June 07, 2009

Bacon Makes This Bread Special

Have had very social times since returning from the Emerald Isle. Needed to bring something to a pot luck and also an appetizer to a dinner. This easy recipe filled the bill for both. The dough goes together easily in a bread machine, but you can make it with a stand mixer and dough hook, or stir it together and knead by hand, too. The olive oil adds flavor and suppleness to the dough so it’s easy to work with. Be patient in spreading the dough into the pan. If it resists, let it sit a minute then try again.

Bacon seems to be a hit with most people. Use good quality bacon since there really isn’t a lot of it here. Cook enough to crisp up the fatty parts and don’t be surprised that there will be a lot of fat left in the pan when you drain the cooked bacon bits. They don’t really stay on the bread very well, but you can boost any that fall on the cutting board back onto the cut pieces.

Since I came home to a LOT of Swiss chard and a fair amount of small zucchini, I used some of those in the topping. You could use spinach or arugula instead of the chard and skip the squash, too. If you don’t have small squash, do skip using squash.larger ones have too much water for this recipe. Sauteed onions would be another great topping.

Bacon and Chard Focaccia

1 Recipe Basic Focaccia
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/3 inch lardons
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 large Swiss chard leaves, washed, dried, and cut in chiffonade (rolled up and thinly sliced)
1 very small zucchini, cut in coins
salt and pepper to taste (I used garlic salt and some pepper)
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Follow the directions below for the basic focaccia. Use the larger pan if you like your focaccia less bready.

Drizzle with the 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil. (I then spread a thin coat over the whole thing with a pastry brush.

Cook the bacon pieces over high heat until crisp but not burnt. Remove from fat with slotted spoon then drain on paper towel. Sprinkle focaccia with the bacon, Swiss chard, and zucchini, distributing each ingredient as evenly as possible over the pan of dough. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over all. Place plastic wrap loosly over the top and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Remove plastic wrap and bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Can be served warm or cool. Cut into small squares for appetizers, larger pieces to go with a meal.

Basic Focaccia

King Arthur Flour website

Large or Small* Machine

1 cup water, warm
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose OR Unbleached Special Bread Flour
2 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons italian seasoning, heaping
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine. Program for Dough or Manual, and press Start.

*If you're using a small (1-pound) bread machine, remove the dough from the machine at the end of the second kneading cycle, and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

At the end of the cycle, remove the dough from the machine and punch it down. Roll it out to form a rectangle, and transfer it to a cookie sheet, 10 x 15-inch to 12 x 18-inch. Pat the dough into the pan. Make indentations in the dough with your fingertips, about an inch apart, and drizzle sparingly with olive oil.

Let the focaccia rise for half an hour to an hour. This will make a lighter bread. Bake the focaccia in the preheated 450°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and serve. Serves 6 to 10.

Yeastspotting, that wonderful, mouthwatering, inspiring weekly event at Susan's Wild Yeast blog has turned a year old! Happy Birthday!! Sorry I missed the anniversary last week, but this entry will have to do since I wasn't around to bake bread last time. If you love yeast, or just want to enjoy looking at fantastic recipes made with yeast, hurry on over to http://www.wildyeastblog.com/category/yeastspotting !


  1. Always takes me so long to come back from a trip.
    Gorgeous bread and I love the Swiss Chard and bacon ;)

  2. Great spring focaccia! I need to be vigilant not to let my squash get too big -- blink and it goes from baby to middle-aged.

  3. Focaccia is looking good. :)

    Using good quality bacon makes a big difference tastewise. It's always worth the effort to get some at your local butcher instead of the pre-cut stuff from the supermarket.

  4. Looks very yummy! Your hosts must have been in seventh heaven...


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