Co-op Blog

Garden Focaccia: Bread Making With An Artsy Twist

If you’ve recently taken up the hobby of breadmaking, you’re not alone. With so many people staying home, there seems to be a new wave of people interested in self-sufficiency hobbies like gardening, knitting, and you guessed it, breadmaking. Not only are these wonderful, engaging hobbies that can provide you with some fun to pass the time, but they are useful skills that will hopefully last you a lifetime. And if you’re looking for a way to express your creativity while making bread, we have a kitchen trend that’s perfect for you.

How To Make a Focaccia Garden

If you take a quick glance at posts tagged #focacciagarden on Instagram, you’ll find a variety of bread loaves that feature landscape and floral art made out of veggies, fruit, and herbs. These breads are truly works of art, and the arrangements and design options are only limited to your imagination.

There aren’t really a whole lot of instructions for “how to make focaccia art” since it’s totally up for interpretation and you can make it as simple or intricate as you want. Essentially, the first thing you’ll need is focaccia bread dough that’s ready to be baked. After the dough is made, the creativity starts. Read on to discover how to make your own focaccia garden in your home kitchen.

Step 1: Make This Shockingly Easy No-Knead Focaccia Dough

focaccia bread recipe

Whether you’re new to baking or are a seasoned pro, this is a wonderful no-knead focaccia that Bon Appetit editors have dubbed as “a focaccia recipe so easy it should be against the law”.

But lucky for us, it isn’t, and it works as an awesome base for a veggieful work of art.

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.)
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 5 cups (625 g) all-purpose flour
  • 5 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 Tbsp. Morton kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for hands
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • Flaky sea salt
  • 2–4 garlic cloves

Directions

  1. Whisk one ¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.), 2 tsp. honey, and 2½ cups lukewarm water in a medium bowl and let sit 5 minutes (it should foam or at least get creamy; if it doesn’t your yeast is dead and you should start again—check the expiration date!).
  2. Add 5 cups (625 g) all-purpose flour and 5 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 Tbsp. Morton kosher salt and mix with a rubber spatula until a shaggy dough forms and no dry streaks remain.
  3. Pour 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil into a big bowl that will fit in your refrigerator. This puppy is going to rise! Transfer dough to bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover with a silicone lid or plastic wrap and chill until dough is doubled in size (it should look very bubbly and alive), at least 8 hours and up to 1 day. If you’re in a rush, you can also let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 3–4 hours.
  4. Once the dough rises, and before you bake the bread is when you will decorate your focaccia. Don’t forget!
  5. Generously butter a 13×9″ baking pan, for thicker focaccia that’s perfect for sandwiches, or an 18×13″ rimmed baking sheet, for focaccia that’s thinner, crispier, and great for snacking. The butter may seem superfluous, but it’ll ensure that your focaccia doesn’t stick. Pour 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil into the center of the pan. Keeping the dough in the bowl and using a fork in each hand, gather up edges of dough farthest from you and lift up and over into the center of the bowl.
  6. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the process. Do this 2 more times; you want to deflate dough while you form it into a rough ball. (We learned this technique from Alexandra Stafford, who uses it to shape her no-knead bread.) Transfer dough to prepared pan.
  7. Pour any oil left in the bowl over and turn dough to coat it in oil. Let rise, uncovered, in a dry, warm spot (like near a radiator or on top of the fridge or a preheating oven) until doubled in size, at least 1½ hours and up to 4 hours.

Recipe and photo adapted from Bon Appetit

Step 2: Gather Your Veggie, Fruit, and Herb Decorations

chopped vegetables on cutting board

Next, you’ll want to gather up any of the veggies, fruits, and herbs that you’ll be using to create your art.

You can really use anything you want, but we’ve found that the following ingredients hold their shape well and maintain their color after baking:

  • Bell peppers
  • Red onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Rosemary and thyme
  • Olives
  • Radishes
  • Mushrooms

Step 3: Prepare Your Toppings

Depending on the landscape or flower arrangement that you plan on creating, you’ll want to prepare your veggies by chopping, dicing, or slicing them up. Additionally, pull your herbs and other toppings out of the fridge and pantry.

Step 4: Put Together Your Art Work

Here comes the fun part: getting creative and arranging your toppings into a work of art! Again, we don’t have much in the way of instructions here, since it’s all up to you! Just keep in mind that you don’t want the ingredients piled too thick on top of the bread since you still want it to bake properly.

Step 5: Bake Your Bread and Enjoy!

baked focaccia bread

Once you have all of your ingredients arranged to your liking, bake your bread according to steps 5-7 in the recipe instructions above.

