Watching people make edible focaccia bread art has been one of my favorite social media trends of 2021 so I decided to try it for myself! I used this article that I found on Pinterest as a jumping-off point.
This is such a fun activity to do with kids… and is quite meditative on your own too. It’s almost (almost) too pretty to eat but once you start ripping it up and dipping it in great olive oil (Brightland is my favorite at the moment), it’s like a little slice of heaven.
It does involve an overnight stint in the fridge so note that before you dive in below. If you’re making this with your kids, I recommend doing the pre-fridge part before they get involved and then finish it off together. It’s really fun to make the little finger holes and decorate with them!
If you want inspiration for the design, just do a quick Pinterest search and you’ll find some incredible focaccia bread art.
Focaccia Bread Art Recipe
Originally found here. I highly recommend adding more salt than recommended in the original recipe for more flavor (noted below too). Prep time: 10 mins, 25 mins, Resting: 1 day, 25 mins
– 2 cups, warm water (110ºF) divided into two bowls
– 1 tbsp granulated sugar
– 2.5 tsp, active dry yeast
– 1/4 cup, olive oil
– 1 tsp salt (I recommend at least doubling this because ours was not nearly salty enough)
– 1 tbsp flakey salt
– 5 level scoops bread flour or all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup, olive oil for the pan and for drizzling on top of the focaccia after rising
– 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
– Vegetables, herbs, and/or meats for topping
1. Combine one cup of warm water with yeast and sugar. Mix to combine. Set it aside for about 5 minutes or until it looks foamy.
2. Place the yeast mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer with the bread hook attached. You can also make this dough by hand with a bowl and spoon but you’ll have to use some elbow grease.
3. Add in about 1 cup of flour and mix on low until combined.
4. Add in the rest of the water, olive oil, salt, and half of the remaining flour. Mix on low until combined.
5. Continue adding in flour while mixing on low until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If it’s still too sticky, add in a couple more tablespoons of flour until it comes together. The dough will be very soft.
6. Keep mixing on low until your dough develops enough gluten that when you touch it, it bounces back. Tip: Take the dough out of the bowl and finish kneading it on the countertop for about 2 minutes until the dough bounces back.
7. Place the dough into a bowl with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size. If you’re using active dry yeast, it might take longer to double.
8. Pour enough olive oil into a 12″x17″ sheet pan (or any pan of similar size) so there is a thin layer of oil covering the entire bottom of the pan
9. Put some olive oil on your hands to prevent sticking and then pull the focaccia dough out of the bowl. It will be very loose.
10. At this point, you can divide it into two loaves if you want. Lay it in the pan and begin stretching it. If it shrinks back, let the gluten relax for about 15 minutes before you stretch again. Don’t worry about getting it to the edges if you divided it in half.
11. Once you’re done stretching, cover it with plastic wrap and place it into the fridge overnight to develop flavor.
12. When you’re ready to bake your bread, take it out of the fridge and let it warm up for about 30 minutes. Dimple the surface with oiled fingers to create some areas where the olive oil can collect.
13. Drizzle a good amount of olive oil onto the top of the bread until all the dimples have a little oil in them. Sprinkle flakey salt on top.
14. After your focaccia has risen for 30 minutes, decorate the top with veggies, herbs, and/or meats.
15. Brush all your veggies and herbs with more olive oil to prevent burning.
16. Bake in the oven at 450 for 20-25 minutes or until the focaccia is nice and golden.
17. Enjoy!! Because of the toppings, this bread is best enjoyed the day of. Refrigerate leftovers. Re-heating the bread in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 350 to bring back that chewy texture.
Photos by Julia Dags.