Pear, Grape and Blue Cheese Focaccia Bread

Focaccia Crumb

Focaccia bread is a think Italian bread with a chewy airy interior. The top is layered with oven-roasted pears, red grapes, and blue cheese. This is perfect as an appetizer, as a side, or topped with arugula as a light meal. Either, way it tastes great!

What is Focaccia Bread?

Focaccia is an Italian flatbread that varies from region to region, but common trademarks include a thin crisp top, tender crumb inside that is filled with large holes (this is a really good thing in bread making) and baked in a rectangular shape.

In Northern Italy pizza is known as focaccia. In America, we know it as an appetizer or a bread to go with a meal. We commonly put all kinds of herbs (oregano, rosemary, etc.), salt, and olive oil on top. Occasionally you might find this bread with a side of marinara to dip it in. Focaccia is also used as sandwich bread in some stores. I personally think all ways are great. This is a super versatile bread!

Focaccia
Focaccia

Focaccia Bread Ingredients

The ingredients to make the dough are simple and pretty standard for bread making.

Dough

  • Bread flour – Has a higher amount of protein and gluten than all-purpose flour. The result is an airy and chewy bread that is the trademark of focaccia bread.
  • Yeast – For this recipe use dry active yeast.
  • Olive oil – Extra virgin. Is there any other kind?
  • Salt – I used sea salt from my table grinder. Use what you have on hand.
  • Water – Focaccia has very high water content. I use regular tap water. However, you will want to ensure the water is cold. This is very different from most bread recipes — and you read it correctly, use cold water per Paul Hollywood.

Toppings Used in this Recipe

Below are the toppings I used to make this bread. The toppings are very flexible and you can interchange with different ingredients.

  • Grapes – I recommend using red grapes. Once in the oven, they become roasted. The flavor intensifies and when you bite into the grape it will be between a grape and jam. Afterward, you will want to oven roast grapes all the time!
  • Pear – I selected an Asian pear because they are my favorite and they were in stock. I recommend using your favorite variety. Once the pear has been roasted in the oven, much like the grapes, their flavor will intensify and the pear will soften. It is amazing!
  • Blue cheese – There are many varieties of blue cheese. I used a smokey blue cheese, but that was because it was on sale. (The only better than blue cheese is affordable blue cheese!) For this, you can use any variety of blue cheese including gorgonzola or Stilton. I would pick the variety you prefer.
  • Onion (optional)- I used red onion in the first batch of focaccia I made. When the onion is caramelized, the color is deep and I like that. However, all onions caramelize and I recommend using the variety you prefer or happen in your pantry.
  • Honey – Provides a pop of sweetness to this bread and takes it to the next level.
  • Arugula (optional) – The bitterness of the arugula balances out the sweetness of the bread. I put arugula on top of the bread and made it a light meal.
Pear, Grape, Blue Cheese Focaccia Ingredients
Pear, Grape, Blue Cheese Focaccia Ingredients

Detailed Description on How to Make Focaccia Bread

For this bread recipe, I followed Paul Hollywood’s dough recipe from the BBC site. This recipe is a great introduction to focaccia bread. However, once the dough was made, I modified the bread to make what I envisioned a great bread with wine would be.

I wrote the recipe with details here.

Ingredients:

  • BREAD
  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 grams dry active yeast
  • 14 ounces cold water
  • Olive oil and salt for drizzling
  • TOPPINGS
  • 1 pear thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red grapes
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese
  • 1 red onion caramelized (optional)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary (optional)

How to make the dough…

  • Place the flour, salt, dry active yeast, and olive oil in a large bowl. Note: Always place the salt and yeast on opposite sides before mixing. If placed next to each other the salt will kill the yeast.
  • Add about half of the water and gently stir with a spoon. Gradually add in the rest of the water and begin mixing with your hands. In this stage, the dough is very wet and messy. Because of this, it is easier to work the dough in your bowl.
  • Once the dough comes together and is less messy, remove it from the bowl and place it on a lightly oiled surface. Knead the dough for 7 – 10 minutes. It will be challenging at the start due to the water content. Note, that focaccia is a very wet bread (75% water to flour ratio). This wetness makes it messy to deal with in the early kneading stages.
  • Return the dough to the bowl, cover, and leave to rise until doubled in size. The rise will take 1 – 2 hours. However, do not exceed two hours of rising.
  • I recommend using a 9 x13 rimmed baking sheet or glass dish. It is important to note whichever dish you use will impact the baking time. When I used a sheet the baking time was 20 minutes. When I used a glass dish, the baking time was over 30 minutes. Whichever dish you use, grease with olive oil.
  • Tip the dough out of the bowl and flatten the dough onto the prepared tray or dish by pushing the dough into the corners. Cover the dough with cling wrap or a shower cap. Let the dough proof for one hour.
  • Once proofed, run your fingers over the dough creating dimples. Then drizzle the focaccia with olive oil and salt. The olive oil will fill in some of the bubbles that were created with your fingers. This is a good thing.
  • Spread with your desired toppings. I made this bread a couple of times and each time I always use pear, grapes, and blue cheese. One time I used caramelized onions and another time I used rosemary. Honestly, they both tasted great and I think if you have a penchant for either one of those ingredients it’s a great idea to add them.
  • Once you have added the toppings, bake at 425 in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes. You will know when it is done by the golden brown color.
Pear, Grape, Blue Cheese Focaccia With Arugula
Pear, Grape, Blue Cheese Focaccia With Arugula Baked on a Large Baking Sheet

