Focaccia Bread

One of my favorite store-bought (or, I suppose, bakery-bought) splurges is focaccia bread. The crusty outside, chewy interior, and all of the flavors from herbs and garlic. When there’s a loaf in the house I’m guilty of cutting off a piece (just a little piece!), and then another piece, and then another, and then of course I have to even the row and eat another one. I just can’t stop myself; focaccia might the worst of my savory vices. Next to pizza, of course ;-)  Who can stop at just one piece?! So needless to say, it was high-time that I made focaccia myself and kick the store-bought loaves to the curb.

I have had this page doggie-eared in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice since I bought the book nearly 5 years ago. I have no idea what took me so darn long to make this bread, but I could kick myself for not making it 5 years sooner. There is a lot of inactive time when making this bread – stretching, folding, and resting, then more stretching, folding and resting. Then there is an overnight rise in the refrigerator. Then a 3-hour rise the day you are baking the bread. A lot of waiting. But oh is it worth the wait. The smell of this bread baking was simply intoxicating. Bread dough, herbs, garlic… amazing.

Making the bread itself is not very complicated at all. A short mix of ingredients to form the dough, then kneading, and then as I mentioned above, some stretching and folding, but it takes just a few minutes each time. It’s totally doable and a very forgiving recipe. You’ll feel like an Italian artisan bread maker when this comes out of the oven!

You’ll notice that my focaccia looks a little high compared to the usual loaves that you see. The reason for that is the largest pan I have that can fit into my oven is a 10×15-inch, which is a bit smaller than the 12×17-inch pan that the recipes calls for. Since the dough couldn’t spread out horizontally anymore, it naturally went up. Which turned out to be wonderful, actually. The interior crumb was light and spongy, soft and delicious. And a bonus – you can slice the bread in half horizontally and use it to make a sandwich! I can only imagine what an insanely delicious panini this could make with a pesto spread, Asiago cheese and some type of Italian lunchmeat.

It took me until the middle of January, but now I’m rolling on another one of my resolutions for 2012 – more homemade bread! Mixing the dough, the smell of yeast, the soft dough in my hands, watching it rise and bubble, and then that priceless smell. Homemade bread in the oven – it can transform a kitchen. I’m happy to be back on the wagon and plan to make bread baking a weekly practice in the kitchen, so stay tuned for more fun recipes!

One year ago: Maple-Bacon Kettle Popcorn

Focaccia Bread

Yield: One 12x17-inch loaf

Prep Time: 1 hour (active), 11 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 12 hours

Ingredients:

For the Bread:
5 cups high-gluten or bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water, at room temperature
½ cup Herb Oil
Extra olive oil for the pan

For the Herb Oil:
2 cups olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh herbs (any combination of basil, parsley, oregano, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, savory, and sage) - OR - 1/3 cup dried herbs or a blend such as herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon coarse (kosher) salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated garlic or 5 to 6 fresh cloves, minced

Directions:

1. To Make the Herb Oil: Warm 2 cups of olive oil to about 100 degrees F. Add 1 cup of chopped fresh herbs or 1/3 cup dried herbs. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic. Stir together and allow to steep while you prepare the dough. You can keep any leftover herb oil in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (it makes a fabulous dipping oil!).

2. Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and water and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until all the ingredients form a wet, sticky ball. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. You may need to add additional flour to firm up the dough enough to clear the sides of the bowl, but the dough should still be quite soft and sticky.

3. Sprinkle enough flour on the counter to make a bed about 6 inches square. Using a scraper or spatula dippedi n water, transfer the sticky dough to the bed of flour and dust liberally with flour, patting the dough into a rectangle. Wait 5 minutes for the dough to relax.

4. Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size. Fold it, letter style, over itself to return it to a rectangular shape. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil, again dust with flour, and loosely cover with plastic wrap.

5. Let rest for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough again; mist with spray oil, dust with flour, and cover. After 30 minutes, repeat this one more time.

6. Allow the covered dough to ferment on the counter for 1 hour. It should swell but not necessarily double in size.

7. Line a 17 by 12-inch sheet pan with baking parchment and drizzle ¼ olive oil over the paper, and spread it with y our hands or a brush to cover the surface. Lightly oil your hands and, using a plastic or metal pastry scraper, lift the dough off teh counter and transfer it to the sheet pan, maintaining the rectangular shape as much as possible.

8. Spoon half of the herb oil over the dough. Use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it to fill the pan simultaneously. Do not use the flat of your hands - only the fingertips - to avoid tearing or ripping the dough. Try to keep the thickness as uniform as possible across the surface. Dimpling allows you to degas only part of the dough while preserving gas in the non-dimpled sections. If the dough becomes too springy, let it rest for about 15 minutes and then continue dimpling. Don't worry if you are unable to fill the pan 100 perfect, especially the corners. As the dough relaxes and proofs, it will spread out naturally. Use more herb oil as needed to ensure that the entire surface is coated with oil.

9. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough overnight (or for up to 3 days).

10.Remove the pan from the refrigerator 3 hours before baking. Drizzle additional herb oil over the surface and dimple it in. This should allow you to fill the pan completely with the dough to a thickness of about ½-inch. Cover the pan with plastic and proof the dough at room temperature for 3 hours, or until the dough doubles in size, rising to a thickness of nearly 1 inch.

11. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

12. Place the pan in the oven. Lower the oven setting to 450 degrees F and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking the focaccia for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it begins to turn a light golden brown. The internal temperature of the dough should register above 200 degrees F (measured in the center).

13. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately transfer the focaccia out of the pan onto a cooling rack.

14. Allow the focaccia to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing or serving.

(Recipe adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice)

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66 Responses to “Focaccia Bread”

  1. Mary @ Bake Break on January 18, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Looks delicious! Focaccia is one of the breads I’ve yet to make… but I love it too, so I might as well try soon!

    Reply

  2. Tracey on January 18, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Focaccia is SO good! I can’t be trusted around it :) I resolved to make more homemade bread in 2012 as well, it really is the best thing.

    Reply

  3. Kathryn on January 18, 2012 at 4:09 am

    I’ve tried to make focaccia a couple of times recently and my attempts have been disasters! This looks like a fairly foolproof recipe though so I will have to give it a try!

    Reply

  4. Blog is the New Black on January 18, 2012 at 5:27 am

    Love love love foaccia! Haven’t made it since last spring… sigh!

    Reply

  5. linda on January 18, 2012 at 5:57 am

    looks really good!

    Reply

  6. Kiri W. on January 18, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Looks amazing! Focaccia has always bean of my favorites, especially with olives :)

    Reply

  7. LeAnna on January 18, 2012 at 6:34 am

    It looks wonderful! Focaccia is one of my favorite breads to make. I frequently add asiago or parmesan cheese as I am mixing it up, then I put more cheese on it before I bake it. As for the pan, I bake it in round cake pans the way Panera does it, so my focaccia is taller than the recipe says, but it’s still yummy. My husband and I like it during the summer with tomato-mozzarella salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Thank you for reminding me how good focaccia can be. :)

    Reply

  8. julieA on January 18, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Really good recipe! The more you make bread, the more you will realize the wonderfulness of it, for all of the reasons you mentioned. One of my favorite things to do!

    Reply

  9. Katrina on January 18, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Yum! I love this bread. It’s so great dipped in pesto :)

    Reply

  10. Lori on January 18, 2012 at 7:14 am

    This is on my list to make too. Thanks for posting….I might make this over the weekend for my husband’s birthday.

    Reply

  11. leslie on January 18, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Delish. There is nothing better than focaccia with lots and lots of rosemary!!! yum

    Reply

  12. Melissa on January 18, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Ooh, totally on board with a thicker foccacia. This looks amazing. Love all the herbs. Mmmmm.

    Reply

  13. Sandra on January 18, 2012 at 8:59 am

    I love this and a paninni made from it would be off the hook!

    Reply

  14. Life of a Modern Housewife on January 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I think I could eat the whole thing in one sitting…it looks absolutely delicious. Excited to give this a try!

    Reply

  15. Abby on January 18, 2012 at 9:31 am

    OMG. Yum! Can I have a sandwich too?

    Reply

  16. Morgan {Confections from the Cody Kitchen} on January 18, 2012 at 9:35 am

    MMM yum! I love focaccia. I always have it in restaurants, but have never made any on my own…..first time for everything :)

    Reply

  17. Missy (cooking for two) on January 18, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I love foccaccia but have never made it! This looks gorgeous, nice photos as well! What a treat!

    Reply

  18. Megan on January 18, 2012 at 9:46 am

    This looks amazing!! Just one question… the recipe appears to require a stand mixer, which is unfortunately still on my wish list. Is it possible to make this with a hand mixer/rubber spatulas/etc., and still produce the same final product? I want to try this so badly, but I don’t want to end up with a disaster!! Thanks in advance for anyone’s advice :)

    Reply

    • Adrianne on January 22nd, 2012 at 7:43 am

      I made this yesterday/today and I didnt use my mixer. Once all the ingredients were combined I stirred it with a wooden spoon til it was clearing the bowl. Then I kneaded it with floured hands and a bit of flour on my counter. I tried not to add too much flour to the counter and just kept it on my hands. Mine is cooling at the moment.

