Focaccia recipe – a simple way of bringing a taste of Italy to your kitchen.
Italian focaccia bread is hands down my favourite type of bread to make and eat.
In fact, the first thing I ate when I visited Italy for the very first time was focaccia. I ordered a slice from a counter at the train station in Pisa. It was plain, just flavoured with salt and olive oil. It was a taste of Italy and it is the one food item that I associate with Italy more than any other. So, whenever I am creating my Italian holiday or when it is Italian night at home, I have to bake focaccia. I love travelling by mouth, don’t you?
Plain or loaded focaccia recipe, the choice is yours
I usually make plain focaccia flavoured just with strong Italian olive oil and sea salt flakes. However, if the focaccia is to be the main dish of the meal, I add all sorts of toppings like red onion, olives, sundried tomatoes and lots and lots of herbs. It makes a nice alternative to pizza, but I have been known to serve both at the same time. Hey, you can never have too many carbs, alright! You can also use focaccia as the base for your homemade pizza.
As easy bread recipes are quite popular on this site, I have a blog post with some really handy tips for baking bread at home, and I highly recommend you read them before baking this beautiful focaccia bread recipe.
Focaccia bread ingredients
- 500 grams of strong white bread flour
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 7 grams of fast-action yeast or 10 grams of fresh yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
- 300 millilitres of lukewarm water
- 100 millilitres of really good and tasty olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 millilitres) of really good and tasty olive oil for the top
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- Toppings of your choice
How to make focaccia bread
Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. If you are using fresh or dried herbs you can add them into the flour at this stage.
If using fast-action yeast add this to the flour.
Put the water into a jug and add the sugar.
If using fresh yeast, stir the fresh yeast into this sugar water and leave to sit for about five until yeast is foamy.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the water.
Pour the oil into the water in the well.
Using your hands, or spatula or fork start incorporating the flour into the water and oil.
The dough will start to come together into a ball.
If the dough seems a little stiff, add another 1-2 tablespoons (15-30ml) of water and mix well.
Kneading the bread dough
Turn out onto the countertop and start kneading. You’ll need to knead for around ten minutes until you get the ‘windowpane’ effect.
Proving the bread dough
Place the ball of dough in an oiled bowl and cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or oiled clingfilm.
Leave in a warm room for about 60 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Knocking back the bread dough
When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out on your worktop.
Punch the dough down – you are knocking out the gases.
Shaping the bread dough
Portion the dough according to how many focaccias you are making.
This focaccia bread recipe makes around four small focaccias (around 25cm/10 inches in diameter) or one large focaccia.
Roll the portions into balls. Put the dough balls on baking trays and lightly press each ball with your fingertips to flatten them out.
Slowly work the dough out like a pizza base or if you are making one big focaccia just push the dough out to fill the tray.
The dough should be about 1cm (1/2-inch) thick.
Push your fingertips into the dough to leave dimples on the top.
Pour the remaining olive oil over the top, and a little extra for good measure. You should have little golden pools of oil on top of the bread.
Add your toppings. You don’t need to cook the toppings beforehand but sometimes I like to caramelise the onions in a pan before adding on top of the dough. When it comes to toppings you can choose anything but if you are stuck, think about Italian foods and ingredients. What would you have on a pizza? As mentioned, I love red onions, olives, tomatoes, peppers, but I also love fresh rosemary and thyme, feta cheese, mozzarella and basil, mushrooms and sage and cured meats too.
For me though, sprinkling liberally with sea salt is the key to tasty focaccia. So don’t forget to season with plenty of salt and pepper.
The second proving
Cover the focaccia with a damp tea towel or cover loosely with lightly oiled clingfilm.
Leave the dough in a warm room to prove again for another 30 minutes.
Baking the bread
Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°C fan assisted / 400°F / gas mark 6.
Bake the focaccia for about 20 minutes until lightly golden.
I think focaccia is best eaten as soon as it comes out of the oven, but be warned it will be piping hot. I love to dip the focaccia into really good balsamic vinegar. To me, this is Italy on a plate and a great way to travel by mouth when I am stuck at home in Ireland.
So, what do you think of my focaccia recipe?
Did you like it? Did you try it out? What improvements would you make? Share a photo of your own attempt at this focaccia recipe or leave any feedback and comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
Or you might enjoy making my spice cake recipe.
You might also like my pumpkin soup recipe as an accompaniment to your homemade focaccia bread.
And be sure to check out my recipe for Shrewsbury biscuits.
If you like this easy focaccia recipe, please share with others.