A Spicy Perspective

Tomato Basil Focaccia Bread

Tomato Basil Focaccia Bread – This easy recipe features flavorful cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy goat cheese baked right into tender and chewy focaccia bread.

Slices of tomato basil focaccia bread on a white platter.

Why We Love This Easy Bread Recipe

We love the rustic texture and flavor of focaccia bread, and its free-form shape! It’s especially delightful with ripe summer tomatoes, basil leaves, and little dollops of goat cheese tucked into the dimples.

Although the process does take a good bit of time (about 3.5 hours total) the steps are wonderfully easy. And once the dough is ready, Tomato Basil Focaccia Bread with cheese bakes in the oven for only 30 minutes. Then you have a beautiful, warm, chewy, and tender loaf to enjoy – either with family, friends or all by yourself… No judgment here!

Why is focaccia bread so good?

It’s a great recipe for an easy, fairly non-temperamental dough that can be topped or stuffed with all kinds of goodies.

The texture and flavor of focaccia is unmatched! It’s a thick, hearty bread with large air pockets throughout and a crispy exterior. What’s not to love?

Top down view focaccia with tomatoes, basil, and cheese.

Ingredients You Need

  • Hot water
  • Dry active yeast
  • Granulated sugar – or honey
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • All-purpose flour
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Chevre goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper
Tomato bread sliced from a large loaf of focaccia.

How to Make Focaccia with Tomatoes and Basil

Set out an electric stand mixer with a bread hook attachment. To the bowl, add the hot water and sugar. Swirl the bowl around to dissolve the sugar and lower the temperature of the water until it is just lukewarm. Now add one package of dry active yeast and swirl around. Allow the yeast to foam for at least 10 minutes.

Stir in the cold water, olive oil, and sea salt. Turn the mixer on low and add in the flour. Allow the bread hook to “knead” the bread for at least 10 minutes.

The dough should be very loose and sticky. Drizzle extra olive oil over the top of the bowl, cover tightly with plastic, and allow the dough to rise until double in size, 1 to 2 hours in a warm kitchen

Dough proofing in a large bowl.

Meanwhile set out a large baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Once the dough has doubled in size, flour a clean work surface. Dump the dough out on the surface and knead/fold it into a rectangle. Use a rolling pin (or stretch the dough by hand) into a large 14 x 10” oval or rectangle

Move the dough to the prepared pan. Use your fingers to press deep dimples on the surface of the dough.

Hand dimpling the dough.

Then poke basil leaves into the dough…

Adding fresh basil leaves to the dough.

…Followed by the goat cheese clumps.

Get the Complete (Printable) Tomato Basil Focaccia Bread Recipe Below. Enjoy!

Goat cheese added to the basil on dough.

Lastly, push cherry tomatoes down into the dimples.

Hand adding cherry tomatoes to the bread dough.

Gently brush the top of the dough with extra olive oil then cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise again for 1 hour. *Either leave the surface of the focaccia alone and the tomatoes will bake near the top of the loaf, or right before baking, press the tomatoes back down into the dough to create little caverns for each tomato. This is completely a personal preference. It will bake well either way!

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Once the dough has risen a second time, uncover and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the crust on top is golden and firm.

Close view baked focaccia.

Recipe Tips and Variations

  • Be sure that the water you mix with the active yeast is not too hot or cold. The water should be between 105 and 115 degrees F to activate the yeast properly.
  • Don’t get impatient! Allow the full 10+ minutes of kneading the dough to get the right tomato bread rise.
  • The flavor and texture of focaccia is based on the heavy use of olive oil. Don’t be stingy with the oil. It makes a huge difference.
  • Swap goat cheese with small cubes of mozzarella cheese for a lighter flavor.
  • Substitute the basil leaves with fresh rosemary.
Top down view large tomato basil focaccia cut into sticks.

What Goes Well with Focaccia

Enjoy freshly baked tomato focaccia bread as an appetizer, snack, or side dish with pasta dishes.

I love to serve slices alongside ramekins of warm marinara sauce or with creamy garlic butter!

4 slices of bread on a white dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between focaccia bread and pizza dough?

Focaccia and pizza doughs are similar thick breads with a chewy texture. However, focaccia is made with more yeast for a fluffier rise and less dense texture.

How do you make vegan focaccia bread?

Use your favorite plant-based goat cheese alternative. Or skip the cheese entirely!

Why is my focaccia bread dense and not fluffy?

Be sure to check that you are using fresh yeast that bubbled properly for the full 10 minutes.

What is the best way to store homemade tomato basil focaccia bread?

Because of the moisture from the tomatoes, homemade tomato bread keeps well for only about 2 to 3 days. Let the loaf cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container (like a plastic zipper bag). Store at room temperature.

It also freezes well! Wrap the cooled loaf in plastic and then in a layer of aluminum foil. Store in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the countertop for 2 to 3 hours.

Top down view 4 pieces of tomato basil focaccia bread on a white platter.

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Tomato Basil Focaccia Bread

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Proof Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 55 minutes
This easy recipe features flavorful cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy goat cheese baked right into tender and chewy focaccia bread.
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Set out an electric stand mixer with a bread hook attachment. To the bowl, add the hot water and sugar. Swirl the bowl around to dissolve the sugar and lower the temperature of the water until it is just lukewarm. Now add one package of dry active yeast and swirl around. Allow the yeast to foam for at least 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the cold water, olive oil, and sea salt. Turn the mixer on low and add in the flour. Allow the bread hook to “knead” the bread for at least 10 minutes.
  • The dough should be very loose and sticky. Drizzle extra olive oil over the top of the bowl, cover tightly with plastic, and allow the dough to rise until double in size, 1 to 2 hours in a warm kitchen.
  • Meanwhile set out a large baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Once the dough has doubled in size, flour a clean work surface. Dump the dough out on the surface and knead/fold into a rectangle. Use a rolling pin (or stretch the dough by hand) into a large 14 x 10” oval or rectangle.
  • Move the dough to the prepared pan. Use your fingers to press deep dimples in the surface of the dough. Then poke basil leaves, goat cheese clumps, and cherry tomatoes down into the dimples.
  • Gently brush the top of the dough with extra olive oil then cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise again for 1 hour. *Either leave the surface of the focaccia alone and the tomatoes will bake near the top of the loaf, or right before baking, press the tomatoes back down into the dough to create little caverns for each tomato. This is completely a personal preference. It will bake well either way!
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Once the dough has risen a second time, uncover and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the crust on top is golden and firm.

Video

Notes

The flavor and texture of focaccia is based on the heavy use of olive oil. Don’t be stingy with the oil. It makes a huge difference.
Because of the moisture from the tomatoes, homemade tomato bread keeps well for only about 2 to 3 days. Let the loaf cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container (like a plastic zipper bag). Store at room temperature.
It also freezes well! Wrap the cooled loaf in plastic and then in a layer of aluminum foil. Store in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the countertop for 2 to 3 hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pc, Calories: 214kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 2mg, Sodium: 412mg, Potassium: 135mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 339IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 22mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Appetizer, Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Sommer Collier

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4 comments on “Tomato Basil Focaccia Bread”

  1. This recipe is wonderful! This is now one of our family’s favorites, this recipe turned out excellent! I will make this again.

  2. The tomatoes & basil add a wonderful flavor & texture to this bread! I’m going to want to add them every time now!

  3. Delicious! Focaccia is always a favorite of mine. I love it for sandwiches, but this recipe is so flavorful that it can just be eaten all on its own. Thank you!

  4. such a great bread recipe with even more amazing flavors!