Easy Vegan Focaccia Bread with Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Thyme

Straight


Mood: It’s the final season of the popular TV series (and book), Game of Thrones, & GOT fever has taken over the world! Waking up at unearthly hour on Monday mornings to watch the latest episode, hilariously creative memes on social media & heated post episode discussions among the fan community..there’s so much more to enjoy in this season than just the episodes themselves! I myself have been having weekly GOT watch parties with my friends & it’s just so much more fun to savour these moments of the final season with your buddies and loved ones around you:) And of course, food has been a big part of my GOT watch parties, with special vegan snacks and treats for every episode! The GOT fever is truly global & I love discussing the ‘AHA’ moments of each episode with my friends spread far across the globe:) One such friend, Sapna Talati, lives in San Francisco, and she too has been having weekly watch parties with her husband! She loves cooking and thought it would be fun to make dishes that the GOT characters eat on the show; ie. food was that prominent in the medieval ages. If you’ve seen the Winterfell feasts & the suppers in the North, there’s a lot of bread, soup and wine that goes around..basically, Bread. Soup. Wine. Repeat. So my friend Sapna decided to make a traditional bread & soup supper for her last watch party & it turned out to be a hit! She was kind enough to share the recipe with me, so I could make it myself & also post it on the blog for all of you:)



About The Dish: The recipe is for Focaccia, which is a flat oven-baked Italian bread that has a crustiness on the outside and a fluffiness on the inside; that’s amazing to pair with soup, dips, spreads..or can be enjoyed by itself too! I made the Focaccia bread for the last watch party & it turned out to be DELICIOUS! Every bite was delightful & my friends were super impressed too! I added extra toppings to give it my own touch & that’s the beauty of this bread; you can customise it to suit the flavours you love:) I served the bread with some fresh homemade Guacamole & it was the perfect combination! The recipe requires just 10 simple ingredients & it’s a great dish to have in your culinary repertoire:) Simple. Crusty. Fluffy. Hearty. 100% Deliciousness:) This Easy Vegan Focaccia Bread with Cherry Tomatoes & Fresh Thyme is bound to become a house hold favourite! Happy Cooking:)


Recipe YouTube Video: Check out my YouTube video to see how to make the recipe:)


Time: 3 Hours 15 Minutes (25 Mins Prep + 2 Hours Rest + 45 Mins Baking + 5 Mins Cool Down)
Serving Size: 1 Medium Loaf (2-4 Adults)
Category: Bread; Side
Author: Animagus Eats Community


Ingredients:
Base Ingredients
• 2 cups All Purpose Flour
• 2.5 tsp Active Dry Yeast
• Pinch of Unrefined Brown Sugar (approx. 1/4 tsp)
• 1 cup Cold Water
• 1/3 cup Olive Oil (+ more for greasing/garnish)
• 1.5 tsp Sea Salt

Seasoning
• 4 Cherry Tomatoes (cut in halves)*
• Fresh Thyme (approx. 7 stems)*
• Smoked Paprika Powder (to taste)*
• Salt & Pepper (to taste)
• 1-2 tsp Olive Oil


Blur


Method:
1. Combine the yeast with the flour & add a pinch of sugar. Mix well. Add the olive oil and salt & mix until dough becomes crumbly. 

2. Warning! Things are about to get very sticky, but rest assured it’s normal:) Focaccia is a very wet dough and it will require a slightly uncomfortable sticky kneading. Add 1/3 of the water to the flour & begin to mix together. After a minute, add the remaining water and knead well. The dough will feel very wet and sticky but keep kneading for 5-10 minutes. If after fifteen minutes of kneading, the dough still hasn’t come together to form a smooth ball, add more flour and olive oil in small increments until it does.

3. Once you have a smooth ball of dough, add some olive oil to your hands & coat the ball with the oil. Next, place the ball in a well oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.  

4. Let the dough rest undisturbed at room temperature for two hours. It should double in size by the end of the two hours.


Pre Baking


5. Preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F). Place the dough (which has doubled in size) in a well oiled baking pan of your choice. Smooth out the dough gently but evenly; so that it fills out the bottom of the baking pan. Shape it into a somewhat symmetrical circle;) Make small wells throughout the top of the dough using your finger tips. Drizzle olive oil on top and some of it should pool in the wells you just made. This is also the time to add the seasonings of your choice:) I used cherry tomatoes, fresh thyme, smoked paprika powder, black pepper & sea salt.

6. Place the dough in the pre heated oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 210°C, until its fully cooked & golden brown on the outside:) Every oven is different, so the cooking time can range from 45-60 minutes; depending on the oven.

7. Remove the bread from the oven & let it cool down for 5 minutes. Add a final little sprinkle of sea salt (or seasoning of your choice) on top of the bread. Enjoy that freshly baked bread aroma wafting through your house while you wait for the bread to cool; your stomach rumbling in anticipation:) Once the bread has cooled down, slice the bread & serve with soup or the spread/dip of your choice:) While it tastes best when enjoyed hot & fresh, the bread can also be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days. And voila! Your Easy Vegan Focaccia Bread with Cherry Tomatoes & Fresh Thyme is ready to be devoured! Happy Eating:)



Notes:
*This recipe is made by hand and takes some time to knead; but a stand mixer could also be used for any steps involving kneading. Because of the long resting and baking time, be sure to start making the dough three hours before serving time. The dough can also stay in the fridge for up to one day; so you can make the dough in advance. 
*While I used cherry tomatoes & fresh thyme, you can use fresh toppings of your choice! For example, chopped onions, other herbs, etc.
*I added the Smoked Paprika Powder before baking & it turned our great; though the colour darkened, giving the bread a charred look. If you don’t like the charred look (or taste), you can also add the dried powder seasoning (of your choice) after baking (before serving). 

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