Baking with a Brand Ambassador: Garden Focaccia Bread

Going a little stir crazy? Then it’s time to stir up some fresh-baked goodness in the kitchen.

East Carolina University Reborn Ambassador Trysten (@tbone1500) is coming to the rescue to teach you how to make some mouthwatering (and sustainable!) recipes at home. Read on to master his recipe for Garden Focaccia Bread, and if you haven’t seen it yet, head to our IGTV to hear Trysten spill his secrets to making the perfect sourdough loaf!

Bake simply, bake sustainably

You’d probably be surprised to realize just how strong of an impact your dining habits can have on the environment. Making just a few changes to your diet can have a positive effect on the planet. To make your bread–and every other meal– as eco-friendly as possible, shop seasonally and locally. Picking up seasonal produce and herbs from the local farmers market helps support your community and dramatically cuts down the fuel used to ship food to your area.

Livestock farming uses more than 80 percent of all farmland, with over 30 percent of all croplands being used to grow food for livestock. Meat production is also a major greenhouse gas contributor, so make your recipes vegan or plant-based when you can. If you do choose to use animal products, get them from a local source to minimize negative environmental impacts.

When you’re done whipping up your recipe, compost your scraps. Composting enriches soil and reduces the need for chemically-enhanced fertilizers. In landfills, food scraps produce methane, because they can’t break down properly without exposure to air. The Reborn team uses CompostNow to responsibly dispose of food waste. Check them out if you’re based in NC, or make your own backyard compost pile!

Garden Focaccia Bread

  • Takes 2 hours including rising time
  • Makes 8-12 pieces

Your Garden Focaccia Bread will be the talk of the town (or your apartment. #StayAtHome). This traditional Italian bread is easy to make and will impress all your guests. Collect all the ingredients below and let’s get baking: 

What you’ll need: 

  • 1 cup warm water (about 110° F)
  • 1/4 oz active dry yeast (you can use instant yeast) 
  • 1 tablespoon honey
    • To make the dish vegan, substitute honey for maple syrup, molasses, or date syrup.  
  • 1/4 cup olive oil and a little more for greasing pan and brushing bread
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Raw vegetable & herb toppings 


How to make it:

  1. Whisk the water, yeast, and honey. Allow mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes until bubbles appear and then combine olive oil. Continue to whisk until the mixture is nice and smooth. If you are using instant yeast, no need to wait for bubbles–just move on to step 2.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Combine the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients and mix. Knead dough for 5-8 minutes or until it’s smooth and elastic. If you are using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment and turn the mixer to high.
  3. Move dough to a medium-sized bowl coated with olive oil and cover with a clean towel. Allow dough to rise for an hour until it doubles in size. 
  4. Once dough rises, grease a 9×9 baking pan with olive oil. Move your dough into the pan and press gently to fit the pan. Slowly stretch dough out, making sure it stretches evenly. Cover dough and let rise for 30 minutes. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and prepare your toppings. Be sure to wash produce. I used baby bell peppers, chives, oregon, basil, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and fresh garlic. I peeled the garlic and cut in small pieces, cut the tomatoes in half, and thinly sliced the bell peppers and red onions. 
  6. Place your vegetables and herbs onto the uncooked dough and press gently into dough. You can design your bread anyway you want, I was going for a garden feel. Once your bread is designed the way you like, drizzle more olive oil on top and sprinkle salt. For a garlic taste, sprinkle with garlic salt. 
  7. Place bread into the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into desired pieces and serve. Enjoy! 

For a more traditional focaccia bread, swap the vegetable topping for fresh basil and garlic.

Tag to show us your creations on social! Happy baking!

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