cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1
cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted

In a medium bowl, use a potato masher to lightly crush the tomatoes. Scatter the olives evenly over the dough, then do the same with the tomatoes, leaving the juice and seeds in the bowl.


If the dough has not fully filled the corners of the pan, use your hands to lightly press the tomatoes to push the dough into the corners. Let stand uncovered at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Step 6 of 6

Bake and Serve

4
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1
teaspoon dried oregano
teaspoons kosher salt
¾
teaspoon ground black pepper

Drizzle the dough with the remaining 4 tablespoons oil, making sure to oil each tomato. Sprinkle evenly with oregano, the remaining 1½ teaspoons salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper.


Place the pan on the baking steel or stone and bake until golden brown and the sides have pulled away from the pan, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.


Using a wide metal spatula, lift the focaccia from the pan and slide it onto the rack. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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Tomato-Olive Focaccia

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