Chewy and olive oil-enriched focaccia bread is the perfect edible art canvas for a colorful design of your own making. Garden Focaccia (also known as "focaccia gardens," "art focaccia" and "Van Gogh focaccia") are thought to have been popularized by Massachusetts home baker Terri Culletto, who first shared the colorful creations on her Instagram.
The trend is a hit with both new and expert bakers alike, due to both the ease of the recipe and room for creativity. To make your own edible work of art, use your favorite vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, herbs, seeds and spices, to create a blooming garden design or even try your hand at recreating a favorite painting (like the aforementioned Van Gogh!) or photograph (sunsets and landscapes lend themselves particularly well to this!).
Technique tip: Choose fruits and vegetables that aren't too high in water like mushrooms. Be careful not to cut things too thinly or they might burn. Dip herbs in water first to preserve them a little longer in the heat of the oven. You can use spices like paprika or turmeric to "paint" the dough.
Swap options: This can be made with fresh from-scratch dough or you can swap in store-bought pizza dough.
In the base of a mixer, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar, and whisk together.2.
Let sit 5 minutes until foamy. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil, 5 cups of flour and the salt to your mixer and use the dough hook to mix for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture pulls away from the sides, clinging only to the bottom of the bowl and the dough hook in a tornado-like shape. Continue to knead for 5 additional minutes (if dough is too wet and sticking to the sides of your bowl, add more flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, just until it pulls away).3.
Grease a large bowl with about 1/4 cup olive oil. Scrape the dough into the bowl, turn once to coat, and then cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise at warm room temperature 1 hour or until doubled in size.4.
Once the dough has risen. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then drizzle the top generously with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the center of your lined pan and use your hands to pull and stretch it out to the sides. Use your fingers to make holes throughout the dough (this will create focaccia's signature bumpy texture). Let rise a second time, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until once again doubled in size.5.
While dough rises, prep your vegetables, herbs, fruits and/or other toppings, and plan your design. Use an extra sheet pan or a similarly sized cutting board to lay out your design before transferring it to the dough.6.
Once the dough has risen the second time, preheat oven to 425 F. Place a baking rack in the middle of the oven.7.
Drizzle risen dough lightly with olive oil, then add the toppings as desired to create your design. Press the items in slightly so that they set into the dough (no need to push in all the way). Sprinkle with sea salt, then bake 25 minutes, or until golden brown throughout and slightly toasted at the edges.8.
Remove from oven and let cool before cutting and serving. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature. Best consumed within 1-2 days.