Focaccia with Smoked Pancetta and Tomatoes

I made some focaccia a while ago. It was pretty good and tasted pleasant with some balsamic vinegar dipping sauce. How to improve on this? Add some bacon! Or in this case, delicious smoked pancetta. And throw a few vine-ripened cherry tomatoes in for good measure.

Impress your friends with stand-out focaccia using this simple recipe.

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Focaccia with Smoked Pancetta and Tomatoes

3 hours prep (mostly unattended)
25-30 mins cooking
1 x 1.2kg loaf
Balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil


  • Baking tray with sides*
  • Kitchen scales
  • Measuring jug
  • Mixing bowl
  • Timer (kitchen, phone app)
  • Kitchen cloth or plastic carrier bag
  • Kitchen towel
  • Small sharp knife
  • Cooling rack

*A 30cm/12inch Swiss roll tray is a good-sized baking tray for this recipe.

Focaccia with tomatoes and rosemary added just before baking


  • 600g strong white flour
  • 450ml warm water (325ml cold, 125ml boiling)
  • 1 sachet dry instant yeast (or 2 tsp from a jar)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100ml olive oil (75ml dough/25ml topping)
  • 200-300g uncooked smoked pancetta*
  • 6-10 cherry tomatoes
  • Cornmeal/polenta (optional)
  • Rosemary and sea salt to finish

* Smoked thick cut bacon with the rind removed also worked.

Reasonably loose crumb with pieces of pancetta


This method uses minimal knead and follows the Easy Home-Baked Bloomer approach. Check that post out for general hints and tips.

Making Dough

  1. Put flour, salt and yeast in the bowl. Add the water, mix together into a wet dough. Cover the bowl and rest the dough for 30 mins. Cook, drain and dry the pancetta.
  2. Add 75ml olive oil to the bowl, combine it into dough by folding dough over a few times in bowl. Cover the bowl and rest the dough for 30 mins.
  3. Repeat the dough folding, cover and rest for 30 mins (don’t add any more oil).

Shaping the Focaccia

When the pancetta is added it may look like too much. However the dough will expand, up to three times its original size. This distributes the pancetta.
  1. Turn the dough and residual oil onto a clean worksurface. Spread the dough out into rectangle and distribute pancetta on top of it evenly. Fold the dough back onto itself by thirds. Return to bowl, cover, leave for 30 mins.
  2. Oil a baking tray and dust with cornmeal/polenta (or flour).
  3. Repeat stretch and fold of dough on worksurface, then put dough in centre of tray. Spread dough out evenly until it is rectangular and flat. Cover tray with clingfilm and leave for 30 minutes to spread out in the tray.

Baking the Focaccia

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (200°C for non-fan, using non-fan is recommended).
  2. Brush top of dough with 25ml olive oil. With the tip of your finger pointing straight down, dimple dough in a regular pattern. Put a halved cherry tomato into each dimple hole. Sprinkle top of dough with chopped rosemary and crushed sea salt.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Cool on a rack.
Focaccia cooked and cooling before dinner

Hints, Tips and Pictures

  1. The dough is oily, food grade disposable gloves can be used when manipulating it.
  2. If you have a pizza stone, put this in the oven when pre-heating to warm up. When the focaccia has been cooking for 10 minutes, carefully remove it from the baking tray with a wide spatula and put it directly onto the pizza stone.
  3. The pancetta can be dried with kitchen towel prior to adding to the dough.
  4. Sprinkle some Dizzy Pig Shakin’ The Tree rub on instead of (or as well as) salt for an extra flavour dimension.
    Focaccia with Dizzy Pig Shakin' The Tree rub on top
  5. The dough may not spread evenly when first put into the baking tray. It will expand during the final rise to form a rectangle.

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