This super satisfying Antipasto Focaccia is loaded with olive oil, cheese, olives, red onion, tomatoes & peppers. The focaccia bakes up into a chewy, pillowy golden sheet of savory goodness loaded with crispy cheese and a rainbow of flavorful toppings.
1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water at around 110°F
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
6 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil (divided)
2 1/2 cups +1-2 tablespoons bread flour (or all purpose flour)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3/4 cup CA Ripe Olives, green, black or a mix (sliced or halved)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers and/or pickled hot peppers (sliced into rings)
1/4 cup shallot or red onion (thinly sliced)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
3/4 cup mozzarella (grated)
1/2 cup parmesan or similar hard cheese (finely grated)
2 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs (basil, parsley, rosemary or oregano
sea salt flakes (sprinkle to taste)
Red pepper flakes (optional, sprinkle to taste)
Combine warm water at around 110°F with sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast begins to bloom and bubble up.
Add 2 ½ cups of the bread flour, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and fine sea salt.
With the dough hook attached, turn the mixer on a low speed to mix until the ingredients come together, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
If after 5 minutes the dough is still very sticky, add 1-2 tablespoons of bread flour until the dough just starts to amass around the dough hook and pull away from the sides of the bowl. It will still be droopy and sticky.
With oiled hands, gather the dough into a rough ball shape, then transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel or oiled plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours for more flavor and texture development. For a quicker version, instead, allow the dough to rise on the counter or in a warm place for 90 minutes up to 2 hours until the dough has doubled in size. The colder the room is, the longer it will take for the dough to rise.
Add the minced garlic to the remaining olive oil. Once the focaccia dough has rested in the fridge (or risen on the counter) coat a quarter-sized rimmed baking sheet (9.5″ x 13″) with 2 tablespoons of the remaining garlic olive oil mixture.
After the dough has risen, gently fold it over itself a few times in the bowl to build some tension. Transfer it to the prepared baking sheet and turn it over to coat it with oil. Place the dough seam-side down. Let it rise, uncovered in a warm area of your kitchen, until it spreads and almost covers the bottom of the pan, 90 minutes to 2 hours.
While the dough rises again, prepare the toppings. Add 1 tablespoon of the garlic olive oil to thinly sliced red onions. This helps keep them from burning.
Carefully stretch the dough towards the edges of the pan so it fills the entire pan. Use your fingertips and gently press into the dough, creating little dimples all over the entire surface.
Evenly sprinkle the top of the dough with the cheeses. Layer on the red onions, olives, tomatoes and peppers, gently pressing them into the dough.
Preheat the oven to 450° F and allow the focaccia to rise for 15-20 more minutes while the oven preheats. Place a larger baking sheet on the lower shelf to catch any drips of cheese or olive oil spill-over. If you have a baking stone or steel, this is a great opportunity to use it as it will help the underside of the focaccia brown up beautifully.
Just before baking, drizzle the top with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 22-25 minutes until the bread has a warm golden crust. If things start looking too dark or burned, you can tent the top of the focaccia with a sheet of foil to prevent over-browning.
Allow the focaccia to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes. Gently remove the focaccia from the pan and slice into 12 large slices, or smaller bite-sized portions for sharing. Serve warm.
*By first bringing the oven up to 475° F and turning it down to 450° just before baking gets the interior oven temperature good and hot, which helps the focaccia attain its signature crusty edges and airy interior without burning the toppings to a crisp.
Focaccia is a recipe best served fresh and warm. But this Antipasto Focaccia will last up to 3 days when stored in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Dough Resting Time: 12-24 hours
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: focaccia, antipasto, veggie focaccia