If you’re looking for the best focaccia bread recipe ever, you’ve found it!
There’s only one problem - you’ll always want more!
We have made this recipe over and over again. Focaccia is one of the most well-known and most popular of Italian breads.
First baked by the health-conscious ancient Romans and called ‘panis focacius’, from where the modern name comes, there are many variations of this flatbread in different parts of Italy.
This version is the simplest and produces a wonderful soft, doughy yet light bread. It’s based on the recipe from our friends in Le Marche but with one important difference.
We use our bread machine to make the dough.
Because focaccia is often used as either a starter or a side dish. Allowing the machine to do the early mixing and proving gives us time to get on with preparing the rest of the meal.
If you want to do it all by hand, use the same ingredients, mix, knead and allow to rise - then follow the rest of this recipe.
* This is enough for four people if eaten with dips and other appetisers, although we can easily munch our way through one between the two of us in one sitting!
* If you use a breadmaker your quantities need to be exact and added to the machine’s pan in this order. In the winter, use lukewarm water as it helps the dough rise.
* Make sure the olive oil you use is the freshest, best quality you can get. It makes a huge difference to the taste and texture.
✱ 0.5 teaspoon dried yeast
✱ 300 grammes (11oz) type 00 or strong white bread flour
✱ 1 teaspoon salt
✱ 1 tablespoon fresh extra virgin olive oil
✱ 200 ml water
Our Focaccia with Gorgonzola - yum!.
✱ Put all the ingredients into your bread maker and use the ‘pizza dough’ mode. This will take about 45 minutes.
✱ When it’s finished, turn the dough onto a lightly floured board. At this stage you’ll find it quite sticky so make sure you keep the board and your hands well floured.
✱ Knead the dough by hand for a few minutes, adding in a little more flour if it starts to stick.
✱ Using the palm of your hand, flatten the dough into a rectangle about 10" long and 6" wide, making sure you keep the underside floured so it doesn’t stick to the work surface.
✱ Place the dough into a lightly greased and floured baking tray.
✱ Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt. Don’t overdo the salt at this stage - you can always add more when you come to eat it.
✱ If you want to add a topping, do it now. See the bottom of the page for some ideas.
✱ Set aside in a warm place to rise for at least half an hour. Leaving it longer will do no harm.
✱ Cook in a moderate oven at 180ºC (350ºF; gas mark 4) for 20 - 30 minutes. It’s ready when the crust is a golden colour and the inside is light and fluffy.
✱ Be careful not to overcook or the focaccia will be hard and crunchy.
✱ Italian people generally eat focaccia without toppings - maybe just a little more oil and salt. However, if you’d like to add some different flavours here are a few of the most usual.
✱ Parmesan cheese : grate over the dough just before you leave it to rise. Any hard cheese is good for this.
✱ Garlic and blue cheese : this is probably our favourite. Cut some chunks of any good blue cheese - we like Gorgonzola - and place them on top of the dough as you leave it to rise. Sprinkle over some finely chopped garlic. In cooking the cheese melts into the bread. Delicious!
✱ Rosemary : chop as finely as possible and add a small amount (no more than one teaspoon) into the dough just before you knead it so that the herb is actually contained within the bread itself. Then spirnkle a little over the top of the olive oil just before you leave it to rise. Again, don’t overdo it - Rosemary is a very strong tasting herb and too much will spoil the delicate flavour of the oil.
✱ Tomatoes : adding chopped sun-dried tomatoes into the dough before you knead it gives the Focaccia a lovely salty, tomato taste. Be careful how much salt you sprinkle on when using sun-dried tomatoes - they are already salt-tasting.
✱ Onion and olive : use about 100 grammes (4 oz) of pitted black olives. Cut them in half. Cut a small red onion into slices. Sprinkle the onions and olives together on top of the dough before it is set to rise.
Focaccia goes really well with a delicious bowl of Italian fish soup - this link will take you to our recipe.
This Focaccia bread recipe can be used as a base for pizza, but if you want to make your own authentic Italian taste try our easy pizza dough recipe.
If you like this, you'll love our other Italian bread recipes!
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