Tomato, Parsley & Cottage Cheese Focaccia

Focaccia {With Tomato, Parsley & Cottage Cheese}

There’s nothing like a challenge to get you going. Angie (The Novice Gardener), who already hosts the lovely Fiesta Friday link party, is throwing a monthly cooking challenge. The first one is to cook/bake something with both yeast and herbs. The obvious choice is some kind of bread, though I am very excited to see what the other participants have come up with.

I decided on focaccia. It has been on my ever-growing list of must-try-at-home recipes for a long time now. We get freshly baked jalapeno and cheese focaccia from a nearby Farmer’s Market store. They make them in individual 6-inch sizes. So cute and so delicious. What? A six-inch bread is not individual size? I can’t hear you! The focaccia from the store is not too thick, which I love. It has the right amount of chewiness and the edges are slightly crisped.

Easy Focaccia Bread With Toppings

Baking bread is always an adventure for me. I don’t know what I’ll end up with, till the bread comes out of the oven. Most recipes I found online claimed that an authentic focaccia must be drenched in olive oil before baking. I decided to cut down on the amount used and instead infuse the oil with garlic. I used this recipe as the base for my focaccia and developed on it.

Easy Focaccia Bread With Tomato, Parsley & Indian Cottage Cheese Toppings

Before baking, I topped the dough with tomatoes, parsley and paneer or Indian cottage cheese. The fact that I have my own parsley plant now (yay!) sort of sealed the deal. Do I get extra points for growing my herbs too, Angie? In fact, there is chopped parsley in the dough too. How awesome is that?!!

Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley

I also wanted to show off a neat trick I learned for crumbling firm store-bought paneer. Just use your electric chopper. No grating, no dicing and chopping. Just cut off large chunks of paneer and push a button. Okay, maybe you knew that already, but I have my “aha!” moments. So bear with me!

Tomato, Parsley & Crumbled Paneer or Indian Cottage Cheese

The minute the dough came together in the mixing bowl, my heart sank. It seemed too tough. But once I started kneading it, the dough yielded and after resting for a little while, it rose beautifully. I had fun poking at the shaped dough with my fingertips. I will tell you why it is done in just  a minute.

Shaped Focaccia Dough

Topped Focaccia Dough

Once topped and baked to golden perfection, it was time to try  a slice.

Focaccia Bread Slice

It was perfectly springy, with a nice crust on the bottom and sides. Each slice had a piece of tomato, some parsley and paneer on it. I served the bread with a mango-chili dip (from the store and not home-made, sorry). It was absolutely delicious!

Focaccia Bread With Mango-Chili Dip


You will need:

  • Active dry yeast – 1 tbsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Very warm water – 1 cup (not boiling, around 110 deg.F)
  • Oil – 4 tbsp + a little extra for brushing (olive oil is best, you can use vegetable oil too)
  • Garlic – 4 pods, crushed or chopped
  • All purpose flour – 2 3/4 cups + a little extra for dusting
  • Salt – 1 tsp + a little extra for sprinkling on the toppings
  • Dried oregano – 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper powder – a pinch
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley – a small handful
  • Tomato – 1, thinly sliced
  • Paneer or cottage cheese – 1 cup, crumbled

How to:

  • Proof the yeast by mixing yeast and sugar in a cup of warm water. Mix well and allow to foam for 5-10 minutes.
  • While the yeast does it’s thing, let us infuse the oil with garlic. Add the garlic to 4 tbsp oil and warm it till heated. You can easily do this in the microwave for 30-40 seconds or till you get a nice garlicky smell.
  • On to the dough now. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, dried oregano, black pepper powder and a few chopped parsley leaves (reserve some for topping the bread). Whisk well to combine. Add the yeast mixture and 2 tbsp of the garlic-infused oil and mix well. The dough will start to come together. Just when it forms a sticky mass, dump it onto a clean and floured surface. Knead well till is soft and elastic, around 5-8 minutes.
  • Coat  a bowl lightly with oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it so that every surface is coated completely with the oil (to prevent the dough from drying out). Cover with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 450 deg.F and prepare a baking pan or rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  • Once the dough is risen, punch it down and turn it out on to the baking sheet. Shape it into a flat bread of 1/2 inch thickness. Make dimples or indentations all over with your fingertips and brush with the rest of the garlic oil. The indentations will help the dough to absorb the oil effectively. Cover with a damp towel and rest the dough for a further 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, top the dough with sliced tomatoes, torn parsley leaves and crumbled paneer. Lightly sprinkle more salt on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove and cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm with a dipping sauce of choice or have it as such.


