Create your own custom Focaccia Bread Art

Why not kick that basic bread recipe up a notch and turn it into a beautiful work of art! This picture-perfect focaccia (a simple Italian flat, oven-baked bread with edible toppings) is both art piece and delicious all in one.

Servings: 12 slices

Focaccia Bread
• 5 cups flour
• 1 Tbs yeast (heaping) quick-rise yeast (or you can use 2 packets of quick-rise yeast)
• 2 tsp salt
• 2 1/3 cups water
• 4 Tbs olive oil divided
• 1/2 tsp coarse or flakey salt

For bread art:
• 1 cup sliced colorful vegetables of your choice (see ideas in sidebar)

Try your hand at making your own masterpiece with veggies and herbs, such as cherry tomato flowers, parsley leaves, bell pepper butterflies, chive bouquet stems, and dill grass. And while it looks like a complicated project, it actually comes together fast and easy. If fact, most of the work happens while the dough is rising!

For kid-friendly fun: Kids (of all ages) love making bread art! Simply prepare the focaccia on a cookie sheet and give them chopped herbs and veggies and see what they create. The result is always beautiful, delicious, and fun to eat! Plus, it's great to keep them busy while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Make the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, quick-rise yeast, and 2 tsp of salt. Add 2 1/3 cups of cold water.
Stir until you have a wet clumpy dough with no dry flour showing.
Cover with a lid or a piece of plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm spot for one to three hours (or longer). The dough has risen enough when it’s roughly doubled in size. You can just leave it on the kitchen counter if you like. The warmer the temperature, the faster it’ll rise.

Bake the bread:
Heat oven to 400 and rub the bottom of a cookie sheet with 2 Tbs of olive oil.
Pour the risen dough onto the oiled cookie sheet. (If needed, use a rubber spatula to help scrape it out of the bowl.)
With fingertips dipped in olive oil so they don't stick to the dough, spread the dough out flat, and, with fingertips, make small divots in the top of the dough.

If making traditional bread (no decorations): Drizzle with 2 more Tbs of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

If making focaccia art: Decorate with sliced vegetables, making sure that you press the ingredients into the dough to slightly adhere them. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.

Bake for 35-40 minutes at 400 until slightly golden brown. Cut into squares with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. It’s perfect warm, right out of the oven, or for sandwiches in place of rolls.

NOTE: If you already have a favorite recipe for focaccia bread, adding those decorative herbs and veggies to your dough should still work. Just be sure to add some oil on top of your artwork to avoid burning.

Artful Toppings

You can decorate the top of your focaccia dough before baking with any number of fresh herbs and veggies to create a picturesque work of art!

Here are some ideas to try:

Get creative, use your imagination, and don’t be afraid to experiment. You can even take it a step further, with different cheeses and cooked meats, like pepperoni or sausage.