This is a simple Italian bread to make with children which they can decorate with their own toppings.
Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread similar in style and texture to pizza; in some places, it is called "pizza bianca". Focaccia can be served as a side dish or as sandwich bread.
In Northwest Italy, a popular variant is focaccia dolce 'sweet focaccia', which is sprinkled lightly with sugar, and may include raisins or honey.
- 2 1/4 cups lukewarm water (about 110°F)
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbs. kosher salt
- 9 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Sliced bell peppers, halved cherry tomatoes, parsley leaves, sliced red onion, sliced black olives, and Broccolini florets, for decorating
- Stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl.
- Let sit until mixture begins to bubble, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add flour and salt, stirring until combined.
- Pour 4 Tbs. oil into a separate large bowl.
- Add flour mixture to oil, turning to coat.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours.
- Drizzle 4 Tbs. oil into a 13x18-in. baking pan.
- Using your hands, spread oil evenly around the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Gently punch down dough and place in prepared pan. Using your fingertips, push dough to evenly cover the bottom of pan.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 230°C.
- Remove plastic wrap. Dimple focaccia all over with your fingers, creating deep depressions in the dough. Arrange vegetables and herbs over the dough.
- Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbs. oil.
- Bake focaccia until puffed and golden brown all over, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Transfer bread to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes before cutting into 12 squares.
Hints and Tips:
- Rainbow Colours - add cherry tomatoes and bell peppers for red, orange, and yellow, herbs and Broccolini florets for green, black olives for blue, and red onion for indigo and violet.
- Kaleidoscopic Spiral. Start in the centre with a round vegetable (a slice of red onion offers the perfect vortex effect). Then assemble concentric circles around it made up of veggies indifferent colours.
- Pretty Flower Garden. Use parsley, chives, rosemary, or thyme to form “stems” and “leaves.” Create “petals” from bell-pepper rings and cherry tomato and red-onion slices. Add olives, sunflower seeds, or capers for flower centres.
How Kids Can Help:
- Have them mix ingredients in a bowl using a spoon or even their hands.
- Press the dough into the pan and spread it out to the edges. Then have them poke it with their fingertips.
- Let kids get creative arranging the veggies on the top.
Parents Magazine's November 2020 issue as “Focaccia Made Fun”