Friday, 24 January 2014

Focaccia Caprese - Focaccia with Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil

Focaccia Caprese is a variation of Focaccia influenced by the Capri region on Italy. The flavours usually included are Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil like in a Caprese Salad. As you might know I am part of a Baking Group called 'We Knead to Bake'. We bake a bread every month based on the recipe given by Aparna. After a successful year (yes, we baked 12 breads together and learned a lot), we are moving on to the second year with newer members and newer adventures.

A lot of people feel that the Focaccia is not much different from the Pizza and even go as far thinking it is a kind of square shaped Pizza! However, the Focaccia is different from the Pizza in more than just shape. Traditionally, Focaccia has the topping ingredients kneaded into the dough while Pizza has it on top of the dough. Also, an Italian Pizza crust is on the thinner side, rarely more than 1/2" thick whereas a Focaccia is at least about 3/4" thick. Focaccia therefore, tends to be “spongier” and softer whereas a Pizza is crisper. A lot of oil into the Focaccia dough after which it is shaped and then more oil is brushed/ drizzled on whereas in a Pizza, oil is not kneaded into the dough and only used on top.

Focaccia maybe served warm or cold (at room temperature) but a Pizza is always served hot and never cold. In the old days, Focaccia rarely had any toppings except oil and herbs (and garlic as well) for flavour though this has changed. Perhaps this is why there is this confusion between the Focaccia and the Pizza!
Adapted from The Kitchen Whisperer


For the Dough

Instant Yeast 2 tsp
Sugar 1.5 tbsp
Bread Flour 3.5 cups (use 1 tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten with all purpose flour or just use all purpose flour)
Salt 1 tsp
Olive Oil 1/4 cup
Warm Water 1 - 1.5 cups
A little more olive oil for brushing dough

For the Topping

Tomatoes 4, sliced thin
Fresh buffalo mozzarella sliced
Basil Leaves 1/2 cup, cut into thin strips

For the Herbed Oil

Olive Oil 1/4 cup
Dried Italian Herbs 2 tsp
Red Chilli Flakes 1/2 tsp
Finely minced garlic 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Fresh basil leaves for garnishing

Method of Preparation

1. To make the herbed oil, put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Keep aside till required.

2. Put the yeast, sugar flour, salt and oil in the bowl and mix well.

3. Then add 1 cup of warm water (and as much more as you need) and knead until you have a soft elastic dough that is just short of sticky.

4. Remove the dough from the bowl, shape into a round and place in a well oiled bowl turning the dough around so it is coated. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take about an hour.

5. You can make this as 2 medium sized Focaccia or 4 smaller ones.

6. For the rectangular Focaccia, take two rectangular pans and oil them well. Then divide the dough into two equal portions and lightly roll them (or press out) out into approximately 11” by 7”. If making 4 Focaccia, then divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion out (or press out) evenly into approximately 5” by 7”. It alright if it’s an odd shape because Focaccia is really a “rustic” bread.

7. Transfer the dough to the baking tins. The dough will shrink a little. Use your fingers and push it out a bit making sure it’s evenly thick throughout.

8. Let it rise for 20 minutes. Lightly oil your finger tips and press into the dough creating evenly spaced “dimples” in it. Generously brush the surface with oil.

9. Bake at 210C (410F) for about 18 to 20 minutes till it is almost done and is beginning to turn golden brown. Please note that mine were done in 8-10 min when I made the smaller ones. Please keep an eye.

10. Take the Focaccia out and turn up the heat of your oven to 230C (450F).

11. Lightly drizzle some of the Herbed Oil over the Focaccia and then evenly arrange some slices of mozzarella over the bread, leaving very little space between them. Arrange the tomato slices over this and a little sprinkle the chopped basil over this. The topping should cover most of the surface of the bread.

12. Drizzle some more Herbed Oil over the topping and return the bread to the oven. Bake the Focaccia for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has just melted. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

13. Cut the Focaccia into slices and serve while it is still hot.

This recipe should serve 4 if served alone or 6 if served with a side.


  1. The focaccia with the topping looks perfect and tempting.I love baking focaccia. Thanks for sharing another great topping.

  2. Your bread looks lovely. With focaccia one can never go wrong whatever the toppings.