Did you know that focaccia art was a thing? It is and it’s really fun. So let me show you how to make an impressive picture of a poppy field made entirely from vegetables, herbs and seeds. Nothing like a painting-like homemade focaccia!
What is focaccia?
It’s an Italian oven-baked bread that one could almost mistake for a pizza. It’s leavened and flat and with a crunchy crust, just with a much simpler topping than the pizza. However, for this project we’re going to use more than the usual salt and herbs, we’re going to cover the focaccia also with seeds and vegetables.
Focaccia bread (also la focaccia) is easy to make and it’s suitable for beginners. Focaccia isn’t a no knead recipe but there’s just a little kneading. Don’t buy any pre-made dough, homemade focaccia is the best!
For the dough
- 17.6 oz/500 g of 00 type flour or all purpose flour
- 10.6 oz/300 g of lukewarm water
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tablespoon of instant yeast
- 3.4 oz/100 ml of extra virgin olive oil
For the poppy field
- 1 large red pepper
- 1 medium tomato
- several small oval tomatoes
- green olives
- 2 tsp of ground poppy seeds
- fresh green parsley tops
- several dill stalks
- several chives stalks
- 2 tbsp of sunflower seeds, peeled
- dried basil and oregano
Prepare the Dough
Pour the lukewarm water in a bowl, add the yeast and stir. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 10-15 minutes, the yeast will become foamy.
Little by little, incorporate the flour, salt and olive oil. I add the flour and oil in several small batches and take my time. Knead also with your hands until you have a nice mass without lumps. The dough should be lightly sticky to your hands but still possible to stretch out. Cover the bowl again and let the dough rise until it doubles in volume or just a little less than doubles.
In this picture you see dough that is a bit more liquid than usual but still very good and easy to work with. What I like to do is I place a baking sheet on a tray, sprinkle it with oil and then roll out and stretch out the dough on it. I find it even tastier with a little oil on the bottom.
Landscape and Trees
Cut some chives stems lengthwise to get very thin stripes.
In the upper part of the dough make a landscape line that will be the horizon.
Sprinkle the larger part (field) with some dried oregano and basil.
Take small parts of the dill stems and some parsley leaves and place them “standing” on the horizon as if they were trees. Don’t press them in the dough, just lightly caress them to make them stick to it.
For the poppies Cut the bottom of the red pepper like you see in the first photo. For more poppies you can use also the whole paprika cut in continuous stripes (also 1st photo) that you’ll later fill with tomatoes.
Place some chives stems on the dough and the pepper bottom on the top to create the poppy petals.
When you make petals from the pepper stripes, slice a medium tomato and place the slices under the pepper stripes.
For smaller poppies cut small oval tomatoes lengthwise in half and place them on top of the chives stems.
Sprinkle some poppy seeds in the center of the large flowers.
Cut the olives in quarters and place those in the center of the flowers.
Cereal Spikes, Leaves, Buds and Finishing Touches
For the cereal spikes place a chives on the dough and start adding sunflower seeds to it. The pointy side of the seeds is to face out. Start with one on the top of the chives and go down.
Having spikes grow from the field over the horizon creates a nice effect.
For the buds start – once again – with a chives stem and place half a green olive on the top.
Add some leaves to the poppies – parsley leaves work great for that.
Here you can see that I made a half opened poppy in the end – place half a small tomato facing inside up, sprinkle it with ground poppy seed, place a quarter olive on top of the seeds and partially cover it with two more halves of small tomato.
In the end, cut some red pepper in tiny irregular pieces and sprinkle them all over the field as if they were small poppies.
Preheat the oven on 400°F/200°C and bake the focaccia for 20 minutes or until lightly golden.
Take it out of the oven, let it cool down and serve.
And enjoy your work of art!