Breaking Bread: The Begininning-Caramelized Onion and Cherry Tomato Focaccia

by cakeduchess on May 2, 2012 · 76 comments

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Whoever told you baking bread at home was easy kind of lied to you! There, we said it. Bread baking is not a simple task. If it were easy, every single home baker across the world would be baking their own wonderful, crispy crusted bread with soft and moist centers every single day.
After all, we live in the age of convenience. Buying a loaf of a freshly baked baguette, ciabatta, whole grain or a chocolate croissant at the grocery store or bakery is accessible to so many of us. But when you have a little extra time, there is no greater satisfaction than working with your own dough and enjoying the rewards of the hard work you reaped on your kitchen counter.

Breaking Bread Society was created to inspire you to bake more bread in your kitchen. We want you to bake along with us every month and break bread with your family and friends. We want to spark a bread baking passion across the nation and the world around. We know it’s not an easy task and we are here to help you along the way.
Each of our founders has a different background, complementing each other in various ways:
There is me: Lora of Cake Duchess, the Italian baker of the group. I’ve been told I have a way with traditional and classic Italian breads like no other. As a young girl, I got bit with the baking bug making my first pizzas and breads with my family at our pizzeria and later at our family restaurant. Married to an Italian executive chef, my baking repertoire has grown baking alongside my husband, mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law.  You can find my Cornmeal Peasant Boule featured on Fine Cooking’s Best of the Blogs. I’m passionate about bread baking and I am excited to learn alongside my #breakingbread bakers.
Shulie of Food Wanderings, with a couple decades of baking with yeast experience and expertise, is known for her recipe development, food writing and Mediterranean and Indian cooking classes. Born to Bombay born and raised Indian parents, she comes to us from Israel by way of a DC suburb. Her food and culture writings, recipes and food photography have been showcased in nationally and internationally acclaimed publications. You can find her step by step quince stuffed challah rolls published in The Washington Post.
Last but not least, Marnely of Cooking with Books, our professionally trained baker comes to us from the Caribbean island of Dominican Republic and has studied at the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America. Her baking is best known to be spontaneous and influenced by tropical flavors. She currently lives with her husband on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, where she works as a pastry chef in a private golf club, as well as develops recipes for national food brands. You can find her writing for Marcus Samuelsson and Honest Cooking.
What unites us three bakers and all of you? The love of bread and a dear & growing friendship in the Breaking Bread Society! We love baking bread because people love eating real bread; delectable bread steaming hot right out of the oven. We love the discovery of a new recipe and learning new techniques about a bread recipe we may have not tried before. We are here to discover new flavors, new textures, and new ways to experience bread at the table with our friends and family, and most importantly, WITH YOU!
Whether you bake along with us every month or just once, we want to inspire you to love baking your own bread one loaf at a time. We encourage you to make the recipe your own. Check out Marnely of Cooking with Books and Shulie from Food Wanderings recipe ideas for inspiration. Be creative and add your own toppings or bake it as we did.  Read all about our Breaking Bread Society adventures and let’s unite in #breakingbread together:

Bake this month’s bread and post it on your blog with #BreakingBread in the title of the post by June 1st:
  • Include a link back to the current #BreakingBread hostess’ blog (that is me!)
  • Link your post to the linky tool below. It must be a focaccia baked in May 2012 and if you use this recipe, it must include in the recipe: Copyright (c) Nick Malgieri 1995, All Rights Reserved
  • We would love to connect with you on Twitter; Tweet us at @Breaking_Bread  and tag it #BreakingBread!

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When I made this focaccia below, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. It was one of the last ones I made. The dough seemed a little more wet than the other batches were. I could barely dimple the dough and I have to say, it was the best out of all them. The crust was crispy and the crumb was soft perfection. Sometimes when you expect a baking failure you may get pleasantly surprised. Never give up on your dough.;)

focaccia

In preparation for this post, I did quite a bit of focaccia baking. My neighbor’s son told me on the last sample that he didn’t want a piece. He said, “It’s OK, Lora. It’s the same thing you’ve been handing me at the fence for the last 2 weeks.” Then my other friends son exclaimed, “Are you kidding me? I will bike over here any time you are making another focaccia and need me to try it.” 
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Of all the different toppings I was considering for this post, my kids did love the caramelized onion and rosemary one the best. One day when I was baking my parents were here. My mom was giving me fresh basil to add to some photos. My dad was next to her handing me fresh rosemary. My dad kept asking me, “How many more photos?” and the kids were sneaking pieces off the cutting board. When there is this amazing focaccia around, patience is not an option. My dad told me when he was a little boy in Sicily, his mother would make focaccia and then mix ricotta and mascarpone together to put in the middle of a sliced piece: a sweet focaccia sandwich.

