Back to Basics. Focaccia.

I am helped by Chloe again this week.   She is off to hospital tomorrow (for baby number three) and she has been  making dough and freezing it.   All prayers are very welcome.  She is cool as a cucumber but her mother (me) ... I think in light of everything that has happened this year my nervous system is a bit shot.  So I am trying to not be anxious ....  Anyway when I am anxious I tend to cook and clean.  The freezer will be stocked and everything will be spotless at this rate.  😊

Hello Lovely Ladies
By now you may be getting sick of me and my sourdough but for all the beautiful cookbooks I have on my kitchen shelf, and all the things I’ve made over the years, these most simple basics have turned out to be the most flavourful, filling, reliable and affordable items in my repertoire. Isn’t it funny how the simplest things turn out to be the most satisfying! 
When it comes to sourdough there are countless instructions out there requiring numerous “stretch and folds” at just the right (horribly inconvenient) times throughout the day and 48hour fermentations and such…. This irritates me greatly, and must put off a huge number of people from ever trying. Any recipe that starts off that way I skip right over and instead look for something involving a stand mixer and an 8hr rise time. 

I’ve mentioned Lisa at farmhouseonboone several times before. She’s a busy mum of 8 kids and has a far more realistic approach. 
Once a week I whip up a batch or two of her sourdough pizza dough (Sourdough Pizza Dough - Farmhouse on Boone). I find one batch makes 3 pizzas on my slightly smaller square trays (I imagine 2 big family size rounds?). I’ve found that while the boys are still little at least, that we really only need two pizzas for a meal so I cover the third portion of dough and chuck it in the fridge. Alternatively I’ve made an extra batch and divided it into three, ready for a weeks worth of focaccia’s. The next day (or any day later that week even) I’ll pull it out of the fridge around lunch time, put two tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil in a dish, slap the dough in and just leave it on the counter to rise. 

I usually have something else going for dinner in the oven so if so 40mins before I want to serve it I sprinkle on a generous amount of fresh rosemary (this is a must it’s simply amazing) and dump another 2 tablespoons of oil (this sound like a lot but trust me) on the top and then poke my fingers right down through the dough till they hit the tray. This creates lots of little pockets for the oil to sit in aswell as any garnishes you want to add. If your oven isn’t already on then preheat it to 190’ and let it cook for 35mins or browned to your liking.

For garnish I’ve tried cherry tomatoes, red onion, roasted garlic and of course salt (a good freshly ground pink Himalayan salt) and pepper and they are all lovely. 
If you haven’t tried rosemary before then you need to. Even my one year old will eat it. It gets covered in the oil and you can eat the leaves themselves plus the flavour (and I dare say the wonderful medicinal benefits) permeate into the bread. It is heaven! 

I simple pop it onto a board and serve it straight on the table with some butter as a side to whatever we are eating and like my dinner rolls, it seems to be worth holding back on dinner to fit another piece in. There’s usually a fight for the last piece. 
Of course for an easy dinner or a lovely lunch the next day you can slice it in half, fill it up with your favourite sandwich fillings and warm it all in a sandwich press. 
A simple meat and veg dinner can be elevated to something special with a side like this plus it’s much more economical to fill up hungry bellies with bread than with meat so give it a try. 

Thank you Chloe,  this is such an asset when feeding a family and is so delicious.

I am adding that pressed thinner with more toppings and you have pizza.  Any kind of dough pressed out is just fine for pizza....  and so is any base such as Lebanese bread,  purchased focaccia bread,  even baguettes are good and then I call them pizza subs.   Pizzas and focaccias are great for using up any left over cheese, veggies,  herbs,  anti pasto type ingredients.   Pesto makes a wonderful substitute for a tomato topping too.  It is possible to have a non tomato pizza.   When you see the price of pizzas and focaccia's in the cafes/restaurants you realise how much money you are saving!  As Chloe has pre prepared dough for the freezer you can have a very fast dinner on the table.    You can also stretch a meal a long way adding some freshly baked bread to the table.   I went to the shops today and I felt shocked by how much things have gone up in price.   Two years ago I still found a 10 kilo box of very ripe sauce tomatoes for $5 and bought two.   Today the same thing was $34.   It seemed liked every single thing had gone up.   It really worries me for families.   That is why we are going to continue on this back to basics


  1. Dear Chloe, I think I’m jealous of everyone that gets to eat your delicious food! I would be terrible at sharing the last piece! It looks delicious and your family is very lucky to have you. I will have to try making some bread. Prayers for you, baby and the family X Love Bridget

  2. Annabel, Prayers for Chloe and the baby. Also prayers for you to relax through this new delivery. Your new Grandchild will be here shortly and you will have a new life to hold and love.

