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Caprese Focaccia Bread

This crusty and fluffy Italian favourite is topped with melty mozzarella cheese, fresh tomato and basil. Serve it as a tasty appetizer, or an elegant side to a salad, this focaccia is sure to be enjoyed by all.


I've always loved Italian food, which was difficult when I was little, since my dad was not one to eat herbs and spices and he dislikes garlic. But I remember mom buying pizza for us to eat on Fridays, and jarred pasta sauce for us to enjoy when dad worked afternoon shift. I remember visiting my older sister, after she moved out and enjoying manicotti, lasagna and alfredo pastas. Once I moved out on my own, I became more adventurous in my culinary undertakings and started to read more Italian recipes. 

I've never been brave enough to try making homemade pasta, but I fell in love with bread baking many years ago. I love making soft fluffy dough and turning it into something comforting and delicious. It wasn't until a few years ago, that I tried my hand at making focaccia bread. I always bought it when I was lucky enough to spot it in the bakery section of local grocery stores. Once my confidence grew, I decided to try my hand at making it at home. It always turns out so wonderfully every single time. I absolutely love this versatile recipe.

Focaccia is a flat oven baked Italian bread, very similar in texture to pizza. Focaccia is left to rise after it's been flattened, while pizza is baked immediately. It is typically made with yeast, olive oil and herbs. Making focaccia is similar to baking bread. Flour, water, olive oil and yeast are combined and kneaded together. Left to rise, then stretched into a rimmed baking sheet, indentations are then made, with fingertips, into the dough and it is drizzled generously with olive oil. It is then baked until golden brown. Focaccia can be eaten plain, of used as bread and stuffed with meats and vegetables.


Caprese salad has always been one of my favourite appetizers. I love the layers of tomato and fresh mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and basil. It is such a fresh and vibrant dish. When making my latest focaccia, I decided to top it with mozzarella, tomato and basil. I knew that it would be a delicious twist and a great addition to our pasta dinner. 

Can I make focaccia ahead of time?

Traditional focaccia is sometimes left to rise for up to 30 hrs. This recipe however can be made from start to finish in just 2 hrs. Some say it is better if the dough is left to rise in the fridge over night, but I really can never think of making the dough far enough in advance to remember to do this. The longer the dough ferments, the more flavourful it will be. If you do decide to let your dough rise in the fridge for a day or two, let it come to room temperature before stretching it out to bake.

How to serve and store focaccia

Focaccia is definitely best eaten the day it is baked. However you can store it in an air tight container for 1-2 days. To refresh, simply drizzle with more olive oil and heat in a 325 degree F oven for 5 minutes. You can also freeze focaccia for up to one month. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then wrap in foil. Day old focaccia can be chopped and baked into croutons.


Equipment needed for this recipe
  • stand mixer with dough hook
  • liquid and dry measure measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • large bowl
  • rimmed baking sheet
  • sharp knife or pizza cutter
Caprese Focaccia Bread

1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) rapid-rising dry yeast
1 1/4 C warm water (115- 120 degrees)
2 Tbs sugar
3 C all-purpose flour
1 Tbs salt
1/4 C olive oil
3 tsp sun-dried tomato spice blend/Tuscan spice blend
2-3 Tbs olive oil
1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
tomato slices (I used some beautiful small cocktail tomatoes)
7 leaves fresh basil

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve.Let stand for 5-7 minutes or until foam appears and it bubbles.

Add the oil and flour and mix for 2-3 minutes. Add in the salt and spice blend, and turn the mixer to medium. Mix for 7-8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. If it is sticky, add more flour, as necessary. Remove the dough from mixer, put in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let double in size (about 1 hour).
 
Take a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Using a pastry brush, spread the oil over entire pan.

When the dough has doubled, turn it out onto the prepared pan. Stretch it out evenly distributed, making sure it reaches the corners. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit for 15-20 minutes; while the oven is preheating to 400 degrees F.
 
Uncover the dough and gently dimple with your fingertips. Drizzle with 2-3 Tbs olive oil. Bake in the middle rack for 15-18 minutes, until almost completely baked.

Increase oven to 450 degrees F. Remove from the oven and add slices of mozzarella and slices of tomato. Season with fresh ground pepper and salt, and bake for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is just melted. Remove from oven and sprinkle with torn fresh basil. Cut into desired pieces.

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Comments

  1. This looks amazing! Well done :)

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  2. This looks so delicious. Thank you so much for sharing

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  3. Yum!! I love focaccia but have never tried making it before. I love caprese so this sounds delightful!

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  4. I love focaccia bread! The melty mozzarella and the fresh tomatoes make my mouth water, lol! Pinned, I'll be making it soon!

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  5. I love anything caprese! I’m so excited to try this one out! I think I’ll make it when my sister visits because she loves caprese too.

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  6. Completely in love with this recipe and wish I could reach into my monitor and grab a slice. Will make it for my family as we all love focaccia and caprese.
    Thank you for sharing

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  7. Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing! I love focaccia and caprese but have never tried making it before. Saving it so I could try it soon!

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  8. When I was a kid, my family always bought pizza on Friday nights, too! Now, I always make my own on Fridays. It's a fun tradition. I love your combo of Caprese salad on focaccia!

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  9. I have never had this type of bread before, but it looks delicious from what I see in your pictures. You always have some great recipe ideas, and I am always excited to read your post. I will definitely have to try this recipe!

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  10. You are making me hungry stop doing that

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  11. Focaccia and caprese: two goodies in one = food heaven! I had focaccia in mind for a long time, but I'll make something better now:))

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  12. This looks delicious! I've never made focaccia, but it looks either than I thought!

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  13. This looks amazing and I love how easy it is to make! Caprese is one of my top 3 pizza flavors so I know this is going to happen soon!

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  14. Christie Gagnon24 March 2021 at 21:43

    So delicious!

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  15. Oh wow! I love pizza. And this looks delicious! I’ve been wanting to make focaccia and now I can with your recipe!

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