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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)

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38 Comments
  • Elyse
    March 4, 2009

    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!

  • Niki Theo
    March 5, 2009

    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.

  • Kara
    March 5, 2009

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

  • Kerstin
    March 5, 2009

    I love your twist on traditional focaccia!

    Great blog – I love all your product reviews.

  • marguerite
    March 5, 2009

    Yum!! I really want to try this!

  • colleen
    March 6, 2009

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

  • Angela
    March 8, 2009

    That’ delicious!
    I like it so much

  • Steve
    March 31, 2009

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

  • Kylielose
    June 29, 2009

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

  • Kylie
    June 29, 2009

    This is my favorite kind of bread this really looks great

  • Wikaniko
    July 4, 2009

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

  • Looks delicious! Shame I can’t eat it!

  • Male Enhancement
    July 18, 2009

    Yes, this is such a great recipe. I love it 🙂

  • Moderni nabytek
    July 18, 2009

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

  • Rodinne domy
    July 18, 2009

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

  • Conversion Vans
    July 30, 2009

    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!

  • diare
    August 6, 2009

    Yummy 🙂 really really good.

  • lisa's diet
    August 18, 2009

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

  • Bike
    August 22, 2009

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

  • diy home security
    October 22, 2009

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

  • john
    October 31, 2009

    Delicious recipe.Thank you so much.

  • Frank
    November 17, 2009

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

  • Martha Jones
    November 25, 2009

    Yummy recipe that is also easy-to-follow!

  • zhu zhu
    November 26, 2009

    Thanks for the recipe! Looks awesome.

  • Marie M
    December 23, 2009

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

  • Mary Jones
    January 18, 2010

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

  • spinach quiche
    January 19, 2010

    Thanks for the recipe!

  • Credit Report Repair
    February 22, 2010

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

  • Seminee
    March 7, 2010

    It looks great ! Must taste great, too.

  • weight loss pills
    April 15, 2010

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

  • yumm… the cheese peppery taste will try this out

  • Ultrasonex Toothbrush
    April 23, 2010

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

  • Rickey
    May 11, 2010

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

  • Edie
    May 17, 2010

    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.

  • Jamie Ann Roberts
    May 19, 2010

    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.

  • Swapna K
    March 30, 2012

    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 🙂

  • Cariissa
    September 14, 2013

    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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