07 March 2013

feta and olive focaccia


When did I lose my sweet tooth? (Is there such thing as a salt tooth, and is that what I have now?) These days instead of dessert after dinner — say, the recommended single square of dark chocolate — I savor a single square of feta cheese, plucked fresh from its bowl of brine.

And I guess I'm a savory baker now, too. Sunday I made two pizzas and cheese-studded focaccia and breakfast buns for the week. Three bowls of yeasty dough perched precariously on the radiator, swelling with their invisible fizzy bubbles. There's something satisfying about baking several breads at once, tending to each loaf as sweat drips down my back, my flour-dusted apron proof of three jobs thoroughly handled, afternoon light glinting goldenrod in the window.

We've had fat, fluffy snowflakes drifting past our house this week, and every night I practically sprint through their downfall to get home and heat myself pesto pizza, or spread pale butter on olive bread. My nights are good food and red wine and Boardwalk Empire, and continually coming to grips with the fact that small things make me happiest, in this short term day-by-day kind of life I'm living.

Feta and Kalamata Olive Focaccia

(adapted from here)

Makes one 12-inch loaf

1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar or honey
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup diced feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil for brushing
pinch coarse salt
shredded Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

In a large mixing bowl combine warm water with yeast, sugar, and salt. Let sit for 3 minutes, or until begins to bubble. Chop feta, olives, and garlic. Add these ingredients, along with flour and olive oil, to mixing bowl, and stir until well-combined. If dough is too wet, add 1 or 2 tbsp of flour. Don't knead the dough.

Lift dough, grease mixing bowl, return dough to bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in warm area and let rise until dough has doubled, about 1 hour. Knead dough once and dump out onto well-floured surface. Press into a circular or oval shape about 1 1/2 inches thick. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray, and carefully transfer dough round to sheet. Preheat oven to 425ยบ.  Cover dough and tray with a cloth and let rise again for 20-30 minutes.

Poke several indentations into dough with finger. Brush olive oil over surface, and sprinkle with coarse salt. If you wish, press additional olive and feta pieces into the bread. Bake for about 10 minutes; remove from oven and quickly sprinkle with shredded cheese. Return to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes more, or until golden brown and crusty to the touch.



  1. This looks tasty and fairly uncomplicated. I'll be giving it a try.

  2. It's not too bad! Minimal kneading and lots of dough resting. I hope you like it!

  3. I understand the salt tooth, much to my Dr's dismay! I go through a salt shaker in 2 months. Oh and 3 garlic cloves, also way up my alley.
    Thank you for such a delight Sally.