This Easy and Delicious Bread Recipe Is a Creative Way to Use Leftover Veggies
Towards the end of the week, you might be tempted to throw out that half of an onion, those couple extra bell peppers, and spare sprigs of herbs lingering in your crisper drawer. But wait — they can be used to make a yummy afternoon treat! Spring garden focaccia is a great way to enjoy those leftover veggies before you stock up on more produce.
Bread baking might sound a little intimidating, but focaccia is one of the easiest to make at home. It requires little to no kneading yet still has a light, airy texture after it comes out of the oven. It’s the perfect bread to top with veggies and other ingredients — and get creative in the process!
This baking trend is becoming increasingly popular. Home cooks everywhere are taking to Instagram with the hashtag #gardenfocaccia to show off their bread decorating skills. Using focaccia as a blank canvas to display your ideal spring garden design means that you’re baking something that looks amazing and tastes even better (the best of both worlds!).
Here are a few design ideas to get inspired:
How to Make Spring Garden Focaccia
First, you’re going to mix 5 cups of flour (you can use bread flour or all-purpose for this recipe), 1/4 ounce of dried active yeast, 2 teaspoons honey, 2 1/2 cups warm water, and 1 tablespoon kosher salt in a bowl until it forms a dough. You don’t have to worry about activating the yeast beforehand because it’ll do that as it rests. Next, transfer it to another bowl and coat the dough in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil so that it’s easy to remove after resting. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
One important thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need to allow the dough to rise twice: First in the fridge overnight and then the next day at room temperature until it’s doubled in size, which can take an hour or two. This gives the gluten plenty of time to develop and the flavor of the yeast will intensify, leaving you with the fluffiest and most delicious bread imaginable.
Also, this recipe is made on a baking sheet, so be sure to grease it with a generous drizzle of oil to prevent the bread from sticking to the tray as it bakes. Once you’ve prepared the dough and spread it out on the tray, poke dents into it using your fingers so that the ingredients can properly bake into the bread. Give the dough one final coat with a couple tablespoons of oil so that it browns nicely in the oven.
Now comes the fun part: Raid your fridge for any leftover veggies, such as bell peppers, olives, zucchini, and onions, to dress up the dough. Slice them into 1/2 inch thick pieces and arrange them on top with your favorite fresh herbs in a creative pattern.
Once you’ve finished your masterpiece, sprinkle a pinch of salt on top and bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove it from the sheet using a spatula and let it cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes.
You can see the full process in the TikTok below:
After its cooled, slice the focaccia with a serrated knife (Buy on Amazon, $12.97) to ensure that you don’t smash the bread as you’re serving it and so it retains its springiness. This bread is great for dipping into a little bowl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixed together. You can also place cold cuts and cheese between a couple of these fancy focaccia slices for the ultimate lunch sandwich.
Store it covered in a plastic bag and away from excess heat or moisture for up to two days at room temperature. This bread also lasts up to three months in the freezer if you want to enjoy it for weeks to come.
Regardless of how you choose to decorate or serve it, this edible work of art is a creative way to make sure that no veggies in your fridge ever go to waste!
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