Golden and crispy on the outside and springy on the inside, this focaccia bread is perfect for mopping up your favorite Italian sauces, soups, and more. Or, use your homemade focaccia to make sandwiches!
What Is Focaccia Bread?
Focaccia is a type of Italian flat bread that’s enriched with olive oil and leavened with yeast. It can be flavored with fresh herbs, flaky salt, sun-dried tomatoes, and so much more.
In this recipe for focaccia bread, I kept things simple by just topping it with flaky sea salt and fresh rosemary. The bread itself is incredibly flavorful thanks to the olive oil and bit of honey in the dough.
Although focaccia bread is easy to make at home, the dough requires some babysitting. In today’s post, I’ve outlined my preferred method for making focaccia in addition to all of my tips for baking success!
What You’ll Need for This Recipe
This recipe is incredibly straightforward and uses just eight basic ingredients! Here is what you will need:
- Water: Your water should be warm, but not hot. If it’s too hot, you’ll kill the yeast and the dough won’t rise.
- Honey: Just a couple spoonfuls of honey feeds the yeast and subtly sweetens the dough.
- Yeast: You’ll need to use one 0.25-ounce package of active dry yeast in this recipe.
- Flour: To keep things simple, you’ll be using all-purpose flour. Make sure to spoon and level your flour when measuring it, so you don’t end up measuring out too much by mistake.
- Salt: I used fine sea salt to flavor the dough and flaky sea salt for topping. If you only have fine sea salt or regular salt on hand, that’s perfectly fine!
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil enriches the dough. It’s also used to grease the pan and on top of the bread.
- Rosemary: I prefer fresh rosemary, but dried rosemary works just fine too! Feel free to omit it or use another herb instead.
The Stretch & Fold Method
Some focaccia recipes knead the dough and others use the stretch and fold method. I tested this recipe with both techniques and much preferred the version using the stretch and fold method!
In case you’ve never heard of this method, it’s typically used in higher hydration doughs that are stickier and not as easy to knead by hand. Just like kneading, the stretch and fold technique helps develop the gluten in the dough.
Although it takes longer, it’s much easier than kneading the dough for several minutes and perfect for beginners too! It’s typically done about four times, stretching and folding all four corners each time.
I’ll explain exactly how to stretch and fold your dough in the section below to ensure that your bread turns out perfect!
How to Make Focaccia
This focaccia dough is very easy to prepare, but this is definitely a more hands-on bread recipe. Here’s an overview of how to make it:
- Activate the yeast: Combine the warm water, honey, and yeast in a small mixing bowl. After 5 to 10 minutes, the mixture should be foamy. That means your yeast is working and your dough will rise! If it’s not foamy, discard the yeast mixture and start again.
- Prepare the dough: To the yeast mixture, add the flour and sea salt. Mix until the dough comes together, then mix 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil into the dough.
- Let the dough rise: Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and set it in a warm place for 30 minutes.
After the dough has risen for 30 minutes, it’s time to stretch and fold your dough. I recommend wetting your hands with cold water to prevent the dough from sticking to them.
Here’s exactly how to do it:
- First, stretch one corner of the dough up as far as it can go without tearing.
- Then, fold the stretched dough back onto itself.
- Repeat this process three more times, turning the bowl one quarter-turn each time, until all four corners have been stretched and folded
- After the first set of stretch and folds, cover the bowl with a towel and keep it in a warm place. You’ll need to repeat this stretch and fold process three more times over the course of one hour (every 20 minutes).
- Grease a 9×13 metal pan: After the last stretch and fold, it’s time to grease your pan! You will need 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Transfer the dough to the baking pan: Stretch the dough a little bit. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes, this will make it much easier to work with! After 10 t0 15 minutes, stretch the dough to fit the pan.
- Let the dough rise for 45 minutes: Cover it with a towel and let it rise in a warm place in the pan.
- Preheat the oven: About 15 to 20 minutes before the focaccia is ready, preheat your oven to 450°F.
- Bake the focaccia: Coat your fingers in a little oil and dimple the dough. Drizzle the dough with 2 more tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and fresh rosemary, then bake until lightly browned on top.
- Let cool in pan for 5 minutes: After about 5 minutes, the rosemary focaccia should be easy to remove from the pan to cool further on a wire cooling rack.
How Long to Bake Focaccia
A 9×13-inch pan of focaccia bread will need to bake for roughly 20 to 25 minutes at 450°F (230°C). You’ll know the bread is finished when the crust is lightly golden brown and crispy.
Different Ways To Use It
Serve this herb focaccia alongside your favorite Italian entrees, or enjoy it like you would regular sandwich bread. Here are some serving suggestions:
- Use to make sandwiches (my personal favorite!)
- Eat alongside tortellini salad
- Dunk into tomato soup or minestrone
- Add to a bread basket
- Turn leftover focaccia into croutons
- Enjoy a slice alongside a green salad
- It’s best to check your water temperature before adding the yeast. You want the temperature of your water to be between 110°F to 115°F (43°C to 46°C). If the water is too warm, it can kill the yeast and the dough won’t rise properly.
- Need a warm place to let your dough rise? Set a heating pad to the lowest setting, place a dish towel on the heating pad, then place your bowl on top.
- I highly recommend using a metal baking pan to create a crispier focaccia.
- I kept this recipe simple by using just fresh rosemary, but you’re welcome to use any mixture of fresh herbs that you like. You’ll need about 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs.
More Easy Bread Recipes You’ll Love!
- 1 ⅓ cups warm water (about 110°F to 115°F)
- 2 teaspoons honey (13 grams)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (0.25 ounce package; 7 grams)
- 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour spooned & leveled (405 grams)
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- Flakey or regular sea salt for topping
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped or dried rosemary
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm water and honey. Sprinkle the yeast on top, gently stir the mixture together, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes or until foamy.
- Once the yeast mixture is foamy, add the flour and sea salt. Mix until the dough comes together. Add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and mix the oil into the dough with your hands.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover with a towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Wet your hands with cold water so the dough doesn’t stick to you. Do the stretch and fold method, stretching one corner of the dough up as far as it will go without tearing, and folding it back over itself. Repeat this process three more times, turning the bowl one quarter-turn each time, until all four corners have been stretched and folded.
- Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for 1 more hour, stretching and folding the dough every 20 minutes (a total of 3 more times).
- Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. I recommend using a metal pan for a crispier focaccia.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and gently stretch it a little. Cover and let it relax for 10 minutes (this will make it easier to fully stretch), then stretch it to fit the pan. If needed, lightly grease your hands with olive oil to prevent the dough from sticking to you.
- Cover the dough and let it rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.
- Once the dough is almost ready, preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
- Dip your fingers in cold water or coat in a little oil and press them into the dough to create dimples.
- Drizzle the focaccia dough with the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with flaky sea salt and chopped rosemary.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread is fully cooked through and lightly browned on top.
- Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then slide a thin spatula under the bread, carefully remove it, transfer it to a wire rack.
- Cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into the focaccia.