Monterey Pepper Jack Spelt Focaccia Bread (with Tomatoes and Rosemary)



Monterey Pepper Jack Spelt Focaccia Bread (with Tomatoes and Rosemary)


Firstly, a confession. This spelt focaccia bread is not authentic. Not at all.

There are many recipes out there featuring authentic focaccia, but this isn’t one of them. In fact, this version is nothing like how it should be. Authentic focaccia bread isn’t round, isn’t made in a skillet and it certainly isn’t meant to have pillow-y soft dough like this one does.

However, I don’t care much for following the rules. If we all followed the rules of baking, we would never create new recipes. However, I do care that people might think this is what you’d find on a traditional Italian table, because it isn’t.

So, you may be asking, why bother calling it focaccia bread at all? Well, because I pushed my thumb in to make the classic focaccia indentations, that’s why. Sounds like a fair reason to me.


Monterey Pepper Jack Spelt Focaccia Bread (with Tomatoes and Rosemary)


While I am on with confessing, I have another admission. I don’t know anything about Monterey Jack. Other than it is delicious, that is. Mind you, what cheese isn’t? When Googling to find out more, it appears that it varies a bit – some are lighter in colour, whereas others are more orange. Some have peppers or chillies (Monterey Pepper Jack) like the one I used in this spelt focaccia recipe.

I picked up some in our local Lidl when it was Mexican week, and it is so incredibly spicy and flavourful, with a semi-hard consistency. My thought its amazing spicy bite would go so well with soft, doughy bread. Kerrching. I was right. Success!


Can I substitute Monterey Jack with another cheese?

Absolutely. A strong cheddar would taste amazing. Perhaps feta? You could even use mozzarella, but I think a stronger, tangier cheese would work best.

The dough for this spelt focaccia bread recipe can be prepared in a bread machine or stand mixer, but I am sure it can be adapted to make by hand (I just haven’t tried it personally). It makes an amazing side dish for pasta, barbecues and salads. You could even dip it into tzatziki or Greek yoghurt feta dip


The recipe calls for dried yeast, what do you mean by that?

Here’s the thing: up until very recently, I didn’t know there was anything other than dried or fresh yeast. This doesn’t seem to be true in the US. I found this out after someone left a review for my ebook, Baking with Spelt. The reviewer was from the US and felt my book was poorly written. It’s all good. Each to their own, and all that. However, I was most perturbed by them stating that I hadn’t clarified which dried yeast to use in my recipes: baker’s, fast acting or active. Say what?

We only have one kind of dried yeast readily available here in Sweden. We add the dried yeast to warm liquid, allowing it to proof, but we also add the same dried yeast straight to flour. Wanting to get to the bottom of this (so that I can make sure my transatlantic readers have success with my recipes), I did a little research. According to Martha Stewart’s not at all poorly written article on the differences in dried yeasts, it appears my friendly reviewer isn’t quite as au fait with the terminology, either: the two dried yeasts are active dry and instant. 

From what I can gather, the only real difference is that active dry yeast works a little slower. More importantly, instant and active dry yeast can be used interchangeably. Phew. As for baker’s yeast? Well, it seems that baker’s yeast is just an umbrella term for all yeasts used in baking. 

I love creating recipes, and I get a huge amount of pleasure when people try them. However, it is so important to remember that I am in Europe. I do all I can to ensure I offer options and alternatives, but the simple fact is that oftentimes, we do things differently here. 


My whole family loved my spelt focaccia bread. It was light, doughy, cheesy and spicy all in one mouthful. I used a fairly small skillet, but it was more than enough to feed a family of four (even when those four snaffled it down like there was no tomorrow). I hope you love it as much as we did!


