Sourdough Saturday – Tomato Herb Focaccia

I love picnics and will find almost any reason to have one. This week’s reason – late August! Yes, I am probably the only person in the U.S. who hates to see the cool weather come, but cooler August evenings are perfect for picnics.

So one evening this week we had almost the whole clan over. The grandchildren all rode their bikes to the park and we brought along the food. There were plenty of tears – 3 year old’s fall off their bikes a lot – and some quasi parenting of the older neighborhood boys who wouldn’t let the younger kids on the slide, but overall we had a great time.

When you are feeding several younger children finger food is a must. This is especially true if there is something to distract them from actual eating; in this case it was the playground and all the cousins being together. So our menu included pickles, beautiful dark blue grapes, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, BBQ chicken tenders, 4 bean salad and this moist focaccia cut in wedges.

Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups sourdough starter (find out how to make your own starter here)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 3 cups flour (I use a combination of all purpose and white whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup dry milk

In a large bowl or bowl to a stand mixer, combine the starter, olive oil, tomato paste and water. Mix to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until a smooth batter has formed.

Continue to beat until the batter/dough is smooth. At this point the dough will be very loose and wet, slightly thicker than a cake batter but not as dry as a regular bread dough.

Pour the dough into a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 3-4 hours. Gently deflate. Pour the dough into two greased, 8-inch cake pans. Cover and let rise for 1 – 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Just before baking, dimple focaccia with fingertips, brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan and let cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Note: This focaccia was a pretty pink color, which deepened to an attractive red when baked. It had a nice tomato flavor and would be good for making sandwiches or maybe an eggplant and cheese panini!

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at SeedToPantry.com and HestiasKitchen.com.

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