Focaccia is a popular Italian bread that’s surprisingly easy to make at home. With a crisp exterior and airy, tender interior, this flatbread can be eaten on its own or used as a base for sandwiches or even pizza. In this article, we bring you an easy-to-follow focaccia recipe along with delightful variations to customize it.
The Basic Focaccia Recipe
- 4 cups (500g) bread flour
- 2 teaspoons (10g) salt
- 2 teaspoons (7g) active dry yeast
- 1 cup (237ml) warm water
- 1 teaspoon (5g) honey
- 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Maldon sea salt flakes for sprinkling
- Bowl and flexible scraper
- Danish whisk or wooden spoon
- Oven-safe skillet or baking sheet
- Wire rack
- In a large bowl, whisk together bread flour and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine the warm water, active dry yeast, and honey. Allow the mixture to sit for 5-7 minutes until it becomes frothy.
- Add the yeast mixture into the flour mix and use a Danish whisk or wooden spoon to combine. Stir until a shaggy dough forms.
- Add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and fold the dough until well combined. The dough should become smoother but still remain slightly sticky.
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 5-7 minutes until you achieve a smooth elastic texture.
- Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (232°C). Place an oven-safe skillet or baking sheet on the center rack.
- Once the dough has risen, brush 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil onto your preheated skillet or baking sheet. Transfer the dough onto the skillet or baking sheet, stretching it gently to fit its shape. Make small indentations on the surface using your fingertips.
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil over the top of the dough. Sprinkle generously with Maldon sea salt flakes.
- Bake the focaccia in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp at the edges.
- Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Classic Focaccia Variations
Beyond the basic recipe, you can create numerous flavor variations by adding ingredients such as herbs, cheese, and other toppings to the dough or simply scattering them on top before baking. Below are some popular options:
Rosemary Garlic Focaccia
- Incorporate 2 tablespoons of minced fresh rosemary into your dough during the mixing process.
- Sauté 4 cloves of thinly sliced garlic in 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil until lightly golden. Spread the mixture all over the surface of the focaccia prior to baking.
Thyme Black Pepper Focaccia
- Add 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves and 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper to the dough during the mixing process.
- Before baking, sprinkle additional thyme leaves and black pepper onto your dough surface.
Cheesy Onion Focaccia
- Sauté one large thinly sliced onion in 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil until golden brown.
- Gently press the cooked onions into the dough surface before baking. Sprinkle with 1 cup (100g) of grated fontina or mozzarella cheese before popping it in the oven.
Using a Sourdough Starter
If you have an active sourdough starter, you can replace the dry yeast with your starter to create an even more complex flavor profile. Simply remove 1/2 cup (120g) of your starter and dissolve it in the warm water, along with the honey, at the beginning of the recipe. You may need to adjust the fermentation time accordingly, as sourdough often takes longer to rise than commercial yeast.
Storing Your Focaccia
Focaccia is best enjoyed fresh from the oven while still warm. However, if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container or wrap tightly in foil at room temperature for up to two days. Reheat your focaccia in a 350°F (180°C) oven for about 5 minutes before serving.