Peaches are in season! When I made my way to the produce department I could smell the peaches. I couldn’t help myself, I knew I had to buy some. As organized as I am, I rarely shop with a list and I frequently buy what I don’t need and forget what I need. This trip I picked up the peaches and forgot the milk. Thankfully, our grocery store is very nearby.
Did you know focaccia bread was created to suppress the hunger of Italian dockworkers so they could finish unloading the ships in a day? Since they didn’t have time for a full lunch, Focaccia was the perfect snack with a little wine. Now, it’s so popular, it’s a breakfast staple. Olive oil from the Ligurian region of Italy is the best olive oil for focaccia. Don’t take it from me, this was decided in Salt, Fat, Acid Heat on Netflix, Episode 1 Salt.
Start by proofing the yeast. In a small bowl with warm water, add the yeast and sugar. Stir gently to combine and let it stand in a warm place until the top is foamy (anywhere from 3 – 7 minutes, depending where you live). I placed the yeast mixture in the microwave, closed the door and left alone for 10 minutes. While the yeast is proofing, measure out all your other ingredients.
When the yeast has proofed, added it to the standing mixer and with the speed on low, slowly add the flour, then the salt and the olive oil. As the ingredients start to come together, stop the mixer and scrape the sides and hook. Start again and mix on medium speed until the dough is elastic and it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Shape the dough into a ball.
How to Knead Dough: use the heel of your palm to push the dough away from you, bring the dough back toward you with your hand, give it a quarter turn and repeat these steps a few times.
Coat a medium size bowl with olive oil by circling the bowl a few times. Add the dough to the bowl and toss it over a few times to completely coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Coat an inverted half sheet pan with olive oil and dust with cornmeal. Set aside.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the counter. Using your fingers, stretch the dough out into a rectangle that’s about 1/2 inch thick. Place it on the inverted half sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap again for 15 minutes to give the dough a second rise. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F while the dough is rising.
Note: By inverting the sheet pan you get better air circulation during baking.
Indent your fingers throughout the dough and drizzle enough olive oil to pool the oil in the dents. Sprinkle Italian Seasoning mix evenly across the dough in a zig-zag motion. Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Mine baked for 17 minutes. While the focaccia bakes, prep the toppings.
Note: If your oven has a hot spot, turn the pan after 8 minutes for even baking.
Our heat index was triple digits so grilling outside was out of the question for me. I grilled the peaches in my kitchen on a grill pan. While the peaches grill, slice the plum tomato and quarter the burrata cheese. As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, layer the prosciutto, cheese, tomato and grilled peaches. The heat of the bread will warm the ingredients. Add some basil leaves and lightly season with finishing salt, pepper and a little olive oil.
I adapted this recipe from Tyler Florence’s recipe. It was fabulous! With all the olive oil in this recipe you would think it was oily, but it wasn’t. The focaccia was soft with a great crust. The flavor combination was perfect. I’m so glad I picked up those peaches!
Note: Depending on the toppings you’re adding, be mindful of the salt. The focaccia bread has plenty of salt as do the prosciutto and cheese. I lightly salted the tomatoes and cheese, cracked fresh ground pepper over all the toppings and added a little olive oil. Try other flavor combinations like goat cheese with caramelized onions! Play with different seasonings mixing both dry and fresh herbs. Pesto would also be delicious – mix it with a little olive oil and drizzle it over the top.
Grilled Peaches, Prosciutto, Burrata & Basil on Homemade Focaccia Bread
This focaccia bread is perfect. It's soft on the inside yet crunchy on the outside. A little salty bite with the sweet flavor of the olive oil. Enjoy it plain, with a dipping sauce or top it with grilled peaches, prosciutto, cheese and fresh basil. Can be served as a meal or appetizer.
- 2 teaspoons rapid-rising dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water, 110°F
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt)
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for coating and drizzling
- cornmeal for dusting
- ½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning mix
- 1 ½ – 2 peaches, sliced
- 1 3-ounce package of prosciutto ham
- 3-4 balls of burrata cheese, quartered
- 1 plum tomato, sliced
- 1 handful basil leaves
- salt and ground black pepper
In a small mixing bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and sugar. Gently mix to combine and set aside so the yeast can proof, about 3-8 minutes. Once the yeast has proofed, add to the stand alone mixer.
Note: Bubbles will begin to form on top as the yeasts interacts with the sugar. If the yeast doesn't bubble, discard and begin again.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour. As the flour becomes incorporated, add the salt and olive oil. When the dough begins to come together, increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. Make sure you stop frequently to scrape the sides and hook, ensuring all the ingredients become incorporated into the dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times with the heel of your palm. Form the dough into a round ball and place the dough in a separate bowl that has been coated in olive oil. Toss the dough to coat completely, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on the counter. Using your fingers, stretch the dough out into a rectangle that's about 1/2 inch thick. Place it on an inverted half sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap again for 15 minutes to give the dough a second rise. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F while the dough rests and prep the toppings.
Once the dough has rested, indent your fingers throughout, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle Italian Seasoning mix across the dough in a zig-zag motion. Bake on the bottom rack for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
While the bread is baking, grill the peaches on a grill pan or outdoor grill. Slice the plum tomato and quarter the burrata cheese.
As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, layer the prosciutto, cheese, tomato and grilled peaches. Add basil leaves and lightly season with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.