Cherries are in season and I came home with a big bag of them a few days ago. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them all but I knew I wanted to try something different. I had just finished making a focaccia and thought it would be interesting to see how a normally savoury bread would work with sweet ingredients. I still wanted to keep the savoury element so I added fresh rosemary and some fleur de sel for sprinkling on top.
The focaccia dough proofs in the olive oil but don’t let that throw you off. The oil gives the bread a really nice hint of rosemary flavor – it doesn’t make the bread heavy or too oily. Finally, the cherries add a bright freshness to the bread. Not something you’d normally expect to find in a focaccia.So give this recipe a try the next time you’re looking for a slightly sweeter bread to serve during your breakfast or brunch. Enjoy!
And now to decide what to do with the rest of these cherries…
Cherry and Rosemary Focaccia Bread
(Yield: 2-9″ rounds)
- 25 g bakers yeast
- 290 g warm water
- 500 g bread flour
- 25 g olive oil
- 10 g salt
- 1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and sliced in half
- fresh rosemary, to taste
- fleur de sel, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 sprig of rosemary
In a bowl, add the olive oil and rosemary sprig. Cover and allow to stand for 24 hours for the flavors to blend.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water and bakers yeast and mix with the dough hook for a minute to create a slurry.
- Sift the flour and place on top of the slurry. Then add the olive oil and salt. Mix until just combined and then increase the mixer speed and continue kneading the dough for another 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and round it up. Place the dough into the olive oil infusion, brush it with the oil and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
- Punch down the dough and allow it to rest for another 15 minutes.
- Measure out 2-400g pieces, round-up the dough and allow it to rest for another 10 minutes.
- Roll out each of the dough balls to a 9″ circle. Place each round onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Use your fingers to create dimples on the top of the dough and brush the tops with olive oil.
- Place the sliced cherries and fresh rosemary onto top of the dough. Gently press the cherries into the dough. Sprinkle with a bit of fleur de sel.
- Proof the dough at 110F for approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375F and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the focaccia is golden brown.
- Brush the focaccia with the syrup after removing it from the oven.
- Serve while warm.
(Adapted from: George Brown Baking Arts: Art of Bread)
Recipe notes: If you don’t have Lyle’s Golden Syrup, you can brush the dough with honey instead. And if you don’t like the sweet and savory combination, you could skip the fleur de sel and sprinkle the focaccia with sugar instead.