  • You can add any kind of herbs to the dough. I used dried oregano and fresh parsley. You can also use thyme, rosemary or a combination of your favorite herbs. The same goes for the topping as well. Olives, spiced eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and peppers would work well.
  • This is a quick focaccia bread recipe with very little rising time. More traditional recipes require almost 18-24 hours of resting time for the dough.
  • This particular recipe is best served fresh. If you are planning to keep it overnight, make sure to add the paneer crumbs just before serving and re-heat the slices gently.
  • Focaccia is good with just a light brushing of oil and sprinkling of sea salt on top. This way, it can be a simple bread to eat with soups, salads and pasta.

Easy Focaccia Bread With Tomato, Parsley & Paneer Toppings

Nothing better than freshly-baked bread, don’t you think?

Focaccia Bread With Tomato, Parsley & Paneer Toppings

Hmm… delizioso!

I really hope you try this recipe and let me know how you liked it.

Also, take look at my recipe for a simple white bread for tips on kneading, resting and shaping the dough.

Easy Homemade Bread 5Here is a recipe for delicious homemade pizza, from scratch.

Homemade Pizza With Easy Rise DoughIf you like what you see, please follow my blog via Email (button on the right), Facebook, Pinterest or Bloglovin’, or maybe even all four!!!

I am linking this up to Fiesta Friday Challenge #1.

fiesta-friday-challenge-badge4I am also linking this up at these awesome blogs.

77 thoughts on “Tomato, Parsley & Cottage Cheese Focaccia

  1. Oh my, Anjana…this looks delectable! It looks absolutely perfect to me. Such a delicious choice of toppings, too! A 6-inch focaccia is personal size? I thought a 10-inch was the perfect individual serving…especially if it looks like this!

  2. Love the colours, love the bread and the pictures!!! Anjana, you are tempting me to indulge in more bread when I am trying to resist. Thank you for the beautiful recipe!

  3. Pingback: Fiesta Friday Challenge #1 | The Novice Gardener

  4. I love focaccia ! I’ve tried some 14 or 15 different flavors till date. And some of my favorites have included your combo, and some more with mixed flours. Thanks for reminding me how wonderful it is to make bread at home.. especially this !

  5. I could have a bite of that right now! Such a beautiful focaccia and lovely pictures. And that pizza- we had tried that a few months ago when we had just started blogging and it was perfect! :)

  6. Wow, Anjana! Your post is wonderful! I love this recipe and your photographs are mouth-watering! I think I will have to try this recipe very soon, now that I have made 1 (well, it’s a start) recipe with yeast! :/

  7. Wow – I’m loving this bread, Anjana! I could just take a big bite out of my screen! Thanks for sharing a great recipe. I’ll be making it when my little nephews visit this weekend.
    Visiting from Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop – so happy to find your beautiful blog. Followed you on Pinterest. Have a great day!

  8. Found your recipe over at Tasty Tuesday’s and it looks incredible. We just launched a new recipe link-up party, Tickle My TasteBuds, that goes live every Tuesday. I would love for you to link this delicious recipe to our inaugural party. Here is the link —> I

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  12. Thank you for linking up to Tickle My Tastebuds Tuesday last week. As one of the co-hosts, I will be featuring your recipe on Tickle My Tastebuds Tuesday this week on my site, Detours in Life. Congrats! Please stop by and grab a feature button when you get a chance.

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