      It tastes delicious (cause of course we snuck a taste cause it unfornately broke coming out of the pan, dimples too deep maybe lol) but I think mine came out a little too oily on the bottom. But thats mostly bakers error on my part. Regardless it is a fabulous recipe and I will def. be making it again

      Reply

  19. Mal @ The Chic Geek on January 18, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I love focaccia! I’ve never tried making it myself, but I may have to change that, this recipe looks fantastic

    Reply

  20. Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes on January 18, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I have always wanted to try making this! You make it look so easy :)

    Reply

  21. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on January 18, 2012 at 10:26 am

    This looks amazing, but whow, what a lot of work! I bet it tastes wonderful!! I need to make some bread!

    Reply

  22. Maria on January 18, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I bought the Bread Baker’s Apprentice two years ago and have used it quite heavily. It’s such a great book with a ton of recipes for artisanal breads. There’s a lot of waiting in most of the recipes, but as you’ve said, it’s well worth the wait. The focaccia is one of my family’s favorites along with the Semolina Bread and the Ciabatta.

    Reply

  23. Lacy on January 18, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Wow pretty labor-intensive recipe but the focaccia looks well worth it! I loooove focaccia. I’m terrible at resisting, especially when theres a bread section leading to the check out at an amazing local market & the bakers bring out fresh focaccia, I’m a sucker! I’m going to have to set some time aside to try this!

    Reply

  24. Christine J on January 18, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I LOVE Focaccia, but I haven’t made it since last year. That needs to change!

    Reply

  25. Amber, RD on January 18, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I have approximately 1000 recipes I have bookmarked that I want to try. Funny how they slip through the cracks! Maybe my New Year’s resolution should be to make 1 new recipe every week. Or stop bookmarking recipes! I will never keep up!
    This bread looks awesome. There is nothing like homemade bread! I, like you, would love to make more of my own homemade bread. But I also think I would never stop eating it!

    Reply

  26. Jess Wakasugi {Life's Simple Measures} on January 18, 2012 at 11:32 am

    This looks absolutely wonderful and you made it sound so easy! I pinned this recipe, it’s now on my to-make list :)

    Reply

  27. Barbara | Creative Culinary on January 18, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I’ve been making focaccia bread for years although if my youngest daughter was around I had to hide it; that girl could literally eat a whole tray of it!

    I use my bread machine which makes it even easier; it manages the mixing and rising and then I remove the dough and prepare and bake it on a tray. I’m not one to get any soul satisfying moment out of stretching and kneading; I”m more inclined to have carpel tunnel flare up so my method allows this to be on our table often.

    It is quite literally our most favorite bread; wish I had some now!

    Reply

  28. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on January 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    This looks stunning! I love focaccia bread, it has to be one of my favorites!!

    Reply

  29. Maria on January 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    My dad makes focaccia all of the time. I love it! I need to try it in my own kitchen.

    Reply

  30. Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt on January 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    I love bread, any kind especially Focaccia, but never thought about making my own, thanks for the recipe

    Reply

  31. Nicole on January 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    This looks so good!

    Reply

  32. Rachel on January 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I have this same cookbook and just made this same focaccia recipe last week. I can totally agree that this bread is phenomenal! I too could hardly keep my hands off of it, especially when it came out warm from the oven. Later this week I’m planning to make it again but with pizza toppings for dinner. Can hardly wait for that meal! :)

    Reply

  33. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on January 18, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Focaccia bread is one of my favorites… and, this version looks as good as any I’ve seen. I definitely need to give it a try! It looks wonderful.

    Reply

  34. Tara @ Cookie Talk on January 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I just posted my go-to focaccia recipe a couple weeks ago. It’s from Ciril Hitz and makes an incredibly light and airy focaccia. It too takes awhile but so worth it. My fave! I topped mine with caramelized onions…then made grilled cheese out of it. YUM! In the summer I do a similar herb oil. The possibilities are simply endless with this bread! I think focaccia is a great bread for those new to bread baking. Even though it does take a lot of waiting, there is no shaping, which is where I find a lot of people struggle. It’s pretty hard to screw up too! Hmm….now I want to make more :)

    Reply

  35. Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen on January 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I’m dying to dip this in some great marinara sauce! Do you think it would work to replace half the flour with whole wheat to make a healthier loaf? Or would it get weird?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 18th, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      Hi Lindsay, I would err on the side of not using the whole wheat flour. Peter Reinhart does a great job in his books of including any and all variations, substitutions, etc. but there are none for this recipe. I do know that there are a few bread books out there that focus on baking with whole grains, and they quite possibly would have recipes that include whole wheat flour – check out Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours.

      Reply

      • Another Michelle on November 17th, 2012 at 12:22 am

        Peter Reinhart also has a whole grain breads book, “Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor”, and there’s a whole wheat focaccia recipe in there.