*If you really want to make this and don’t have the time to wait for the dough to rise, you could make the dough and leave it in the refrigerator over night (or place in the refrigerator in the morning and take out to bake at the end of the day). When you are ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and press into your oiled or parchment lined pan and let it rise before baking it.
*As mentioned in earlier in the post, you could use your own favorite focaccia recipe if you prefer. We just would love you to bake along with us!;)

Caramelized Onion and Cherry Tomato Focaccia
adapted from: How to Bake by Nick Malgieri
Copyright (c) Nick Malgieri 1995, All Rights Reserved

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups warm tap water (about 110 degrees)
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons sea salt

Topping:

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
caramelized onion
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced diagonally
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
1-3 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt

for caramelizing onion:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large onion

one 101/2 x 151/2-inch jelly roll an or a 14-inch round pan (for my round one, I used a 9-inch cake pan and it was very fluffy. The kids loved it!)

In a small bowl, add the water and sprinkle the yeast on top of the water. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil and whisk together. Set aside.

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In large mixing bowl, add the flour and 3 teaspoons of salt; whisk together or mix together on low speed in your mixer.

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Add the yeast mixture and about half of the flour mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until it is combined. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and add the remaining flour. Mix on low speed for about three minutes. If the dough seems to be too dry, add warm water a teaspoon at a time until you obtain a softer dough.

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This is how my dough looked. It is a dough that is elastic and a little moist.

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Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl (when I put the dough in the bowl I swish the dough around the bottom of the bowl and then flip it over so all of the dough is covered in a light film of oil). Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about 1-1 1/2 hours).

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While the dough is rising, caramelize the onion if using it for topping.

Caramelize onion:

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive- oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions to the skillet and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over it. Stir occasionally and cook until tender (takes about 10-15 minutes
until golden).

This was my dough after 1 hour.
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Place the dough on a parchment lined pan. Pat and press the dough gently until the dough fills the pan completely. If the dough resists, let it rest for a few minutes before continuing (sometimes the dough can be moody). Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap and let it rise again until doubled in size (about 40-60 minutes).

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Set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 425 F.

When the dough has doubled in size, remove the plastic wrap. Dimple the surface of the risen focaccia using your fingertips.
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Brush on the remaining olive oil to the surface of the dough. Sprinkle on the sea salt (add the amount of salt you prefer. We like it a little saltier. You could even add on crushed black pepper if you’d like) and press the cherry tomatoes gently into the dough. Sprinkle on the chopped rosemary.

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Bake the focaccia for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Lift the focaccia from the pan with the parchment paper edges onto a cutting board. You’re supposed to let it cool a little on a rack before serving. That never happens over here. Cut and serve.

Happy Focaccia Baking! Buon appetito!

{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

Shulie May 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Lora, Super excited #breakingbread with you and Marnley. Your focaccia looks incredible you are the master of focaccia. Your dough rose unbelievably. Just a feast of a post.

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El May 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I’ll have a piece of both please. Congrats on your bread society. It’s a wonderful idea. My husband bakes the bread in our house but I’ll definitely be on the lookout for good recipes!

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:06 am

Hi El-Thank you:)

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Alessandra May 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Looks beautiful, one of my favourite breads.

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ophelia1983 May 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm

oh, my god! looks great!

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Maggie May 2, 2012 at 6:13 pm

What a wonderful idea!! I LOVE baking bread and try to convince people all the time that they can do it too! Way to inspire people! I love the topping on the focaccia, I hope I can find the time to link up! This looks delicious!

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Paula May 2, 2012 at 6:36 pm

What a great idea! I’m looking forward to all the wonderful loaves that are going to be created with this group. No wonder the neighbour’s kid will bike over anytime for a piece of this focaccia!

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:07 am

Thanks so much, Paula. I think we’ll have some bread baking fun for sure;)

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kankana May 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm

I am in and I hope I can share something nice by the end of the month :) This will be fun for me as I don’t bake much.

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RavieNomNoms May 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm

This is the second recipe for foccacia that I have seen today. I am SO craving it now!

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Kiri W. May 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Oh, I may be dying a little! :) these look so glorious, I don’t even know which I want more!

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S.V. May 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm

This looks so good. I don’t bake bread I always mess it up no matter how easy it is. Something about yeast doesn’t mix well with me. I would die if I made a bread that turned out this fantastic.

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:10 am

You could always email me with any ?’s. I would love to help you get to an amazing focaccia;)

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bunkycooks May 2, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I love this idea! You have inspired me to bake more bread, so I will plan to join in this month. I still need to come and visit you to taste some of your creations. Must do that soon! xoxo

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:13 am

You have a few weeks to bake one and link up, Gwen. :)

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Rachel @ Baked by Rachel May 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm

the last one looks SO good. Your sons friend and neighbor cracked me up.

