Okay this recipe for garden focaccia bread is actually surprisingly easy and fun to do with your kids! I really mean it. It takes a little bit of forethought and planning, but after you prep your dough and ingredients it really is fun and easy! It would make a fun activity at your spring gathering, earth day celebration, baby shower or a family brunch. It could even be a fun thing to do at a playdate or if you’re hosting another family over for dinner or celebrating earth day as a family. It would be delicious served with your protein of choice and with a salad. We even sliced this up and made fun sandwiches with it which were delicious!
First up before you buy the ingredients and commit to this project you will need a really large bowl and some time in the morning or the day before to prep your dough. This focaccia bread recipe needs time to rise and sit in the fridge before you bake your bread. When I make this recipe I usually do the prep of the dough and vegetable cutting in the morning and then we will make the designs and bake the bread in the late afternoon for dinner. If you are making this for a party ahead of time, the bread tastes best the day of so I would prep your dough the night before and then design and bake in the morning the day of your party. The bread will last about 1-2 days in the refrigerator. Freezing your baked bread is also an option which could make this even easier to serve at a party.
For the garden focaccia bread you will want to pick out a variety of different herbs and vegetables to slice and chop for the garden design. I used asparagus, bell peppers, shallots, cherry tomatoes, mini bell peppers, parsley, fennel fronds, basil, rosemary, olives and capers. Get creative with your vegetable selections and have fun with it! I personally recommend not going on google or pinterest and looking at what everyone else has made and just using your own creativity. Let this be fun and a creative exploration for you and your kids. The options are endless here truly and you can really make anything you want! Next time I see edible flowers at my natural food store or farmers market I plan to add those on and make another round! That would be so pretty!
Easy No-Knead Garden Focaccia Bread
- 1 1/4 oz. envelope active dry yeast
- 2 tsp raw honey
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 tsp sea salt
- 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Toppings for your "Garden"
- cherry tomatoes
- bell peppers
- Shallot or red onion
- variety of herbs: basil, rosemary, parsley, etc.
- variety of cheeses: fresh mozzarella or parmesan reggiano
- Whisk one ¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast, 2 tsp. honey, and 2½ cups room temperature water in a medium bowl and let sit 5 minutes.
- Add 5 cups all-purpose flour and 5 tsp. sea salt and mix with a rubber spatula until a dough forms and no dry marks remain.
- Drizzle 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil into a big bowl that will fit in your refrigerator. Transfer dough to bowl and turn to coat it in oil. Cover with a silicone lid or plastic wrap and chill until dough is doubled in size. The dough should look very bubbly and alive. Let rise for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day. If you're in a hurry, you can also let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 3–4 hours.
- Generously butter a 13×9" baking pan, for thicker focaccia that is great for sandwiches, or an 18×13" rimmed baking sheet, for focaccia that's thinner, crispier, and great for snacking. Pour 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil into center of pan. Keep dough in the bowl and using a fork in each hand, gather up edges of dough farthest from you and lift up and over into center of bowl. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat process. Do this two more times. Your goal is to deflate dough while you form it into a rough ball. Transfer dough to your buttered pan. Pour any oil left in bowl over and turn dough to coat it in oil. Let rise, uncovered, in a dry, warm spot (like near a radiator or on top of the fridge or a preheating oven) until doubled in size, or for about 2 hours.
- Place a rack in middle of your oven; preheat to 450°. To see if the dough is ready, poke it with your finger and it should spring back slowly, leaving a small visible indentation. If it springs back quickly, the dough isn’t ready and needs more time. Lightly oil your hands. Gently stretch out dough to fill your pan. Dimple focaccia all over with your fingers, creating very deep depressions in the dough (reach your fingers all the way to the bottom of the pan).
Garden Toppings & The Bake
- Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
- Optional: Add cheese first and then top with vegetables. A little bit goes a long way.
- Cut your vegetables into a variety of different shapes and sizes and lay them all out on a cutting board so you can easily design your garden on your bread.
- Add your vegetables and herbs on top of your focaccia bread and press them deep into the dough. Anything too far out of the dough will burn so it is important to press it into the dough. Drizzle with olive oil on top and add any extra flaky sea salt.
- Bake focaccia until puffed and golden brown all over, 20–30 minutes.