    The focaccia looks delicious. The dough is so versatile, we have even fried it and put powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar on it as a dessert.

    You are so right with the price of everything skyrocketing. One reason we need to keep our eyes open and stock when we can at better prices, if we can find them.

    Prayers for all the bluebirds.

  3. Thank you Chloe and Annabel for this reminder. I used to make foccacia and have somehow got out of the habit. I'm definitely going to restart this. Good luck and all good wishes to you for the new baby.
    Penny in the UK

  4. Thank you Chloe’s and Annabel, it looks beautiful. I’m certainly not sick of your posts Chloe!! I’ve only ever made it with rosemary (agree that it’s delicious!) but I’m going to try your other topping suggestions.

    Twice last year we went to functions where you ‘bring a plate’ and I made focaccia, sliced it up and served it with dips. It’s now my go to because it was so well received. People seem to think you’re some kind of magician if you can make your own bread lol.

    All the very best for tomorrow Chloe, I’ll be thinking of you all. Annabel I’m so thrilled you will have a new grandchild to enjoy!

    Jen (NZ)

  5. If you love pancakes, you MUST try Lisa's (Farmhouse on Boone) overnight sourdough pancake recipe. We are simply addicted to it.

  6. Dear Annabel and Chloe,

    Chloe, this post and your focaccia are beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us. I make bread just about every week and am excited for my rosemary plants to grow large enough to make some of my dough into focaccia. Praying for you and your baby on the way.

    Annabel, I'm noticing the same thing especially now - prices are so expensive in the stores, in increments of dollars in some cases. My dad also saw a lot of expired produce at the grocery store this week, and that is something I have never experienced! (We do not live in a food desert and our town has a lot of resources, so this was just shocking.) I'm attempting to step up my garden production and invest in some more items that should help us grow a lot more of our produce. Praying for you every day.


  7. Dear Chole and Annabel, thankyou for this delicious post. I think you are amazing and I agree with Bridget - I'd love to be sitting at your dinner table. The photos made me hungry. All the best for this week, love and prayers coming your way, Clare

  8. Focaccia has become a Sunday lunch staple in our house the last few months. When I do the pizza bases on a Thursday, I will do enough dough for the focaccia, and leave it in the fridge. Our is simple - olive oil, garlic, salt and fresh rosemary. I eat it as is with soup, the boys will add fillings and toast it. Any leftovers are served with dinner, but that's not often. I love poking my fingers in the dough - it's like playdough for grown-ups. Prayers for you all at this exciting time. xxx Cath

  9. Thank you, Chloe! I really appreciate your series on sourdough. So glad to know you are caring for your family in such a careful way. Prayers for a good birth. May the God of all peace give you comfort and strength.
    Prayers for you Annabel.
    Leslie in Ohio

  10. Praying from Romania. Thank you for the recipe and for this Back to basics series. Laura_s_world from Romania

  11. Phillipians 4:7 . I will pray God will calm your heart Annabel ! The waves and wind still know his name (this is from a song I heard on the Christian radio station here in Sydney hope 103.2 ! I thought how true that is. God is with us through the hurt, through the joy, through the pain and all the tears ! He holds your heart today and showers love down upon you. May you rest in his goodness ! And soon to be a beautiful new baby ! Sending love, Sonia in Sydney

  12. My daughter makes delicious focaccia bread - the Littles call it Polka Dot bread due to the finger dents! She uses garlic confit for added flavor along with fresh rosemary. We can get Pia Nona’s Balsamic Glaze at Costco and we enjoy the bread with a drizzle. Yum!!


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