I usually plan my weekly menu around recipes that I plan to test for my blog, and in general, I try to work on new recipes at least three days each week. There are also times when I throw together a bunch of ingredients that I have sitting around needing to be used up and surprise myself by ending up with a great recipe without even planning it. This focaccia is one of those surprises. I had too many garden zucchini and zucchini flowers in my refrigerator one day, as well as half a pound of sheep’s milk ricotta cheese that was expiring soon. I had already decided I wanted to make focaccia that day, so I decided to use up the zucchini, flowers, and ricotta cheese as toppings for my focaccia.
Since neither zucchini or ricotta cheese are big flavor powerhouses, I enhanced the cheese by adding fresh chopped herbs and some grated Pecorin Romano cheese. I also added some flavorful Taggisca olives to give the focaccia a salty punch of flavor. The ricotta I simply spooned on top of the focaccia just before it was baked which became little pockets of creamy cheese goodness once baked, and the zucchini flowers added color and interest. I thought this focaccia would taste good, but I was truly surprised over the rave reviews it received by everyone who tasted it. I have now made this focaccia three times this summer, and it has become a family favorite. Focaccia is a great bread for new bakers to try as it is so easy to make. If you are new to baking bread, you may find my tutorial How To Make Focaccia Step by Step helpful. I also have some other focaccia recipes you might enjoy browsing through.
Deborah Mele 2015
- 5 Cups All-purpose Unbleached Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Instant Active Dry Yeast
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus 2 Additional Tablespoons To Oil Bowl)
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cups Warm Water
- 1 (8 Ounce) Container Ricotta Cheese
- 1/3 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 1/2 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme
- 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 3 Small Zucchini, Finely Sliced
- 8 Zucchini Flowers, Cleaned, & Cut In Half
- 3/4 Cup Taggiasca or Kalamata Olives
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Measure and assemble your flour, oil, salt, yeast, and water.
- Add everything but the water into a large bowl and stir.
- Add half the water and stir.
- Continue to add water until the dough begins to come together into a shaggy ball.
- Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.
- Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant.
- Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.
- Roll the ball of dough around in the oil ensuring the sides of the bowl and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.
- Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise. (I cover mine with a kitchen towel on top of the plastic wrap and sit it on a large sunny windowsill.)
- Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.
- Lightly oil a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet with sides.
- Dump your risen dough into the pan punching it down to deflate it.
- Use your fingers to push and press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Mix together the ingredients for the cheese mixture.
- Use a tablespoon to drop spoonfuls of the cheese mixture evenly over the top of the dough.
- Scatter the zucchini and zucchini flowers evenly across the top of the focaccia, then arrange olives.
- Drizzle olive oil over the top.
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top of your focaccia, and let it sit to rise again for 15 minutes.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown, then cool to room temperature before slicing.