Herbed Focaccia Bread

I’m usually pretty fearless in the kitchen. I like trying new recipes and techniques, even when we have friends over. But there are a couple things that scare me. Making homemade caramel is my worst nightmare. I’ve tried to make it a couple times and without fail, burn it every time. Baking with yeast also used to scare me. I never had any bad experiences with it but I had heard numerous disaster stories about working with yeast. Over the past couple months, I’ve overcome this fear. I’ve made three items with yeast as a key ingredient and all were successes: soft pretzel bites, this herbed tomato focaccia bread, and dinner rolls.

I loved this focaccia bread. I followed the recipe below, complete with caramelized onions, herbs, and tomatoes. However, you could easily omit the onions and/or tomatoes, substitute them with something else, or switch out the rosemary for your favorite herb. It took quite a while – several hours, including inactive time for the dough to rise – but it was a fantastic side to some veggie lasagna.

Source: I’ve had this recipe for a while. It was torn out of one of the booklets that came with my Kitchen Aid mixer. I scoured the Internet to see if this recipe was posted to their website, but had no luck finding it.

Herbed Tomato Focaccia Bread

Makes 12 servings


  • 1 c. warm water (105-115F)
  • 1 envelope (2 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 9 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 5 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary and/or thyme, divided
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 c. canned plum tomatoes drained, seeded, and chopped)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt


  1. In a small bowl, combine water, yeast, and 3 Tbs. olive oil. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, 2 tsp. salt, and 2 Tbs. herbs on low speed, just to toss together. With the mixer still running, add yeast mixture and milk, beating for 1 minute. Scrape down side of bowl, and beat a few more seconds to ensure everything’s fully incorporated.
  3. Remove bowl from mixer and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm spot and allow it to rise until the dough has doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours. (I set the bowl near an oven/stove that is turned on. I know others that have let the dough rise over a heating vent or in a laundry room with the dryer running. If it’s not warm, the dough won’t rise, or at least not as quickly.)
  4. Oil a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil. Turn dough out onto pan and stretch to fill the pan completely. Allow dough to rise another hour, until it doubles in size again.
  5. When dough has just about doubled in size, preheat oven to 450F and prepare the onions. Slice onions thinly and saute in 3 Tbs. olive oil until they begin to color. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Set aside and allow to cool. If the plum tomatoes aren’t chopped, do that now as well.
  6. With your fingertips, “dimple” the surface of the dough creating little dips every 2 inches. Scatter onions, tomatoes, and fresh herbs evenly over the surface of the dough. Drizzle with 1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil and kosher salt.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to check bottom for browning (if getting too dark , slide another baking sheet under it to insulate the bottom and slow browning). Return to oven and bake another 10 minutes, until golden brown (about 25 minutes total).
  8. If serving immediately, transfer directly to a cutting board. Otherwise, allow to cool on a wire rack.

Number of servings (yield): 12

Bacon-Cheddar Scones

I’ve been in the same office for quite a while now, and to be honest, I can’t see myself leaving any time soon. I work with an incredibly diverse group of people who are a ton of fun. We have “pig-ins” and happy hours. We draw ridiculous pictures on white boards. Some people build enormous Lego creatures and fire Nerf guns (we’re particularly fond of firing rubber bands). We work crazy hours but it’s ok, because we all love what we do.

Did I mention that this fantastic group of people are all guys? Yep, my office is almost 90% male. I’d say that sometimes it’s tough, but really, it’s not. There’s no drama and no fear of offending anyone with my matter-of-fact manner. But the best part? I can try out new recipes on the gang, and no matter how critical I am of outcome… they always love it because it’s homemade and they didn’t have to make it.

At this time, I couldn’t imagine leaving this awesome group of people for anything short of being able to spend my days in the kitchen. One of my best friends and I dream about owning a little bookstore with a bakery attached. Sometimes these sweets are being sold along coffees, lattes, and teas while other times we’re skipping the coffee and adding in a wine bar. Guess it depends on what we’re craving at the time. 😉

On that note, any investors out there?

But why do I bring this up? Because whether they know it or not, my coworkers are getting me started on my little venture. I’m what the single guys fondly refer to as “the bakery,” the cheap and tasty substitute for our awful cafeteria. Yes, my coworkers pay me to bring them lunch and the occasional breakfast. Even a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and jelly are enthusiastically accepted. Go ahead and laugh. It is pretty funny. But I love these guys and get real pleasure from my time cooking for them as well as their reactions to whatever I bring in. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. I get to test new recipes and to spend time in the kitchen without breaking the bank or going up a pant size. They get to eat something tastier and cheaper than what is offered in the cafeteria.

This scone recipe was one of the new recipes I tried out last week. One of the guys got breakfast and another coworker got a surprise when he came in to work on Sunday to play catch-up. Since the latter requested the recipe, I think I can consider these savory scones a winner. The smokiness (is that how you spell it?) of the bacon (I used turkey bacon) really shines through in these scones, a nice change from some of the sweeter breakfast pastries.

So, as you read this story and recipe, I go to start on this week’s lunch request – chicken cobb pizza. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions: A great side for eggs, a southwest salad, or chili

Bacon-Cheddar Scones

Adapted from The Pastry Queen (p. 24)

Makes 8-12 Scones


  • 3 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for counter/board
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (or 10 chives, minced)
  • 10 slices bacon or turkey bacon, diced
  • 1 to 1-1/2 c. buttermilk (I used 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 c.)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs. water

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut in butter until mixture is pea-sized. Stir in cheddar, onions/chives, and bacon until combined.

Add 1 c. buttermilk. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. If mixture is too dry, add more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Be sure not to over mix.

Lightly flour a counter or cutting board. Turn dough onto floured surface and pat into a flat disc. Use your hands (or a rolling-pin if you don’t mind another dish to wash) to flatten dough into a round disc about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into triangle-shaped wedges or use a cookie cutter to shape as desired. If the latter, reroll and cut dough until all used up. Place scones on prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart (they spread about 1/2-inch each in all directions).

Whisk together egg and water. Brush tops of scones with egg wash.

Bake 18-20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked throughout.

Serve hot or at room temperature.