Photo by Lisa Kivirist
What connects hot, crispy comfort food with boosting immunity? Garlic focaccia bread. My husband John Ivanko and I have become huge focaccia fans, thanks to our son, Liam, embracing his inner chef. Her perfected and versatile focaccia recipe is shared below.
Garlic, specifically the German red variety, is a cash crop for my family business at Inn Serendipity Farm and Bed & Breakfast. When we go to split our garlic seeds in late October, we still have some of the smaller cloves that don’t make the “planting” cut. Some cloves are frozen, so we have enough to cook from February to July the following year. Some garlic cloves are used up when we start making tomato sauce on our wood stove, using our leftover onions and the ripe tomatoes we frozen in August or September.
Finally, a few cloves of garlic are used in this garlic focaccia bread, generously tossed with clove halves scattered over the bread; during cooking, cloves soften perfectly. Besides baking this focaccia in a traditional convection oven in our farmhouse kitchen, we’ve also had great success making this bread in our wood-fired oven outside, usually after we’ve finished our artisan pizzas, so we can enjoy the focaccia the next day. We always try to optimize cooking in the outdoor wood-fired oven, preparing and roasting as many items or dishes as possible with each cooking.
Rooted in Italy, focaccia is an oven-baked flatbread similar in texture, flavor and style to pizza dough, but crispier with only light toppings like cheese shavings or fresh herbs on top. season. There is no tomato-based sauce layer or cheese chunks for this bread. Focaccia can be used as an accompaniment to many meals. We find focaccia also works well for toasted sandwiches. Thinly cut into strips, focaccia can also make a fancy appetizer when you add your thickened homemade tomato sauce for dipping. Goat cheese or homemade pesto also make great spreads to accompany bread.
If you cook under your state’s food law and sell food from your home kitchen, this could be a great item to sell at a farmers market or deliver locally. As Farm Chef Liam says, “It’s an easy and very versatile recipe. Each time I make it I try a different cheese filling or use fresh herbs when available.
Inn Serendipity Garlic Focaccia Bread Recipe
Servings: 12 (depending on size)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour or type 00 flour
- 1-1/4 cup warm water (90 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 3 to 4 large garlic cloves
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated melted cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- Optional: fresh basil, thyme, oregano or other herbs
- Briefly hatch the yeast in lukewarm water to ensure that it is alive and active.
- Mix all batter ingredients in a bowl or stand mixer until combined into a smooth batter (5-6 minutes).
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size (usually one to two hours).
- Once the dough has risen, prepare a 9″ x 13″ baking dish by rubbing it with olive oil then lightly seasoning the bottom with salt and pepper.
- Gently transfer your batter to the oiled pan and spread it over the pan lids. Try to avoid flattening the dough as much as possible.
- Place a damp towel over the pan and let rise for 25-30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Drizzle the top of the focaccia generously with a few teaspoons of olive oil, then using your fingers, gently dig the surface of the dough to incorporate the olive oil and create a textured surface.
- Peel and cut the garlic cloves in half lengthwise. Place the garlic halves in the dimples on the surface of the dough. If you want to include fresh herbs, now is the time to dice them and sprinkle them over the surface of the dough.
- Place a light layer of melting cheese on the garlic and the focaccia. Covering the garlic will help prevent it from burning in the hot oven.
- Add a final drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a little more freshly cracked black pepper on top. Then place the focaccia in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden on top and cooked through.
- When it comes out of the oven, let the focaccia cool briefly before cutting it to allow the bottom to separate more easily from the mould.
- Serve or use immediately, or refrigerate after cooling for later use.
Lisa Kiviristewith her husband, John D. Ivankoa photographer and drone pilothave co-written rural revival, House for salethe winner ECOpreneuring and farm managercookbook with operation Serendipity Inn B&B and Farm, entirely powered by renewable energy. Kivirist is also the author Soil Sisters. As a writer, Kivirist contributes to MOTHER EARTH NEWS, most recently, Living with renewable energy systems: wind and solar and 9 Strategies for Independent Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son, Liam, and millions of ladybugs. Read all posts by Lisa MOTHER EARTH NEWS here.
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