My gal pal Stamie loves focaccia bread. As a fellow school mom, I’d often meet her at the school playground where we’d pick up our kids. We’d try to hide behind some shrubs (while keeping a close eye on the little ones) so we could safely devour the warm bread all to ourselves. We’d chat and coo about what ingredients to add to the next batch I’d bring. And I promised her that I’d show her how to bake this ‘approachable’ bread at home. Every mom can nail this one if you have a little time and patience…
Well, every mom…except me, apparently! Stamie came over a few weeks later for a kid playdate and I wanted to surprise her with her favorite – focaccia bread. What a flop! It was flat. It was soggy. It was a complete fococcia-in’ fail! Ah well, you win some and you lose some. Stamie was uber-gracious at my attempt which only fueled my desire to continue practicing this recipe until I conquered it. So without further adieu, here it is – Summer Berry Focaccia. Oh, and one very important bread-baking tip: don’t add flour if it is a wet dough (and this one is!). Also, be sure to get the right kitchen tools such as a plastic rounded dough scraper for scraping your bowls. That one’s a lifesaver!
Let the proofing begin! (For the more novice bakers, proofing means to allow the dough to rise before it is baked). If you have an electric mixer, then this dough is easy to make. Remember to keep the first and second proof in a buttered bowl until it doubles (put it somewhere warm). After the first rise, you want to fold the dough inward left, right, up and down to deflate and reinvigorate the yeast cells for the next proofing. Put the folded dough back into a buttered bowl until it doubles. Then, once again, deflate and fold.
Finally, once it doubles in size, it is ready to be tipped into a buttered baking pan (use 2 tablespoons of melted butter). If the dough doesn’t stretch out easily, let it rest and try again in 30 minutes. Stretch the dough until it reaches the edge of the pan and let it proof once more in the pan until it rises again. I like to give the dough dimples which can be done by gently pushing down on the dough with your fingertips. Pour another tablespoon of melted butter on top and sprinkle with raspberries, blackberries or some of your other favorite summer fruits.
Make a quick, sugar and cinnamon topping and sprinkle it all over the top of the focaccia bread. Bake until it is golden brown. This one is tough to resist, but let it cool slightly before you break it open. I know, torture right? I recommend taking a brisk jog around the block so you can justify more slices…yep, I am asking for the impossible.
And…voila! Now that the summer berry focaccia bread has cooled, it is time to devour it. This is the perfect summer delight. I love to serve this sweet summer berry focaccia as breakfast squares, give it away as a delicious, homemade gift, or simply enjoy as a dessert by plopping a scoop of ice cream on top!
Recipe Credit: The New Sugar & Spice
Photos by: Maria Hedrick Photography