Have I REALLY not ever done a real pizza post? Rob and I like to make homemade pizza once a week, though it’s been more like once a month these days. Pizza is never boring, especially not homemade pizza. But one of the variations I really like is making focaccia bread pizza. My favorite pizza dough recipe is pretty similar to the recipe I use for focaccia. But unlike my homemade pizza, I love my focaccia bread pizza with no sauce, feta cheese, sliced tomatoes, and fresh arugula. SO DANG GOOD.
I’ve loved focaccia bread forever–there are so many varieties and toppings. I used this recipe from Fashionably Foodie as a starting point, but found I was always making adjustments, maybe because I don’t use a bread maker. I played with the recipe and made my own dough. Just so you know: if you’d like to make focaccia and also a traditional pizza with sauce and everything, I did both with this recipe and both were delicious. So if you want to sub this in for your pizza dough, you won’t be disappointed!
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or one packet)
- 1 cup water, separated into 1/3 cup warm water and 2/3 cup for later
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2-3 T olive oil
- Preheat oven to 475.
- In a mixing bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, and 1/3 warm (but not HOT!) water. Slurry the yeast around until it incorporates a bit, then cover and leave in a warm place, like the oven top.
- Let sit for 10-15 minutes, or until the mix is frothy and has puffed up. (If nothing changes, your water may have been too hot and killed the yeast! Dump it and start again.)
- Add the rest of your water, salt, and about 2 cups of the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball. Add flour as needed if it gets too sticky.
- When the dough is fully mixed and not sticky, knead it on a flour-covered surface for 3-5 minutes.
- Put the dough ball in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.
- Using a roller or your hands (focaccia is a rustic bread so forget about making it perfect!), speed it into a flattened circle about an inch thick. Brush generously with olive oil and use fingertips or the end of a spoon for dotting-- essentially make little dips all over the surface.
- Top with herbs, cheese, or other toppings.
- Bake on a pizza stone (or greased pan) with cornmeal sprinkled lightly underneath for about 15 minutes, until the bread is golden.
- If topping with an arugula salad, let the bread sit for a few minutes so it's hot, but not piping hot. You want the salad to wilt just a little. Squeeze with fresh lemon just before serving.
- To use this recipe as pizza dough, press the dough after rising into a greased pizza pan to desired thickness. (I use a rolling pin if I want thin and my hands if I want thicker.) Cover with sauce and mozzarella cheese and bake about 15 minutes.
When you make the focaccia, brush the top with olive oil before baking and dot the dough by poking little divots into it. I used the end of a wooden spoon for this. Before baking, I added a few tablespoons of garlic (we LOVE roasted garlic), salt, pepper, and fresh basil.
The arugula salad goes on after the focaccia comes out of the oven. As for the cheese, you can actually add it before or after, depending how you like the temperature and consistency. I loved it both ways. (Wow, this is making it sound like I eat a LOT of carbs.) Squeeze a bit of lemon and BOOM. Try not to eat a whole one yourself. I dare you.
I also love roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes on both pizza and focaccia. How about you: what are some of your favorite pizza or focaccia toppings?