Fresh bread is one of the greatest things in the world. However, for the longest time I thought it was the most daunting thing in the kitchen. After all, aside from the time spent kneading and stretching, making bread involves becoming a kind of yeast farmer.
However, I found that once I knew how it worked, it wasn’t all that difficult after all. In fact, so long as you have the time to let your bread rise, making bread like this classic focaccia recipe is simple.
Plus, this recipe is just for a basic focaccia bread, so it is a blank slate. You can add garlic, rosemary, or whatever kind of spices you please before putting it in the oven to give it your unique twist.
Quick thing: I have included affiliate links to Amazon below – it won’t affect your price to click them, but I do get a kickback. I promise that my links are only to be helpful and offer products that would be useful with the recipe.
Also, what follows is a detailed step-by-step through making your own foccacia loaf. But, if you don’t want to go through it all, there’s a TL;DR version at the bottom of the article.
To make this classic focaccia, you only need seven things: a package of active dry yeast (or 2 and a quarter teaspoons, if you get your yeast by the jar), a cup and a quarter of warm water, a teaspoon of sugar, 3 and a quarter cups of flour (plus a little more for dusting), 2 teaspoons of salt, plenty of olive oil, and your favorite flaky salt.
The water should be pretty warm to the touch, but not painfully so. As for the olive oil, I used just plain olive oil (not extra virgin) because we will be baking at 400 F, which is either above or around the smoke point of extra virgin oil.
So, if we used extra virgin olive oil, you would potentially end up filling the house with greasy black smoke.
It only takes once to decide never to do that again.
Step By Step
So, like with all breads, we start with the yeast. Kind of.
First, put a teaspoon of sugar into a large bowl (or bowl of your stand mixer), then pour the water over the sugar. Finally, pour the yeast over the top. Let the yeast stand on the counter for ten minutes.
Here’s what it should look like after ten minutes. It would be nice and foamy, with a strong yeast smell.
Add 3 and a quarter cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix the dough up with either a stand mixer (using the dough hook) or a spoon.
Once that’s done, it’s kneading time. If you have a stand mixer, just let the dough hook run. If you don’t just dust the counter with some flour and knead it by hand.
Quick word about stand mixers. I use one in my kitchen, but it isn’t a necessity. I like it because it makes things like bread dough and other mixing tasks way easier. I would heartily recommend it. If you would like to look into one for yourself, just click on the picture of one here.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes. This dough will be very sticky, so if it sticks to the bottom of the bowl or the countertop, don’t panic, just keep going, and use a dough scraper to help get it up. If you don’t have one, you can just click on the image of one here to order one of your own.
Once you’re done, get out another large bowl, and pour in a good amount of olive oil, greasing the sides of the bowl. Put the dough in the oil, turning it over to cover.
Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap, and leave it on the counter for an hour to rise. Set the timer for 50 minutes, though. When it goes off, start preheating the oven to 400 F.
After the hour is up, the dough should have roughly doubled in size, and look like this.
Pour a good amount of oil onto a baking pan. Ideally, you would want a 9×13 pan, but the one I used is larger and worked just fine. Once again, you can click on the image to order one if you would like.
Turn out the dough onto the oil in the pan, then spread the dough out with your fingers, pushing it out toward the edges. You want it to be thin, but not so much as to tear the dough. It should be around half an inch thick.
Then, dimple the dough all over with your fingers.
Drizzle and brush the top with even more olive oil, making sure you get some all over. This is when you add your extra toppings like rosemary and garlic. Sprinkle the top with flaky salt, the put it in the oven.
Bake for around 25-35 minutes, until it is golden brown and puffy.
Classic Focaccia Bread
Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes; Bake Time: 25-35 minutes
- 1 package (2 and a quarter teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1 and a quarter cups warm water (warm to the touch, but not painful)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 and a quarter cups flour (plus more for dusting)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Plenty of olive oil
- Flaky salt
- Pour sugar (1 teaspoon) into a large bowl. Pour warm water (1 and a quarter cups) over the sugar to dissolve.
- Add active dry yeast (1 package or 2 and a quarter teaspoons) to water and let stand 10 minutes until foamy.
- Add flour (3 and a quarter cups), salt (2 teaspoons), and olive oil (2 tablespoons). Mix in with either a dough hook on a stand mixer or with a spoon. Creates a shaggy dough.
- Once combined, knead for 5 minutes (whether by hand on a floured countertop or with a stand mixer). Dough will be sticky and elastic.
- In a separate large bowl, pour in a good amount of olive oil, greasing the sides. Add the dough, turning to cover with the oil.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour (should roughly double in size). Set a timer for 50 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, begin preheating the oven to 400 F.
- Pour olive oil into a 9×13 or larger baking pan, then turn the dough out of the bowl into the pan.
- Spread the dough out with your fingers so that it is roughly rectangular and about a half-inch thick. In the 9×13 pan, push the dough out to the edges. Dimple the top of the bread all over with your fingers.
- Drizzle the top of the bread with more olive oil, and brush to make sure it is coated. Don’t worry if it pools in the dimples.
- Sprinkle the top of the dough with the flaky salt.
- Bake 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.