Everyone needs a favorite homemade focaccia bread recipe and today I'm sharing mine. Traditional focaccia is an Italian bread that is made with yeast and flour and flavored with olive oil and fresh rosemary. It is so delicious warm from the oven - perfect as a snack, appetizer or alongside a pasta dish. Or use it to make your favorite sandwiches - the possibilities are endless.
Traditional Focaccia Bread
Focaccia bread is a traditional Italian flatbread that is so delicious. It's a very simple bread made with a few simple ingredients and is usually flavoured with olive oil and rosemary, but there are many variations. Sometimes you will see it topped with vegetables and grated cheese much like pizza.
It's crispy on the top and the bottom and the inside is light and airy with a slight chew. I can eat it just as it is with maybe a little olive oil on the side for dunking. Add a glass of wine and you will be living as the Italians do. You can also serve it alongside your favourite main dishes or even add a few extra toppings to dress it up.
If you've ever made homemade pizza dough you can make this focaccia - it's that easy.
How to Make Homemade Focaccia from Scratch
Like a lot of Italian-style bread recipes, this focaccia is simple to make and most of the time is spent waiting for it to rise. It's good to plan ahead if you want to make it because it can't be rushed, but your patience will be rewarded when you pull it out of the oven.
I like to use my stand mixer to make the dough because it is much faster. You can mix and knead the dough by hand - it will just take more effort and time.
First, whisk the flour, sugar, and active dry yeast. Make a well in the middle and add lukewarm 2% milk and olive oil. Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead the dough for two minutes. While it's kneading, add some water a little at a time.
After two minutes of kneading, add the salt and continuing kneading the dough for three more minutes or until it pulls away from the side of the bowl. Cover the mixing bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 20 minutes and then knead it again for about a minute. Cover the bowl again for 15 minutes and then knead it for 1 minute.
Next, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand for 30 seconds and then form it into a smooth ball. Place the ball in a lightly oiled bowl and turn it to coat it evenly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the dough to rise for one to two hours, or until it's doubled in size.
To bake the focaccia, you will need a large 13x9" cookie sheet that you will need to coat lightly with oil. Place the dough on it and then stretch it to fit the cookie sheet. Using your fingers, lightly press on the dough to create indentations on the surface.
Sprinkle salt and chopped fresh rosemary over the top of the dough. Drizzle olive oil over the top, too.
Bake the bread for approximately 15 minutes. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the top of the hot bread and serve it warm.
A Few More Recipe Tips
- Anytime you are baking with yeast be sure to check that your yeast is not expired. Old yeast won't work the way it's supposed to and your dough may not rise.
- For the milk, it should be heated to a temperature between 100 and 105°F. This will activate the yeast. If it's too hot it might kill the yeast and if it's too cold it may not activate it.
- For best results, you should leave the dough in a warm and draft-free space so it can rise. If your room is on the cooler side it may take longer for it to rise.
Is focaccia dough the same as pizza dough?
They are similar, but focaccia dough has more leavening which causes it to puff up more while it bakes. It has a more airy texture while pizza dough has a chewier and denser texture.
Can you make focaccia dough in advance?
Yes, you can make it ahead. Once the dough has risen you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a day. When you are ready to bake it, let it come to room temperature and then stretch it out, add the toppings and bake it.
Can you freeze it?
Baked focaccia can be frozen for later. Just wrap it tightly and it will keep in the freezer for up to three months. When you're ready to serve it, let it thaw at room temperature and then warm it up in the oven on a sheet pan.
Can I use different toppings?
You can change the toppings but use a light hand and don't skip the olive oil. Here are some ideas:
- Try fresh thyme in place of the rosemary or do a combination of the two.
- Chopped roasted garlic sprinkled over the dough would be delicious.
- Try spreading a light coating of pesto over the top of the dough.
- Chopped olives and sliced sun-dried tomatoes will work, too.
- A sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese wouldn't hurt either! You can add it before or after you bake the bread.
Focaccia is such a delicious bread to make - I hope you enjoy this recipe.
Traditional Focaccia Bread
- 2 cups all purpose or bread flour (250 grams)
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons lukewarm milk 2% (100-105F / 40C)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water (100-105F / 40C) (118 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of the stand up mixer whisk together the flour, sugar and yeast, make a well in the middle and add the milk and oil, start to knead with the dough hook, add the water a little at a time and knead 2 minutes (on speed #2), then add the salt and knead 3 minutes until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Cover the mixing bowl with a damn towel and let rest 20 minutes, then knead again on speed #2 for 1 minute. Cover the bowl again and let rest 15 minutes. Knead again for 1 minute.
- Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and knead for 30 seconds and form into a smooth ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to lightly cover in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
- Pre-heat the oven to 450F (230C).
- Place the dough on a lightly oiled cookie sheet*, and let rest 20 minutes. Then stretch the dough to fit the cookie sheet. Make indentations with your fingers, sprinkle with coarse salt, chopped rosemary and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Drizzle with a little more olive oil when baked. Enjoy!