You’ll love this foolproof recipe for soft and chewy focaccia bread, loaded with freshly chopped rosemary and lots of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Use this bread for sandwiches or just dip it in some balsamic vinegar for the perfect appetizer.
There’s something amazing about watching dough rise and smelling the yeast, then finally ending up with a delicious loaf at the end of a long process. If you’re new to bread making, focaccia bread is an easy bread to start experimenting with. It’s got a one of a kind chewy texture and is saturated with olive oil. Cut it into thick slices and make yourself the most awesome grilled cheese sandwich or panini, or just dip it into more olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Either way, you’ll love this delicious bread!
What is focaccia bread?
Originating in Italy, focaccia bread is a flat yeasted bread that‘s baked in the oven at a fairly high temperature. It’s traditionally topped with fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme, but you can go crazy with toppings like caramelized onions or even a sweet tart cranberry combo.
What ingredients are best for this dough?
Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil because the flavor comes right through the dough.
Fresh rosemary works really well, but thyme or grated Parmesan are also great add-ins. I like to sprinkle a flaky sea salt like Maldon on top.
Why dimple the dough?
It’s thought that the dimples in the dough help to give it an even rise. I personally love how the olive oil pools in all the dimples and enhances the flavor.
To dimple the dough, press the tips of your fingers into the dough until they touch almost to the bottom of the pan. Do this on the surface, but be careful not to rip holes in the dough.
Does my focaccia bread need a special yeast?
I use Red Star Yeast, and you’ll be amazed at how simple it can make baking. With three choices to choose from, there’s always a yeast to fit your time schedule. Because I wasn’t really in a rush to bake this focaccia, I used the Red Star’s Platinum yeast which gives fantastic texture and taste..
What type of pan to use?
This recipe calls for a 18×13 inch baking pan with a 1 inch lip. You can line the pan with parchment so the dough doesn’t stick. Foccacia bakes up beautifully in a well-oiled cast iron skillet too.
Can focaccia dough be made ahead of time?
Yes. You can make the dough and leave it to rise slowly in the fridge overnight (24 hours). Cover it with plastic wrap and bring it to room temperature before shaping and baking the dough. The longer you let the dough relax the better the bread will taste.
How do you cut focaccia bread?
I use a serrated bread knife and cut it in long strips or wedges which are perfect for dunking in olive oil. For sandwiches, I slice it right down the middle—focaccia doesn’t have a thick crust, so it’s easy to slice.
This bread is delicious on its own, but it’s beyond epic if you dip it in a good quality olive oil. Because it’s thick, it works perfectly for slicing in half and using as sandwich bread.
STORING AND FREEZING
I store focaccia right on the counter in a resealable container, although a Ziplock bag works well too. It will last for about 4-5 days at room temperature.
To freeze, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and seal it in a Ziplock bag. It’s good in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it on the counter to room temperature before serving. It can also be warmed up in the oven or heated up in a sauté pan. Brush the tops and bottoms of the bread lightly with olive oil, then heat until golden.
Enjoy this airy and flavorful focaccia bread, perfect as an appetizer or in place of regular bread on sandwiches and panini.
Important recipe notes!
This recipe has been tweaked from the original that was posted in 2015. This is a much simpler recipe and comes slightly adapted from Baking with Julia with much better results.
Making focaccia takes time and rushing it will not yield the best results. By letting the dough rest overnight it will be more likely to be chewier and more like a traditional focaccia loaf. If you can’t wait until the next day to continue to make the bread, follow the instructions up until the second rise and then instead of placing the dough into the fridge, place it back into the bowl, cover and let it rise for another hour and a half (third rise) then follow the instructions from that point on.
Rosemary Focaccia Bread
- 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water divided
- 2 tbsp active dry yeast 2 envelopes
- 3/4 cup olive oil divided plus 2 tbsp
- 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
- Flaky Sea Salt for garnishing
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook combine 1/2 cup of the water and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let it sit for 5 minutes.
In another bowl combine the remaining water with 6 tbsp of the olive oil and whisk together.
Combine the flour and salt in another bowl.
Add the water/oil mixture to the yeast and whisk together.
Add half of the flour and mix on low with the dough hook.
Add the remaining flour and mix on low speed for 5 minutes then increase the speed to medium for another 10 minutes.
- Dust your work surface with some flour and dump the dough onto it.
Gently knead the dough into a ball shape.
Wipe the inside of a large bowl with a splash of olive oil and set the dough ball into the bowl.
Cover with a towel and let rise for about one hour (first rise)
Punch the dough down to release the air and then knead it into another ball shape placing it back into the bowl for another hour to hour and a half. (second rise)
Repeat the process knocking out the air and forming back into a ball.
Place the dough ball back into the bowl and cover tightly.
Place the bowl with the covered dough into the fridge and let it sit overnight.
Next day bring the dough to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Line an 18x13x1 inch deep baking sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Shape the dough into a rectangle the same size as the baking pan (18x13)
Place the dough onto the prepared pan stretching it to the edges if needed.
Cover and let rise for about one hour or until the dough has risen slightly to the level of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Brush the surface of the dough generously with the remaining olive oil.
Using your fingers, gently make the dimples by pressing your fingertips into the dough a few times.
Sprinkle the chopped rosemary over the surface followed by the flaky sea salt.
Place the pan into the oven and bake for about 20-23 minutes and the surface is a deep golden color.