A focaccia full of Greek flavours
Want to taste a slice of Greece? This focaccia, topped with tomatoes, herb-infused olive oil, Kalamata olives and feta will help you get there! Not bad for an Italian flatbread!!
Focaccia is quickly becoming one of our favourite things to prepare and eat. Once you find the perfect dough recipe (and this one might be it), you have a blank canvas to work with! Top the focaccia dough with anything your heart and palate desires, and you can create a personalized focaccia to suit any taste.
But our tastes tend to run towards Greek flavours (we’re biased that way 🙂 ) and we make no apologies! The flavours of this focaccia with tomatoes, olives and feta are fresh and familiar. Although we experiment with all sorts of toppings (would you like us to share those too?), we seem to always come back to this one. We think you may find yourselves doing the same.
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What’s the difference between focaccia and pizza?
In many ways, focaccia and pizza are similar. Both have a base of dough, and can have a variety of toppings. Focaccia dough however tends to use more leavening agent than a conventional pizza dough does, resulting in a thicker dough base. This is important because focaccia usually enjoys being topped with olive oil, which we also use to coat the bottom of the baking tray. This give our focaccia the distinct crispy, crunchy bottom it is known for. Yum!
Focaccia is often made with minimal toppings, and can often be served as a bread to accompany a meal or soup. Pizza on the other hand usually has generous toppings, which typically include a tomato sauce and cheese topping. If all this talk of pizza has you craving a slice, you can check out our mother’s recipe here, and our aunt Voula’s recipe here. Both are delicious!
My yeast has been sitting in the back of the pantry for a while. How do I know if it’s still good?
First of all, why haven’t you been using your yeast? We think it’s time to start baking some stuff like our no knead bread with olives and feta, or our pita bread, or our kouloures. We hate for things to go to waste, including the yeast you bought months ago in a moment of inspired grocery store shopping.
But getting back to your question, the first step in our recipe is to combine the yeast with warm water and sugar. If your yeast is still healthy and active, after 5 or 10 minutes you will see some bubbles and froth forming on the surface of the water. If you do not, we’re sorry to say, your yeast is likely dead. Toss it before you waste anymore ingredients and take a trip to the market.
Can I make the focaccia dough even if I don’t a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment?
Of course you can. Bakers have been baking for centuries and we’re pretty sure they didn’t have the fancy mixers many of us are fortunate to have today. You can just as well knead your focaccia dough by hand. It will take some effort, and may take a little more time, but it will be just as delicious (it may even be MORE delicious, thanks to your efforts).
Can I plan ahead and make the dough in advance?
You sure can! We sometimes make a double batch of dough and freeze half after the first rising to be used another day. To use frozen focaccia dough, allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then bring it to room temperature. Spread it onto your baking tray and allow it to rise (second rising as described in the recipe).
If you will be using your dough the next day simply keep it in the refrigerator after the first rising.
Looking for other light meals? Check out these recipe!
We love hearing from you! If you have made our recipes, or if you have a question or comment, or simply want to say Hi!, please leave a comment below!
Focaccia with tomatoes, olives and feta
- Baking sheet, 9 x 13 inches
- Stand mixer with dough hook attachment
- 1 cup (250 mL) warm water
- 2 teaspoons dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/2 cups (375 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil, (divided), plus more for the pan and drizzling on top of the focaccia
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/3 cup (60 grams) Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into thin rounds
- 1/4 cup (38 grams) Greek feta, crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, the yeast and the sugar. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, until you see bubbles forming.
- Add the flour, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, and the salt. Mix on low speed using the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer for a few minutes until the dough is smooth. It will be a little sticky; this is normal.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a ball. Transfer your dough to a bowl that you have brushed with olive oil.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in a warm, draft free location for approximately 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, in a small sauce pot, heat up the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, add the sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme and the garlic cloves. Heat for 5-10 minutes over low heat, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Remove from heat, discard the garlic cloves, and let stand.
- Once the dough has risen, lightly oil a 9 X 13 inch baking sheet, with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, (not the one that you just heated up). Punch the dough down a bit, and place it onto the baking sheet. Using your fingers, stretch it into a rectangle. It doesn't have to be perfect. Keep stretching until you reach the desired shape.
- Using your fingertips, dimple the dough all over. Remove the fresh herbs from the heated oil mixture, and drizzle 2 tablespoons over the dough.
- Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, place in a warm draft-free location and let it rise again for another 20 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the olives over the dough, by pressing them down gently.
- Arrange the tomato slices over the dough, sprinkle the tomatoes with some salt, and top with the crumbled feta cheese.
- Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of the herb-infused olive oil over the tomatoes, olives and feta. Sprinkle the dry oregano all over your focaccia.
- Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 20 minutes, or until the underside of your dough and the edges are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, and let your focaccia sit for 5-10 minutes to cool. Transfer your focaccia to a wire rack to allow it to cool for another 10 minutes. Enjoy!