Monterey Pepper Jack Spelt Focaccia Bread (with Tomatoes and Rosemary)

Made with spelt flour and Monterey Pepper Jack cheese, this spelt focaccia bread recipe is studded with tomatoes and flavoured with rosemary.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Spelt Focaccia Bread
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Proofing/machine 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes


Dough (see note 1)

  • 300ml (1¼ cups) milk
  • 1 egg
  • 40g (1½ oz) Monteray Pepper Jack cheese (chopped into small pieces)
  • 20g (1½ tbs) butter
  • 420-470g (3½ - 4 cups) spelt flour (see note 2)
  • 7g (2¼ tsp) dried yeast (see note 3)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


  • Approx. 100g (3½ oz) Monteray Pepper Jack (chopped into small pieces)
  • two baby/cherry tomatoes (chopped)
  • swig of olive oil
  • sprinkling of rosemary
  • sea salt


Bread Machine:

  • Add the milk, egg, cheese and butter to your bread machine pan. Then add 430g (3½ cups) of flour and the remaining dough ingredients. Take care to keep the yeast and salt separate as much as possible. Set your machine to make dough.
  • On a very well-floured surface (the dough will be very sticky) work in just as much flour as you need to make a soft, pliable, but still a little tacky, dough.

Stand Mixer:

  • Add the milk, egg, cheese and butter to your stand mixer bowl, and quickly mix together. If the butter is straight out of the fridge, it won't combine with the other wet ingredients too much, but that's okay.
  • Add 470g (4 cups) flour and the remaining dough ingredients. The dough should be sticky, but if you need more flour, just add a little at a time. Be careful: too much flour will result in dry bread.
  • Switch to a dough hook (if you have one) and allow the mixer to knead the dough for around 10 minutes, just until soft. The dough will still feel a little tacky to the touch, but will be able to slowly drop off the hook.
  • Cover the dough and leave to proof (until it has doubled in size - usually about an hour).
  • When the dough is ready, knock it back, and form into a rough ball.

Both methods:

  • Grease a small skillet pan with olive oil and place the dough inside.
  • Using your fingers, press and manipulate the dough until it has been smoothed out and covers the whole skillet. A good dough will fight you tooth and nail every inch of the way, so if it refuses to cooperate, it’s a great sign. I recommend doing the above, leaving for five minutes, then come back and repeat.
  • Using your thumb, press indentations all over the top of your dough.
  • Place tiny bits of cheese and tomato in the indentations. Again, a good dough will bounce back quickly, so just make sure everything is pushed into the bread (if your thumb is sticking, use a little flour on it to make the job easier).
  • Cover with a tea towel and let the dough rest for a further 15 minutes or so.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC (430ºF).
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over the rosemary and sea salt.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven for around 15-18 minutes. It will be ready when the top is very firm and nice and golden.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Slice then eat warm or cold with your favourite pasta dish or with a barbecue.


  1. I have made the dough using both a stand mixer and bread machine with identical results. I have not made the dough by hand, but I see no reason why you couldn't do so!
  2. You can use spelt or regular flour for this recipe (just use the same amount).
  3. In Sweden we have something called dried yeast. It is used both in warm liquid to proof and also added directly to flour. I am aware that the US has two options for dried yeast, and I believe dry active yeast is the most similar for the purpose of making this particular bread.
I have converted grams to cups/ounces/tablespoons using online converters. Although I have no reason to believe they are inaccurate, please be aware that I have not made the recipe with imperial measurements.
In addition, many ingredients are different in Europe compared to North America. I do all I can to offer possible alternatives and to ensure the best possible outcomes for everyone. However, results cannot always be guaranteed if you have not used the same ingredients, measurements or methods as me.
Lastly, I do everything I can to ensure that my recipes (and instructions) are accurate and easy to follow. However, I am human, and don't always get it right. If you notice anything strange, a mistake, or even a typo, please let me know in the comments. 
Monterey Pepper Jack Spelt Focaccia Bread (with Tomatoes and Rosemary)Monterey Pepper Jack Spelt Focaccia Bread (with Tomatoes and Rosemary)

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