Halloween Focaccia with Olives, Peppers & Mushrooms

What better way to celebrate California Farmer & Farmworker Month than with a bunch of CA Grown produce like ripe olives! Be sure to look for California on the can.
A Jerry James Stone Recipe


  • 800 grams bread flour (5 1/3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 ½ cups warm water
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, more for finishing
  • cup diced California green olives, more for pumpkin stems
  • ¼ cup sliced baby kale
  • 2 white mushrooms
  • cup julienne red onion
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 large orange bell pepper
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper
  • 1 California black olive
  • ¼ cup black sesame seeds
Jump to instructions
Yields 1 loaf
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 30 minutes



  • Whisk together 800 grams bread flour, 1 tablespoon sea salt, and 1 teaspoon active dry yeast in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix in 2 ½ cups warm water and begin to bring dough together. Add ¼ cup olive oil and continue to mix until all liquid is absorbed and ingredients form a sticky dough. Shape dough into a ball within the mixing bowl.
  • Fully coat dough’s surface with more olive oil and cover bowl for proofing. I use a silicon lid but a damp tea towel or proving cloth also work. You can also use plastic wrap.
  • Place covered bowl in the fridge immediately for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours total.
  • After the first proofing, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a 9 x 13-inch pan and fully coat both the bottom and sides.
  • Remove dough from the fridge and using a spatula, release the dough from the bowl. Transfer the dough to the greased pan, and using your fists carefully shape and stretch dough to the size of the pan. The dough will fight back (that’s why you need your fists! kidding.) and you may have to stretch and shape it a few times over. You want the dough to be an even layer across the whole pan.
  • Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil across the dough, further shaping and stretching as needed, evenly coating the top of the dough with the oil. Then dimple the dough by carefully pressing the tips of your fingers into the dough at an angle towards the bottom.
  • Proof focaccia dough a second time for 1 hour at room temperature.
  • Now to make your veggie art! I am not the most skilled at this and if you aren’t either I am going to give you a few options. The easiest Halloween focaccia art would be to do only olives. Also, it is a classic focaccia flavor. You can cut the olives into spiders and place them across the dough. Next level would be to do olive spiders and bell peppery jack o'lanterns. Or you can do the one I did for this recipe, a full on veggie-packed Halloween scene.
  • Spread an even layer of the ⅓ cup diced green olives towards the edge on the long side of the pan. We are creating a landscape scene. Top off the green olives with ¼ cup sliced baby kale. Gently press the ingredients into the dough.
  • Now to make your mushroom skulls! Using a straw, poke 2 eyes into each side of the 2 mushrooms. You can get 2 skulls per shroom. Then take a toothpick and carve a nose near the eyes and lines into the stem to make the teeth. Using a paring knife, trim the bottom of the stem and carefully cut the mushroom into 2 pieces, making 2 skulls.
  • You are going to make jack o’lanterns from the 1 orange bell pepper and a moon from the 1 yellow pepper. You can also make stars from the yellow pepper. Cut the peppers down the side, from stem to base. Lay the cut pieces inside-side down and press them against the cutting board. Trim off the parts that don’t lay flat. This will make them easier to carve. You can use the same straw for the skull eyes to make jack o’lantern eyes. Making lanterns of different sizes creates a nice visual.
  • Add your skulls and your jack o’lanterns to the scene. Take your ⅓ cup of julienne red onion and make trees on both sides of the pan. Press the onion into the dough as much as you can.
  • The ½ cup of chopped parsley makes the tree leaves. Press the leaves into the dough as much as you can. The parsley will cook off some when baking so you have to decide how to balance that visual and flavor.
  • Add your yellow pepper moon to the focaccia. Cut the white from a slice of onion to create a spider web. Then take the 1 black olive and slice it in half. Cut one half into 3 slices and again lengthwise to make legs. Add the olive spider to the web string in the trees somewhere.
  • Sprinkle the top of the focaccia scene with ¼ cup black sesame seeds to form a night sky.
  • Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat to 450 degrees F. Place pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the crust is crisp and golden brown. The scene usually changes when baked. So don’t be too surprised.
  • Remove from oven and drizzle bread with more olive oil. Don’t worry, it will absorb as it sits. Let cool for 5 minutes before releasing the bread from the pan.
  • Cut and serve! Happy Halloween!

UPDATE: In the video I say all canned olives are from California. That is not accurate. All olives grown in the U.S. are from California. So be on the lookout for those!