Visual Steps

What you'll need
Salt
(2 teaspoons)
Active Dry Yeast
(7 grams)
Olive Oil
(2 tablespoons)
Cold Water
(14 ounces)
Sea Salt
(1/2 teaspoon)
Red grapes
(1/2 cup)
Pear
(1)
Blue Cheese
(1/2 cup)
Rosemary
(2 springs)
500g Bread Flour
Steps
1
Make the dough by combining flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and water.
2
Knead the dough for 7 – 10 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover and proof until doubled in size (1-2 hours).
3
Oil a baking sheet or dish, spread the dough . Proof for one hour.
4
After the second proof, spread desired toppings and bake at 425 for 25 – 35 minutes.
5
Cool, drizzle with honey, balsamic vinegar reduction or olive oil.
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More Bread Recipes From my Site

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 2, Episode 3, Technical – Focaccia

I am here at season 2! I am so excited to be continuing on this journey!

About this bake. Honestly, it was pretty straightforward. The bread was pretty easy to make (I have made quite a few different styles by now) and I loved the toppings. Once I designed the recipe I could not wait to make it. Then I ate it for days. It was that good!

One thing to note, last season I made the bakes in sequential order. At the time it made sense because I was just trying this out. However this season I am going to bake things in any order. I think this will help to align what I am baking with holidays and family get-together. The one exception will be the final episode. I would like (although I cannot promise) to complete those bakes at the end.) Hopefully, someone is reading this and following along in my journey. I am trying to make it as fun as possible, introduce new flavors, and deviate where it makes sense.

GBBO Count: 17 down, 263 to go!

Pear, Grape, Blue Cheese Focaccia Baked

Pear, Grape and Blue Cheese Focaccia Bread

This bread can be eaten as an appetizer, as a side, or topped with arugula as a light meal. Either, way it tastes great!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Proofing Time 2 hrs
Course Appetizer, Bread
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6

Equipment

  • 9×13 baking dish or rimmed sheet

Ingredients
  

  • 500 grams bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 grams yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 14 ounces cold water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pear
  • .5 cup red grapes
  • .5 cup blue cheese

Instructions
 

  • Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil, and 1/2 of the water into a large bowl. Stir to combine the ingredients. (I like to start with a spoon and finish with my hands)
  • Continue to work the dough in the bowl. As it starts to come together, add the remaining water a little bit at a time to help pick up any flour remaining in the bowl.
  • Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for seven-ten minutes. You will know your done when the dough is smooth and no longer stick to your hands.
  • Lightly oil a bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and cover until the dough has doubled in size. This step takes one-two hours, but should not exceed two hours.
  • While the dough is proofing, lightly oil a baking sheet or dish.
  • Place the dough in the baking sheet or dish. Using your fingers, work the dough into all four corners of the sheet. Dimple the dough with your fingers. Cover with plastic and proof for one hour.
  • While the dough is proofing, preparing your toppings.
  • Preheat the oven to 425. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt on top. Top with grapes, thinly sliced pear, and blue cheese. Bake for 20 – 30minutes. You will know when the bread is done baking by the rich golden color.

Video

Grape, Pear and Blue Cheese Focaccia Bread by lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.

Notes

Recipe Notes:
Baking Dish:
This recipe will fit best into a 9×13 baking dish. I recommend using a rimmed baking sheet or dish. However, the baking time can vary depending on the baking equipment. You will know when the bread is complete by the golden color. 
Storing:
* Focaccia will keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Cover the bread with plastic wrap, for 2 days. If you would like it warm, reheat in the oven at 375 for ten minutes. 
* To freeze, wrap in cling wrap and place in a zip lock freezer bag. The focaccia will store in a freezer for up to one month. 
Additional toppings:
* I like to have this bread with arugula on top and eat it as a meal. Other popular toppings include herbs (rosemary), goat cheese, and thinly sliced meats. Have fun experimenting with different toppings.
Keyword Bread, focaccia
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