I started making homemade focaccia bread years ago with the goal to create a recipe/method that was simple, forgiving and delicious.
This is it. You don't need years of practice or fancy tools. You don't need hours and hours of time in the kitchen. This focaccia bread takes about 20 minutes of active time, 1-2 hours of resting time and 25 minutes or so in the oven.
What is Focaccia Bread?
Focaccia is a yeasted flat bread born on the shores of the Mediterranean. The original recipe likely originated with the Etruscans or Ancient Greeks.
It's considered a precursor of modern pizza. Yum.
Among challah (which can be made vegan!) and ciabatta, it's one of my very favorite breads.
Focaccia is rich in olive oil and herbs and often topped with delicious things like caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
Focaccia is light and airy inside, golden and crispy on the outside when fresh from the oven. It has an open structure similar to ciabatta, but with a softer, pillowy chew.
Keys to a Great Focaccia Bread:
Strong or high gluten flour -- When I first started making focaccia, I used all-purpose flour. I've had MUCH better results since switching to bread flour. The higher protein content provides a more stable structure and a chewier texture/bite.
Bread Flour: 14 – 16%
All-Purpose (AP) Flour: 10 – 12%
What kind of bread flour should I use?! I love King Arthur Flour, personally, since they're New England born and their non-organic products are all non-GMO.
Active Dry Yeast -- Make sure your active dry yeast hasn't been sitting in the cabinet for years, that won't work. 🙂 I'm a fan of buying yeast in bulk since I bake bread weekly and it's cheaper. Store yeast in an airtight container in the fridge after opening.
If you don't bake bread often, go for the yeast packets.
High hydration -- Focaccia dough is more on the slack (wet) side than your standard sandwich bread or whole wheat loaf. Don't worry! The classic sessions of kneading by hand don't really happen here. Time saver! I simply mix for a few minutes in a large bowl with a rubber spatula.
Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil -- We want all the rich flavors here. There's a few tbsp. in the focaccia dough and we drizzle more on top before baking. It's all essential to the finished product! Don't skimp with over filtered "light flavor" olive oils and blends.
Simple Homemade Bread Baking
Bread in it's simplest form is flour, yeast, water and a touch of salt.
The grocery store bread aisle tells a much different story; a long, confusing one with added sugars, preservatives and ingredients we can't quite pronounce.
But who has time to make bread?! We all do! It's all about simplifying the method.
Focaccia is a good gateway to a life of homemade bread baking! You could also try making my family's traditional French Acadian Ployes! which is in the flatbread family too. Flatbreads are easy peasy.
I used to think that making bread from scratch at home would take ALL DAY and years to master until I read Artesian Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
I've been experimenting with that foundation for years and can attest that you don't need hours of hands on time to bake delicious bread! Your bread!
It's all about making the method work for you, don't settle for less. My mother in law swears by her bread machine and I agree it's a pretty amazing option too. It provides the same limited ingredient fresh bread consistently with minimal hands on time! Win win.
Whatever method you choose, trust that homemade bread can fit into your lifestyle and become a healthy habit.
Focaccia is versatile, simple and delicious
Add my vegan basil pesto and veggies to make a pizza, slice in half and build a sandwich, serve alongside olives and hummus for a tasty appetizer. It's all good.
You don't need any fancy tools to bake this at home. Just make sure you have a quality sheet pan for baking and a large enough bowl for mixing and proving.
I've made several tweaks and made hundreds of loaves over the years. Be on the lookout for a golden top, bottom and sides with an open-textured interior, large holes, soft and chewy bite.
Basic Focaccia Method
The ingredients list is so simple: bread flour, water, yeast, salt, olive oil, herbs/spices of your choice. Let's do this!
Mix the yeast and warm water in a large bowl until combined. Let sit for five minutes. The yeast will get foamy. I forgot to take a picture after the yeast got foamy. Oops.
Let's pretend it's all foamy on top:
Add three cups of flour + 2 tsp. salt. Mix for a couple minutes to wake that gluten up. We're mixing with a rubber spatula in lieu of kneading. It's a quicker, cleaner and easier process.
Add the rest of the flour (+½ cup or so) and olive oil. Mix for another minute. The dough should be slack but still come together/retain it's shape.
Cover the bowl with a dinner plate and let rise for 1-2 hours.
Shape into loaf or rolls, place on olive oiled cookie sheet. Herb & oil it up and let it sit while the oven preheats to 425 degrees.
I make one loaf of focaccia every single week, at least one because I share it so much, and you can too. It's a very forgiving method!
Try shaping them into rolls!
I am so excited to share what I consider to be the best and simplest focaccia bread recipe.
Behold, my every day focaccia!Print
- 1 tbs. active dry yeast
- 3 ½ cups bread flour
- 3 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil + more for the pan & drizzle
- 2 cups warm (not hot) water
- 2 tsp. sea salt + more for sprinkling
- Fresh/dried herbs of your choice for toppings
- In a large bowl, whisk water and yeast together until combined.
- Let stand for five minutes or so until yeast starts to foam.
- Mix in 3 cups of bread flour. Stir with rubber spatula for 2 minutes or so. The dough will be wet. Pretend you're a KitchenAid stand mixer for a bit. Have fun.
- Add the other ½ cup of flour + salt and 3 tbs. olive oil. Mix for another 2 minutes. The dough should still be slack but come together and hold its shape nicely in the base of the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with a dinner plate and let rise for 1 - 2 hours until dough doubles in size.
- Oil a large sheet pan with a bit of olive oil.
- Uncover the dough and say "WOW!"
- Oil your hands so the dough doesn't stick and shape the dough into a flat bread or rolls on the baking sheet pan. It doesn't have to be perfect, this whole process should only take a minute.
- Press your knuckles into the dough to make dimples. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and your choice of herbs on top. Let stand to rise a bit more while the oven preheats.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. BAKE 22 - 28 minutes.
Keywords: bread, focaccia,