California Pizza Kitchen, known within the food industry as CPK, is a casual dining restaurant chain that specializes in California-style pizza. The restaurant was started in 1985 by attorneys Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax in Beverly Hills, California. The chain is widely known for its innovative and non traditional pizzas, such as the "Original BBQ Chicken Pizza", BLT, Thai Chicken, and Jamaican Jerk Chicken pizzas. They also serve various kinds of pasta, salads, soups, sandwiches and desserts. They have an extensive children's menu for children ages 10 and under which includes a variety of different pizzas, pastas, salad, and chicken.

The chain has over 230 locations in 32 US states and eleven other countries, including 26 California Pizza Kitchen ASAP kiosks designed to serve passengers at airports and shopping malls. The company licensed its name to Kraft Foods to distribute a line of premium frozen pizzas, in 2000.; Nestlé purchased Kraft's pizza lines in 2010.



Focaccia Bread with Checca

Here is a restaurant copycat recipe for California Pizza Kitchen's Focaccia Bread with tomatoes. This bread is great alone or served with a bowl of soup or pasta.  Read on to find out how to make this dish at home using simple ingredients and limited cooking skills.

Ingredients for Checca

2 lbs tomatoes, diced
1 Tbsp fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp salt


Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

The Bread

Now, I'm not a baker and haven't had much luck working with yeast so I always buy my bread at the bakery.  The idea here is to create the restaurant experience without going to a whole lot of trouble.  There are two versions of the the Focaccia bread served at California Pizza Kitchen.  The garlic cheese focaccia is topped with herbs, garlic and mozzarella cheese and there is an onion herb focaccia as well.  When I make this, I just add some spices and cheese to store bought bread and heat it in the oven.
For those adventurous souls with bread machines and plenty of time, I've included a simple focaccia recipe


1-1/2 cups bread flour
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. white sugar
1 pkg. fast-acting yeast
1-1/3 cups warm water (110°F)
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
2 tbsp. freshly snipped rosemary leaves
2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large stoneware bowl, stir together the flours and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Sprinkle the sugar and yeast into that well. Carefully pour the water into the well. Let stand until the yeast begins to act, about 5 minutes. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into the well. With a wooden spoon stir the mixture in the center of the bowl. Gradually widen the circle of stirring to take in all of the flour at the sides of the well. 

Turn out on a floured surface, and knead just until smooth. Keep the dough soft. Pour 1/2 teaspoon of the oil into a clean bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, turning once to oil the top. Cover. Let rise until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes. 

Punch the dough down. Use 1 teaspoon of the oil to coat a baking sheet, and place the dough on the baking sheet. Gently press the dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Pour the remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons oil over the top of the dough. Use the handle end of a wooden spoon to dimple the dough at 1-1/2 inch intervals. Sprinkle with the rosemary and the cheese. Place in a cold oven on the center shelf. Place a flat pan of hot water on the shelf below the bread. Let rise until doubled, 20 to 25 minutes. 

Turn on the oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake the focaccia for 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned on top. Remove from the pan, and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.

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