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:12 am

thanks, Rachel. I know…they are really so funny and honest. Gotta love it:)

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Jamie May 2, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Gor-geous! Beautiful dough and beautiful bread! I absolutely love making pizza and focaccia dough and I love both the cherry tomato and caramelized onion toppings. I’m in!

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:12 am

I know you baked something this weekend and can’t wait to see your link, sweet lady. xx

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A Thought For Food May 2, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Such a fun project to work on together! I may have to contribute to this myself.

I am in the land of focaccia (still haven’t had any, though) and it makes me so very happy! Love this version with caramelized onion and cherry tomato.

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:08 am

I hope you get inspired to bake some after being in Italy, Brian;)

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 2, 2012 at 10:26 pm

That homemade focaccia sounds amazing! I’ve never made my own but I bet it is even better than the bakery versions I’ve bought.

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Lizzy May 2, 2012 at 11:54 pm

You do have a knack with yeast breads…and these beauties prove it again!!! What a wonderful group…it’s a crazy month here with Nick graduating, but I may try to bake along, too :)

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:08 am

I know you can find the time, Lizzy, because you are amazing;)

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Chloe@EveryCraving May 3, 2012 at 1:03 am

I love making homemade bread. It taste so much better than store bought! This looks absolutely divine. The flavor combos are spot on :)

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Terra May 3, 2012 at 2:37 am

Oh how fun, love the idea of baking bread with a fun group of bloggers:-) Your focaccia bread looks soooooo good!!! I adore making focaccia bread, I need to join in this month for sure:-) Hugs, Terra

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Reem | Simply Reem May 3, 2012 at 2:52 am

What a fun idea…
You have totally inspired me to get up and bake some bread.. It has been long time..
This looks fabulous!!

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Elin May 3, 2012 at 4:01 am

Gosh, this looks delicious and mouth-watering too ! You have just given me an idea to make caramelized onions and tomato focaccia for the weekend ! Thanks Lora for this recipe :) Have a nice day,
Elin

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Baker Street May 3, 2012 at 4:59 am

I love the addition of caramelized onions in my focaccia! Your bread looks just stunning Lora! Great start to the series. :)

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:09 am

I love them, too (a little too much;). Thank you so much, An:)

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Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef May 3, 2012 at 7:48 am

I think I need to try this one. I bake bread all the time and ANYTHING with caramelized onions is my friend. :)

I’ll try to do mine tomorrow afternoon.

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Lisa May 3, 2012 at 8:14 am

When I opened the page to this focaccia, I was awed by how beautiful it is – your photos are stunning! When I make focaccia, which hasn’t been in a while, I add caramelized onions 98% of the time..love them! Love the cherry tomatoes too. I want to tear off a huge piece right now! xo Great idea to form a bread baking society!

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:09 am

I’m so happy you love it, Lisa. I could eat it just with the caramelized onions…every single day;)

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Katherine Martinelli May 3, 2012 at 11:15 am

I love this new series and will definitely be taking part! Your focaccia is stunning and I really love the flavor combination.

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:05 am

I hope you do, Katherine. Thanks for passing by:)

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Rachel Cooks (formerly Not Rachael Ray) May 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Fun series and this bread looks amazing!

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Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes May 3, 2012 at 10:45 pm

This is a great idea and will take part for sure! Thanks to all three for coming up with this.

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:06 am

Thanks, Paula. I hope to see one of your recipes linked here:)Happy bread baking!

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Sue May 4, 2012 at 4:38 am

Mmmm, This would have been perfect for my dinner:)

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Lael Hazan @educatedpalate May 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I adore focaccia and love your photos and the idea for the bread baking society. As you may know, Giuliano is a “top of the stove” kinda chef; however, I’ve some wonderful notes from watching the Sorelle Simili bake. It is time to get inspired!

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:04 am

I know Giuliano could do this with you and the girls. It’s a great recipe to follow and just delicious. ;)

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Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) May 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm

What a talented trio of bakers–I’m a fan of you all. :)

This is the second focaccia I’ve seen this week–I really must try to make my own. I can almost smell the caramelized onions, yum!

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:03 am

Thank you so much, Jean:) I hope you try one out. :)

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Dionne Baldwin May 5, 2012 at 8:39 am

I would love to bake along. :) I have to admit when I first tried baking bread I did feel lied to. My rolls and bread were hard as stones and water would not even soften them! I figured out a few basics and ever since it’s just flowed…

Your foccacia looks delicious. I would love some right now with some (coffee)! I’ll have to think of a modification to try!

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Cake Duchess May 6, 2012 at 3:02 am

I hope you try this recipe, Dionne. I can’t wait to see your spin on it:)I know it will be wonderful.

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DivyaGCP May 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Have been thinking to bake foccacia for a long time. Would love to participate in this bake along. Love both caramelised onion and cherry tomato toppings.
Happy to be your 500th follower.. :)
Divya’s Culinary Journey

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simple baking May 7, 2012 at 9:12 am

The focaccia recipe is a keeper. Love the caramalised onions version :D.
Thanx for coming up with this bakealong.

