Focaccia bread is a classic Italian flatbread known for its tender crumb and olive oil-rich crust. This versatile bread is characterized by its dimpled surface, created by pressing fingertips into the dough. It’s often seasoned with olive oil, salt, and herbs, making it a fragrant and flavourful accompaniment to various dishes or simply enjoyed on its own.
The dough is relatively simple, typically comprising flour, water, yeast, olive oil, and salt. After a period of rising, it’s spread onto a baking sheet and allowed to proof again before baking, resulting in a golden, airy interior with a crispy, golden crust.
Focaccia can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or even used as a base for sandwiches. Its versatility and delicious taste make it a beloved choice for bread enthusiasts and home cooks alike. Whether seasoned with herbs, garlic, or simply a sprinkle of sea salt, each bite of focaccia promises a delightful combination of textures and flavours, making it a timeless favourite in the world of baking.
How To Make This Recipe
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 7g dried yeast
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 300ml warm water
- Extra olive oil for drizzling
- Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
1. Activate the Yeast:
a. In a small bowl, mix the dried yeast with a little warm water. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes until it becomes frothy. This indicates that the yeast is active.
2. Combine the Ingredients:
a. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre.
b. Pour in the activated yeast mixture, olive oil, and most of the warm water.
c. Mix with a wooden spoon or your hands to form a rough dough. Add more water if needed to bring the mixture together.
3. Knead the Dough:
a. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it for about 10-15 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
4. First Rise:
a. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
5. Prepare the Baking Tray:
a. Preheat your oven to 220°C (200°C for fan ovens). Drizzle olive oil generously onto a baking tray (about 30×40 cm) and spread it evenly.
6. Shape the Focaccia:
a. Gently punch down the risen dough and transfer it to the oiled baking tray. Spread it out evenly using your fingers, dimpling the surface.
7. Second Rise:
a. Cover the tray with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise again for about 30 minutes. This allows the dough to puff up slightly.
8. Season and Bake:
a. Drizzle more olive oil generously over the surface. Sprinkle coarse sea salt evenly across the dough.
b. Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the focaccia is golden brown.
9. Cool and Serve:
a. Allow the focaccia to cool in the tray for a few minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve the focaccia warm or at room temperature, either on its own, as a side, or as a base for sandwiches or dips.
This freshly baked Focaccia Bread is a delicious addition to any meal. Enjoy its wonderful aroma and flavour!
Tips Of Recipe
- Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality flour, olive oil, and other ingredients. Fresh, good-quality ingredients contribute to the overall flavour and texture of the focaccia.
- Active Yeast: Ensure your yeast is fresh and active. If it doesn’t froth up when mixed with warm water and a bit of sugar, it may be inactive.
- Proper Kneading: Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic. This helps develop the gluten structure, giving the focaccia its desired texture.
- Rising Time: Allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free place. It should double in size during the first rise, and puff up again during the second rise.
- Oiling the Tray: Be generous with the olive oil when preparing the baking tray. This not only prevents sticking but also contributes to the characteristic crispy bottom of the focaccia.
- Dimpling the Dough: Create dimples in the dough with your fingers. This not only gives the focaccia its distinctive appearance but also helps absorb the olive oil for enhanced flavour.
- Seasoning and Toppings: Don’t be afraid to experiment with seasonings and toppings. Rosemary, thyme, olives, cherry tomatoes, or even caramelised onions can add extra flavour and visual appeal.
- Salt Flakes for Extra Texture: Use coarse sea salt flakes on top of the focaccia for added texture and a burst of flavour.
- Baking Temperature: Preheat your oven thoroughly. The high temperature helps create a crispy crust while keeping the inside tender.
- Cooling Properly: Allow the focaccia to cool on a wire rack. This helps maintain its texture and prevents it from becoming soggy.
- Storage: Store leftover focaccia in an airtight container or wrapped in foil at room temperature for up to two days. If storing longer, consider freezing it.
- Experiment and Enjoy: Don’t hesitate to get creative with your focaccia! It’s a versatile bread that can be customised to suit your tastes.
By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to make a delicious and authentic Focaccia Bread that’s sure to impress!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I use instant yeast instead of dried yeast? Yes, you can substitute instant yeast for dried yeast. However, you may not need to activate it in water first.
2. How can I tell if the dough has risen enough? The dough should roughly double in size during the first rise and puff up again during the second rise. This generally takes about 1-1.5 hours for each rise.
3. Can I use a different type of oil for the focaccia? While olive oil is traditional and adds a distinct flavour, you can experiment with other mild-flavoured oils like sunflower or vegetable oil.
4. Can I add other toppings to the focaccia? Absolutely! You can customise your focaccia with a variety of toppings like fresh herbs, olives, cherry tomatoes, or even caramelised onions.
5. Can I make focaccia in advance and reheat it later? Focaccia is best enjoyed fresh, but you can reheat it in a preheated oven at a low temperature for a few minutes to refresh it.
6. Can I freeze leftover focaccia? Yes, you can freeze focaccia. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminium foil, and place it in an airtight container before freezing.
7. Can I use whole wheat flour for a healthier version? Yes, you can use whole wheat flour or a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. Keep in mind that the texture may be slightly denser.
8. Can I make focaccia without a stand mixer? Absolutely! You can knead the dough by hand. It may take a bit more effort, but it’s perfectly doable.
9. Can I add cheese to the focaccia dough? Yes, you can incorporate grated cheese into the dough for a cheesy variation.
10. Can I make focaccia with gluten-free flour? Yes, you can use a gluten-free flour blend. Keep in mind that the texture may be different from traditional focaccia.
Here are the approximate nutrition facts for a standard serving (100g) of Focaccia Bread:
- Calories: 249 kcal
- Total Fat: 11g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 7g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 500mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 33g
- Dietary Fibre: 1g
- Sugars: 0.5g
- Protein: 5g
Please note that these values are approximate and can vary based on specific recipes and portion sizes. For precise nutrition information, it’s recommended to refer to the specific ingredients and their nutritional content in your recipe or consult a registered dietitian.
- Classic Dipping Oil and Balsamic Vinegar: Serve slices of warm focaccia with a dish of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.
- Caprese Focaccia Sandwich: Slice the focaccia horizontally and use it as a base for a Caprese sandwich with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
- Mediterranean Platter: Cut focaccia into bite-sized pieces and serve it on a platter with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and hummus for a Mediterranean-inspired appetizer.
- Focaccia Pizza: Use focaccia as a pizza base and top it with your favourite sauce, cheese, and toppings before baking.
- Focaccia Bruschetta: Grill or toast slices of focaccia and top them with diced tomatoes, garlic, basil, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
- Focaccia Panini: Cut focaccia into sandwich-sized pieces and use it to make a panini with your preferred fillings.
- Focaccia with Soup or Salad: Serve warm slices of focaccia alongside a bowl of soup or as a side to a fresh salad.
- Antipasto Platter: Add focaccia to an antipasto platter with cured meats, cheeses, marinated vegetables, and a variety of dips.
- Focaccia Toast with Poached Egg: Toast slices of focaccia and top them with a perfectly poached egg, fresh herbs, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
- Focaccia Sliders: Use smaller squares of focaccia to make sliders with your choice of fillings, such as grilled vegetables, cheese, and a protein of your choice.