Focaccia Garden

Liking to cook, garden and design, when I noticed these beautiful focaccia breads all over the internet, I had to make some. It makes sense to decorate focaccias, as they are a blank canvas waiting to be adorned with art- edible art!

Focaccia bread ready to be baked

Focaccias have always been my favorite easy-to-make bread in my bread machine and the pages in my cookbook are stained and wrinkled to show that the recipe was well used. But I tried a variation called Ricotta Chive Focaccia which I found online which I think is even better. So, I am giving you both versions, the basic and the ricotta one, as you might not have ricotta cheese sitting around.

Ricotta Chive Focaccia bread rising in my machine

If you prefer the old fashioned method of kneading by hand, you can easily adapt the recipe for that. But, I like the idea of dumping in the ingredients and going outside and do some chores instead.

My first attempt at decorating with edibles

A great bread to have on hand for sandwiches, just slice it lengthwise to split it in half to make hot paninis. Even tearing off a hunk of the bread and snacking on it is very satisfying, so this bread doesn’t hang around on my kitchen counter long at all.

Pair a hunk of focaccia with a fresh salad for lunch

Basic Recipe

Basic Focaccia Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 3 C unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 C corn meal, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 C water
  • 1/3 C olive oil You could use a flavored oil, like rosemary, basil, garlic

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into your bread machine, and select manual. Start.

  2. Check dough the first few minutes of kneading and add additional water or flour if necessary to make a smooth ball of dough. No dough should be stuck on the sides of the canister.

  3. Spray a heavy baking sheet with oil or Pam and sprinkle with cornmeal.

  4. At the end of the final cycle of the bread machine, remove dough and place on the baking sheet and pat into a large circle (12"). Dust your fingers with cornmeal to make this easier.

  5. Brush the dough top with a film of olive oil. This is the glue for your botanicals.

  6. Lay out your botanicals, pressing them lightly into the dough surface. If you need more olive oil, use a bit more. Sprinkle the top with coarse sea salt.

  7. Let rise for about 30 minutes until puffy.

  8. Place in a preheated 425 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees for an additional 5 minutes until lightly brown. Watch it carefully so the surface doesn't brown too much.

  9. Serve it hot or at room temperature, cut into wedges.

Press the edibles into the dough

Ricotta Chive Focaccia

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/3 C ricotta, whole or part skim
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 C Unbleached white flour
  • 1/4 C corn meal, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 C chives and/or rosemary leaves, chopped fine

Instructions

  1. Follow the directions for the basic focaccia bread.

For the large loopy flower, I used strips of fire roasted peppers

Botanicals

I raided my garden and refrigerator for ideas on adding fresh flowers and other edibles. I had some tiny radishes that I pulled and sliced in half to make them flatter. My violas, dill, and nasturtiums were blooming and are edible and I used them, pulling the nasturtiums apart to make them flat. The sky is the limit for what you ultimately decide to use, but think of your dough as your canvas to experiment.

 

Suggested botanicals- peppers, chives, spring onions, edible flowers, sage leaves, basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, dill flowers, fennel or pea tendrils, asparagus, onion slices, olives, radishes, capers, seeds, nuts
Radishes, violas, nasturtiums, capers, chives, pea tendrils, and fennel
Cooked, the botanicals darken somewhat

 

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