Peppers and Cheese Focaccia

Pepper and Cheese Focaccia

Focaccia, like pizza, is a bread that has almost and unlimited number of topping possibilities. In it’s most basic form, the flatbread can be topped with just olive oil, salt and herbs. If you want to move away from the very traditional type, it’s easy to dress it up with any kind of vegetable or cheese, and you can even use fruit if you want to try a sweet (non-traditional) variation. I tend to think that meat and non-olive oil sauces move the bread a little too close to pizza, so I stay away from those.

This version of focaccia has a topping made with several different kinds of peppers – including red and yellow bell peppers, diced green chilies and a few jalapenos – that give it a bold flavor. There is also cheddar cheese inside the dough. The cheese doesn’t affect the open, slightly chewy crumb of the bread, but it does give it a good flavor and is an excellent match for the fresh peppers.

I made this dough with an overnight rise, leaving it in the refrigerator overnight and baking it the next day. The slow rise in the fridge helps the bread to develop a nice, airy crumb and it also means that you don’t have to do too much work in one day to turn out the finished product. That said, you can certainly let it rise on the countertop until doubled in size if you want to bake it the same day. The bread requires no kneading and can be made entirely in a stand mixer, although you will have to press it down into the baking pan with your fingers once it has risen.

This bread makes a great side dish and is an great way to soak up both soups (like chili!) and sauces. It is especially good when warm, with a crispy bottom. If you’re not eating it fresh, or have leftovers, reheat the focaccia by placing it directly on the oven rack for about 5 minutes at 350F. It also makes excellent sandwiches, both untoasted and toasted (panini-style). I used sweet bell peppers and spicier chilies in combination on my bread, but you can use any peppers that you like – all jalepenos if you like it very spicy, or all bell peppers if you prefer to keep things on the sweeter side.

Pepper and Cheese Focaccia, slices

Peppers and Cheese Focaccia
1/4 cup finely diced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water, warm (100-110F)
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup bell peppers, chili peppers and/or jalapenos, thinly sliced
olive oil and sea salt, for topping

In a small frying pan (nonstick or with a bit of olive oil added), saute onions and garlic until tender, about 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment(or a large bowl, if you prefer to mix by hand), combine active dry yeast, water, 2 cups of the all purpose flour. Stir well, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Blend in salt, egg and onion/garlic mixture. Add 1 additional cup of flour and beat at medium speed for 1 minute. Stir in the cheddar cheese and remaining flour, and mix until the batter forms a thick sticky dough (it will be more wet than many bread doughs). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Set the dough in the refrigerator to rise overnight (12 hours) or simply let it sit on the counter to double in size at room temperature (about 2 hours). Both options will work, so choose what fits into your schedule.
Turn dough out into a lightly greased 10×15-inch jellyroll pan. Using your fingertips, press the dough out to spread it into the corners of the pan. If your dough was refrigerated, let it warm up for 15 minutes so that it is easier to work with.
Preheat oven to 350F and let dough rise, covered with a clean dishtowel, for 30 minutes.
Brush dough lightly with olive oil, top with sliced peppers and sea salt.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until bread is lightly browned.
Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Serves 8-10 (or 4-6 if you use it for sandwiches)

38 comments

  1. So, it’s a little after 10pm, and I just got home. All I wanted to do was sit on the sofa UNTIL I saw this post. And now, I want to run into my kitchen, whip up this dough and stick it in my refrigerator just so that I, too, can have this amazingly yummy focaccia tomorrow. I mean, this looks uber-delicious!

  2. I love focaccia bread… I would always take home the asiago cheese focaccia bread from Panera when I went there, thinking it was too much to make on my own… Until I made it in my baking and pastry class. So easy to make!!!! I love love love making it and try to do it all the time now.

  3. This looks absolutely delicious. So glad to have an easy cheesy-focaccia recipe on-hand now! YUM

  4. I love your twist on traditional focaccia!

    Great blog – I love all your product reviews.

  5. Yum!! I really want to try this!

  6. I love to make focaccia with all sorts of fun things on it like this! Looks great!

  7. That’ delicious!
    I like it so much

  8. Yes this is a little different than the usual Focaccia my wife prepares.

  9. Who these really look good, I think I will have to make these from my husband

  10. This is my favorite kind of bread this really looks great

  11. Simple delicious! Try adjusting the salt to taste. Some may want more.

  12. Looks delicious! Shame I can’t eat it!

  13. Yes, this is such a great recipe. I love it :)

  14. Woohoo, one of the best things I’ve eaten in my whole life.

  15. This is quite difficult recipe actually. I’ve burned my first one, but it turned out OK next time. My husband loves them.

  16. Because it has cheese in it… do you need to keep it in the refrigerator or can you just keep it on the shelf. Pizza is my kyrptonite. I’m already hungry!

  17. Yummy :) really really good.

  18. I love focaccia with cheese and spices and red peppers! Looks yummy!

  19. I wonder why they make the picture so appealing to the view, just make my mouth water.

  20. Sounds fantastic, wish I had time to make stuff like this.

  21. Delicious recipe.Thank you so much.

  22. This recipe is so good, I made it twice in a week!

  23. Yummy recipe that is also easy-to-follow!

  24. Thanks for the recipe! Looks awesome.

  25. I just want to say that I made this recipe last night and it was delicious. I’d recommend it to everyone!

  26. Wow, what a cool recipe! I am sure my sister will love it to bits. Thanks so much for this information :)

  27. Oh my! This looks great. I am a BIG fan of great tasting pizza. The more cheese then all the better.

  28. It looks great ! Must taste great, too.

  29. Thanks for such a great post and the review, I am totally impressed! Keep stuff like this coming.

  30. yumm… the cheese peppery taste will try this out

  31. This recipe is so good, I made it three times this week already!

  32. Tried it last night and got my eat on! It was great. Thanks for the great recipe

  33. You are genius…
    I saw a very small foccacia bread at the supermarket with tri-colored peppers & onions that cost $6… I resisted the urge to buy it, then saw your post and made this incredibly wonderful bread today.
    My family thinks I’m wonderful!
    Thanks for sharing this fabulous recipe.

  34. You can definitely get a lot less for more money at the supermarket. This is going on the menu for this weekend. Never tried making focaccia bread, so should be interesting. Thanks for the recipe.

  35. I would like to try this. I am not a big fan of cheddar cheese… Is there any other kind that i can use? How about pepperjack?

    Thanks for such a tempting recipe :)

  36. Thank you for a great recipe! I made this last night/this morning and it was delicious!! I sprinkled some more cheddar on top before baking – it was a hit!

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