        Reply

  36. Krissy @ Krissy's Creations on January 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I LOVE Focaccia bread. It’s one of my favorites & is so versatile. Your version looks so fluffy and delicious!

    Reply

  37. Beth Bilous on January 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    OMG, Now I know why I like you so much. I bought my Bread Bakers Apprentice five years ago too, and have not made one thing from it, though I have wanted to multiple times. I am so going to make this my first attempt. I adore pizza, and hope they have it in heaven. I could live on the stuff, only a good one will do.

    Reply

  38. Mrs. Jen B on January 18, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I just love focaccia! It looks so delicious, too. Homemade stuff is so much better than store-bought, in every way.

    Reply

  39. Jen at The Three Little Piglets on January 18, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    There is NOTHING quite like homemade focaccia! All warm and a little bit oily! Now you’ll never want to buy a loaf again…

    Reply

  40. Living The Sweet Life on January 18, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Focaccia is one of my favourite breads to make. Yours looks so thick and delicious, ready to soak up a great pasta sauce :) yumm.

    Reply

  41. Todd on January 18, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    This looks yummy! I might give this a try this weekend.

    Reply

  42. Melanie @ Mailbox Journey on January 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Oh, that looks delicious!
    * first time reader

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 19th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      Hi Melanie, Thank you and welcome to the site!

      Reply

  43. Katie on January 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    My husband got me The Bread Baker’s Apprentice for Christmas! I have not made anything from it yet because I just can’t decide where to start; I think I have discovered my starting point! :) Did you need to adjust the baking time because you used a smaller pan?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 19th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      Hi Katie, I took it out a couple of minutes early, so not too much. I think it could have gone the whole way, it would have just been a bit more golden.

      Reply

  44. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel on January 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I had somehow forgotten about the focaccia I recently made, now I want to make more. Curses! Teasing of course ;)

    Reply

  45. Lavender Dreams on January 19, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    This is one of my favorite breads to bake! It’s easy and taste amazing! ♥

    Reply

  46. Melissa @ Kids in the Sink on January 19, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    The first bread I ever tried my hand at was focaccia and it turned out so well! I can’t wait to give this one a try too. It’s also in my new year’s resolution to start making more bread. I got a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for Christmas with the intention of using it for lots of yeast things!

    Reply

  47. Javelin Warrior on January 20, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Love this! And I’ve been inspired to feature your focaccia in my Friday Food Fetish roundup and on Pinterest. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next and please let me know if you have any objections…

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 20th, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      No objections at all; thank you for including me!

      Reply

  48. Barbara on January 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I need to know if I can use herb de province with sea salt (William Sonoma) in place of the herbs and salt in the recipe and would I still need to use the same amount?

    Reply

    • Michelle on January 20th, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Barbara, I would probably just omit the salt in the recipe and you should be fine. Enjoy!

      Reply

  49. RisaG on January 31, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    I love making bread. I love focaccia and haven’t made it in ages. Your focaccia is beautiful. I will make it soon. Haven’t made any bread this year – not yet. Love the inspiration!

    Reply

  50. Deena Montillo on February 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Love it and the pictures make this focaccia look so appealing. I had to share this with our Facebook fans. Thank you and keep up the nice work!

    Reply

  51. Rachelle on July 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Hi!

    Loved your post on Focaccia bread! I’ve been searching for a recipe and have no experience making this type of bread. There are so many recipes with different proportions and style of making it. Do you find that the waiting and kneading is what makes it the consistency you desire? I was looking on food network and it doesn’t seem that Emeril waits! hah! Just looking for pointers, can’t wait to try it!

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 28th, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      Hi Rachelle, I haven’t yet made a bread recipe with yeast that doesn’t require at least one rise. You definitely need it to achieve the best texture. Sometimes the best things require a little wait :)

      Reply

  52. kate cuda on November 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I can’t seem to find the recipe to print on your website. I want to email the link to a friend. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 6th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Hi Kate, So sorry about that glitch, it’s there now!

      Reply

  53. Misha on June 21, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Made this and it turned out AMAZING thank you!

    Reply

  54. Liz on August 30, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    How long will the focaccia be good for before I have to put it in the fridge?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 31st, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      Hi Liz, Usually 2-3 days (max) is about as long as you can get out of fresh bread before it starts to get stale.

      Reply

  55. Helen on September 3, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I have finally risen to the occassion and made this Foccacia. Having avoided recipes which even contained the word Yeast for 50 yrs, I have finally decided to meet it head on. What a success this was. I am thrilled with the results and will carry on and try a few other recipes.

    Reply

  56. Asma on February 11, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Just made this, it turned out beautifully, and the family loved it! I added the herb oil into the dough as well, to amp up the flavour. Thanks for the detailed instructions! I’ll be making this again and again :D

    Reply

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