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Elisabeth May 8, 2012 at 2:08 am

Hi Lora-Finally linked up with my Whole Wheat Focaccia! So glad I made it; didn’t realize how delicious it could be! Loved your sweet raisin focaccia, as well:D
xoxo

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Swathi Iyer May 8, 2012 at 3:14 am

Lora, I came through Elisabeth’s blog. Love to bake focaccia

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Cake Duchess May 9, 2012 at 1:15 am

Hi Swathi-Welcome and thanks for visiting. Bake along with us and send your link here:)

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Barbara | Creative Culinary May 8, 2012 at 6:30 am

I simply love focaccia…guess I need to make some at which point I will the eat the entire thing. And blame it all on you and your cohorts. :)

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Junia May 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm

i am inspired to make some bread now!!! i can’t think of better hosts for this bloghop!!! have you ever tried making a gluten free focaccia before?

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Cake Duchess May 9, 2012 at 1:14 am

Thanks, Junia:)I haven’t. I hope you do make one so we can see how you did it:)

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kitchen flavours May 9, 2012 at 7:03 am

Sounds fun! I’ve baked one of NM’s foccacia last month which was incredibly delicious! Will try to make another one, I’m craving for it again!

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Cake Duchess May 10, 2012 at 1:23 am

Great! Link up your post with us:)Happy focaccia baking!

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) May 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I love caramelized onions, what a perfect focaccia topper!

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Nina May 19, 2012 at 3:44 am

I love this idea…wud love to participate. Just baked and posted a Savory Focaccia,didnt know about this event….will try and bake again to participate:).Happy baking:)

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Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes May 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Lora, I´ve tried to link my post but turns out the pictures are too big, so now I´m trying to figure that out. Technology and I are not big friends but I´m hoping to get it done today!

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Cake Duchess May 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Hi Paula-I could try to link up the post for you if you’d like. Email me and let me know:)

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Chi Chi Cakes May 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm

I definitely want to be a part of this adventure! Gonna do this with my daughter. It is going to be great.

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Bindiya Arondekar May 22, 2012 at 3:46 am

It was an amazing feeling baking foccacia at home, the aroma filled the entire house :) I would have picked the caramelized onion and rosemary foccacia to munch on. The cherry tomato image looks gorgeous though!

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Cake Duchess May 29, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I agree, Bindiya. It’s a wonderful feeling to bake any bread at home. Thank you very much:)Happy baking to you:)

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Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen May 27, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Focaccia bread is so amazing and I’m wishing I was your neighbor to try all of the different varieties! So glad I made focaccia this week too. I just learned about breaking bread and I’m very excited to cook with you all! Thanks for hosting!

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Cake Duchess May 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Love your whole wheat focaccia, Milisa. So happy you joined us and linked up:)Happy baking! xx

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Winnie May 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Thank you so much for the invite! I’m happy to get to know your group :)
Your fuccacia looks soooooooo good – I’d love to try it.

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Cake Duchess May 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Love your sweet potato focaccia idea, Winnie. It looks delicious:)Thanks for baking along with us:)

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Barbara | Creative Culinary May 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Next time I’m making this…I might bemoan our tomatoes here but cherry tomatoes are the exception so I can’t wait.

Or maybe I’ll do caramelized onions or maybe both or maybe I’ll just eat a tray of focaccia every day for a month. I could do that. :0

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Cake Duchess May 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Why not!?! That’s what I’ve done:)And I have to try every entry, right?;)Thanks for baking with us, Barb. Your focaccia is lovely:)

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The Wimpy Vegetarian May 30, 2012 at 4:53 am

How fun! I love how your focaccia sounds and looks. Pinning it to remind me to try it!! I’d love to join you guys some month for the bread baking. I love to bake my own bread!

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Lisa May 31, 2012 at 10:00 pm

I raced home to finish writing the post for my focaccia. Made it in the nick of time lol Loved joining you and everyone in baking focaccia! xo

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Natalija June 1, 2012 at 3:04 am

Working on my post – baked 2 savory focaccias and 1 sweet.

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Natalija June 1, 2012 at 7:43 am

Post is now complete. I can’t wait for the next challenge!

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Cake Duchess June 1, 2012 at 10:20 am

Wonderful, Natalija. Go ahead and link your post today. It’s the last day to link;)

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Natalija June 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Lora, is there a way to resubmit the Linky photo? It didn’t go through.

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Awesome Amy September 12, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I make a no knead recipe from America’s Test Kitchen – it always turns out delicious! I might try adding cherry tomatoes next time with seasonings. Or maybe use one of the linkys to make spicy focaccia!

A Blog About Nothing – Focaccia Bread

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