Focaccia is such a delicious indulgence, with its golden, puffed and wonderfully savory flavor. Easy to prepare, my homemade focaccia recipe features the flavors of fresh rosemary and garlic, plus lots of flavorful olive oil and a sprinkle of asiago cheese dusted over top!
Focaccia, a Delectably Delicious Bread to Bake at Home
Fresh challenges are always fun and interesting to me, and preparing focaccia bread from scratch has become my recent foray into more “savory” baking, which I don't really venture into all too often.
I've enjoyed the process of experimenting with different flours to see which yields the best results for a light, pillowy, gently-puffed texture, as well as different flourishes to create some earthy depth and vibrant flavor.
My focaccia recipe is made deliciously aromatic with a sprinkle of fresh, chopped rosemary leaves within the dough as well as a fragrant garnish. And while still hot out of the oven, it's brushed with a finishing touch of mouthwatering, garlic-infused olive oil, plus a grating of asiago cheese.
Cut into thick, soft squares, this focaccia bread is an absolutely mouthwatering accompaniment to a homemade soup or stew, and a perfect soft vessel for a scrumptious gourmet sandwich made in your own kitchen.
Once completely cooled, it freezes beautifully, which means if there are leftover slices, they can be packed away for another time when fresh, cozy, homemade bread will come in handy.
My focaccia bread recipe is something that I enjoy baking up when I have a bit of extra time on a cozy afternoon, and crave the aroma of something savory, richly flavored and scrumptious baking away. It's a total comfort, and a true taste of love!
How to Make Focaccia
While there are really only a relatively small handful of ingredients that go into preparing a basic focaccia recipe, the type of ingredients and the quantities makes a difference when it comes to a light, pillowy texture.
Using all-purpose flour is just fine and yields a very nice result, but I found that using bread flour, with its higher protein content, resulted in a lighter, more tender and slightly more puffed focaccia bread.
Adding a fairly high amount of good-quality olive oil directly into my dough as well as over top of the dough before baking, plus more into the bottom of the pan which I bake the focaccia in, is important as well. After all, it is the olive oil that gives focaccia that classic, rich flavor and delicious mouthfeel.
I love lots of earthy flavor to make my homemade focaccia a little bit special, so I add some fresh rosemary to my focaccia dough as well as reserve some for a finishing flourish to sprinkle over top once the focaccia bread is out of the oven.
Here's a glance at my focaccia recipe with rosemary and garlic: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To begin, I prepare my focaccia dough by first blooming my yeast in warm water, then combining that liquid with my flour and other seasonings. I knead the dough for a few minutes, then allow it to rest and proof in a covered bowl until doubled in size (about 1 hour), in a warm spot in my kitchen.
- Once doubled, the dough is punched down and gently stretched and docked (poked deeply with fingertips to create those classic dimples in focaccia) to fit a well-oiled baking pan, then covered and allowed to double once more (about 1 hour).
- To bake my focaccia bread, I drizzle a bit of olive oil over top and sprinkle on some flakey salt, then the focaccia is baked at 425° for roughly 24 minutes, or until deeply golden and puffed.
- Once out of the oven and still hot, I brush the focaccia bread with garlic oil, sprinkle with some fresh chopped rosemary, and grate on a bit of asiago cheese, if desired.
Focaccia with Rosemary and Garlic
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 12
Nutrition Info: 318 calories per serving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 24 minutes
Total time: 44 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh rosemary leaves, divided use
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use, plus extra
- Flakey sea salt (Malden is terrific)
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1/4 cup grated asiago cheese (optional garnish)
- To bloom the yeast, add the warm water and the honey to a bowl, and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle over the yeast, and using a fork, gently mix it into the honey water to dissolve. Allow the yeast to bloom for 8-10 minutes, until foamy.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and 2 teaspoons of the chopped rosemary, and whisk to blend. Once the yeast is bloomed and foamy, pour this into the flour mixture, along with 1/2 cup of the olive oil, and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
- Transfer the shaggy dough onto a work surface and knead for 6 minutes, until smooth and elastic; next, drizzle a bit of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) into a clean, large bowl, and place the dough in, turning it in the oil to coat it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow to dough to double in size in a warm area of the kitchen for about 1 hour.
- While the dough rests and doubles, prepare a 9 by 13 by 2 inch rectangular pan (or you can use a large baking sheet/jellyroll pan instead) by pouring in the remaining olive oil (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) and spreading it all over the bottom of the pan with your fingers to coat it well. Set aside.
- After the dough has doubled, punch it down and put it into your prepared pan. Using your fingers, gently stretch the dough to fit the pan, stretching it all the way to the edges and covering the bottom. Use your fingers to press and dock the dough, poking holes into it going all the way through the dough to the bottom of the pan, as this creates that dimpled look that focaccia is known for.
- Loosely cover with plastic once again, and allow the dough to double in size once again, for about 1 hour.
- During the remaining 20 minutes of this second proof time, preheat your oven to 425°. Once the dough has doubled for its second time, brush the top with more olive oil, sprinkle with flake sea salt, and bake for about 22-24 minutes, until golden on top and baked through. (Feel free to cover loosely with foil towards the end of baking if the top is becoming too dark.)
- To finish the baked focaccia bread, combine the 2 cloves of pressed garlic with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, and brush this over top of the hot focaccia. Sprinkle over the remaining chopped rosemary, as well as some asiago cheese, if desired. Cut and serve.
Tips & Tidbits for my Focaccia with Rosemary and Garlic
- Bread flour, for terrific texture: While you could absolutely use all-purpose flour for this recipe and still have an excellent result, bread flour is my preferred flour for this recipe. Bread flour is higher in protein than all-purpose flour, and therefore develops more gluten strands when kneaded, resulting in a slightly more elastic and puffy texture.
- Don't skimp on the olive oil: A good amount of olive oil goes into both the dough itself, as well as over the focaccia before baking, and into the bottom of the baking pan. It adds richness, flavor and moisture to the focaccia bread. (If you have a more expensive, “fruity” olive oil, you can save that for finishing the focaccia bread once baked.)
- Different herbs: While I'm going with fresh, chopped rosemary here, I've also experimented with dried Italian herbs (or Italian seasoning) in this dough with delicious results—either work really well here.
- Deeper pan for thicker focaccia bread: To bake my focaccia, I like to use my 9 x 13 x 2 inch non-stick, metal baking pan. This forces the dough to rise creating a thicker, more pillowy result rather than thinner and wider. The other option is to use a standard baking sheet (17 x 12), and this will yield a thinner and wider focaccia since it will be spread into a larger area.
- Freezing focaccia bread: This focaccia bread freezes beautifully, and once defrosted, goes right back to its light, pillowy texture. You can wrap any leftover focaccia in plastic wrap and keep that in a large ziplock freezer bag; then, defrost on the counter top as needed. You can also bake a batch of focaccia when you have time, allow the whole loaf to completely cool, then wrap it in plastic as a whole loaf, or cut into sandwich-size squares, wrap in plastic, add to ziplock, and freeze.