Serve your focaccia garden with a simple pairing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or serve it alongside spaghetti bolognese or chicken parmesan.

Focaccia Garden Inspiration

Maybe you have gotten all the way through this post and you’re feeling like you’re not creative enough for this project. First off, that simply isn’t true! There are no rules in the focaccia garden world, and whatever you put together is awesome!

But, if you’re looking for a little inspiration for your focaccia work of art, here are some of our favorite #focacciagarden posts from Instagram:

The Motivational Garden Focaccia

What’s better than a beautiful loaf of bread that offers a little bit of motivation, too? While this bread features the quote “Still I Rise”, you could really fill in the blank with whatever motivational words or mantras are powerful to you!

The Location-Based Garden Focaccia

If there are places you’ve been missing, like the local tulip fields or some far off beach, here’s a way to visit them via bread. We know it’s not the same, but it’s a great way to look forward to those places that we can visit sometime soon.

Edible Flower Abstract Garden Focaccia

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Hopping on that #gardenfocaccia Insta trend like a boss. How fun is this?!⁠ I was challenged by @la_cuisine_cest_simple and I LOVED it! So much fun and delicious! I used @gbchefs focaccia recipe and for the decorations I got inspired by @jennifer_in_saratoga 🤩 By the way, this focaccia isn’t just pretty to look at! The crumb is so light and airy. Each bite laced with olive oil and sea salt. YUM! 🌿🧄🌶🍞 Swipe to see the baked version! You know where to find the recipe.👆🏼👆🏼 Link in bio! @hap_en_tap #hapentap ☝️☝️💛 . https://www.hap-en-tap.be/garden-focaccia/ . Tomatoes: @stoffels_tomaten Edible flowers: @fruit4yougent Inspiration: @nytcooking . #focaccia #bakersofinstagram #f52grams #bonappetit #yummy #homemade #lickyourphone #quarantinequitchen #food #baking #f52community #foodphotography #foodstagram #foodie #healthylifestyle #amazing #yum #eeeeeats #forkyeah #eatingfortheinsta #delish #foodporn #foodstagram #foodblogger #foodforfoodies #gardenscapefocaccia

A post shared by Myriam Minne (@hap_en_tap) on

Maybe you like your art a little more abstract. Again, focaccia art is whatever you make it, and this arrangement celebrates all that in-season produce that spring provides us. This photo also gives you a good idea of what a variety of veggies will look like after they’ve been baked.

The Focaccia Garden Bouquet

Next time you want to surprise your loved ones with a fresh bouquet of flowers, surprise them with this bread instead!

Poppy Flower Focaccia Garden

Take this poppy flower bread artwork to the next level with the addition of some actual poppyseeds!

Rainbow Focaccia Garden

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From yesterday.

A post shared by Blondie + Rye (Hannah P.) (@blondieandrye) on

Rainbow bread? Yup! This beautiful work of bread art incorporates essentially every colorful veggie you can imagine, and sprinkles of different colored spices ensure that there isn’t a single blank space on this canvas.

Sunflower Garden Focaccia

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“Vincent Vandough “ Food art that tastes as lovely as it looks. Channeling the inner Van Gogh. Sunflowers and poppy’s create a delight to both the eyes and taste buds. Makes a great center piece for a dinner party . A moist interior crisp outer crust. Toppings include kalamata olives ,fresh herbs, sweet peppers,capers, grape tomatoes , etc. Set upon a beautiful canvas of chewy crusty focaccia bread . Be sure to visit the website vineyardbaker.com for recipe and instructions . (Video “how to” coming spring 2020. 😉) . . #breadbaker #artisanbread #theperfectloaf #bakeeveryday #sourdough #focaccia #photooftheday #breadart #bread #Naturallyleavened #flourwatersalt #realfood #freshlyground #happy #instagood #foodart #preferment #beautiful #bakerslife #marthasvineyard #love #multigrain #foodsofinstagram #bakersofinstagram #focacciabread #pane #pão #artistsoninstagram #bakewithus #focacciaart

A post shared by VineyardBaker Teri Culletto (@vineyardbaker) on

If sunflowers are one of your favorites, make some out of yellow bell pepper and finely chopped olives for this bread art piece.

Focaccia Portrait

Here’s a focaccia bread that’s a baked take on an actual piece of art. Long, thinly sliced pieces of peppers and zucchini combine to create a portrait that’s almost too pretty to eat.

Flowers and Butterflies Focaccia Garden

Butterflies and blooming flowers: what’s more spring than that?

By: Leigha

LeighaLeigha is the Marketing Assistant at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op.