Zesty Italian Focaccia Recipe
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Learn step by step how easy it is to make a zesty, spicy focaccia. Make this Italian focaccia recipe to replace garlic bread or dinner rolls!
What’s better than homemade bread? I’ll show you step by step how easy it is to make my Zesty Homemade Focaccia Bread. Thick, airy, flat Italian bread that’s your new garlic bread or roll substitute. This stuff is so good!
This is one of those nostalgic recipes because it reminds me of my grandmother. She was an Irish woman who cooked like an Italian in the kitchen. She would make focaccia for us often, or at least she said she made it.
She could have picked it up at a nearby Italian deli in San Francisco. The only thing I didn’t like of hers was the WAY overcooked vegetables. There was no life left in those poor things. Ha!
I remember staying at her place often and watching Roller Derby on her TV and eating Sara Lee chocolate cake. She would drink manhattans and I would always get to have the cherry after she finished her drink. Fun memories!
OK, but back to this Italian focaccia recipe! Perfect for snacking, as a appetizer, served with soups, salads and when split down the middle, is a great way to shake up your sandwich making skills, too.
It’s crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. A different appetizer to feed a crowd and a great substitute instead of the go-to garlic bread or dinner roll.
With only six ingredients to make the dough and 5 minutes of kneading time in a mixer, this Italian bread recipe is simple to make.
Italian focaccia recipe
To allow the kneaded bread to rise in a warm, draft-free space I usually turn my oven on to 200°F and then turn it off. Then I make the dough and use that warm space as my place to let it rise.
The other day I read a trick my friend Nagi uses.
Turn your EMPTY dryer on for 2-3 minutes to heat it up. When stopped and heated up, carefully place the covered bowl of dough in and close the door. DO NOT turn the dryer on again!
It worked like a charm. I was super happy it did not rise up and over and make a mess. Next time I’ll play it safe and place the bowl on a baking sheet first! See the photo I took with my iPhone below. That could have been a hot mess!
Focaccia is a fun recipe to make with the kids, too!
Once the dough has risen you get to punch it down and spread it out in a baking sheet with edges or a jelly roll pan. Using your hands begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan, spreading your fingers out and making finger holes all the way through the dough.
Let it rise once more and top with either just some coarse sea salt, or like I did here, and then bake.
Zesty spicy focaccia toppings
I decided to use some marinara I had on hand and spread that all over the dough. It reminded me of my grandmother. A handful of sliced olives, Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese and pine nuts make this a fantastic party snack.
Think of this as a lazy way to have some bread on the table without having to make individual yeast rolls.
Just spread that oily dough out in the pan and stretch it. Poke holes in it. It’s what makes those lovely nooks and crannies in the bread.
Focaccia bread is also perfect for sandwiches, too. I like to cut the bread horizontally in the middle and load it up with all the fixings.
This would also be great to dip into pesto alfredo or traditional homemade alfredo sauce. Enjoy!
Subscribe to my Newsletter, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for all my latest recipes and videos.
Zesty Italian Focaccia Recipe + Video
- 1 3/4 cups warm water
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (See Note 1)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp salt
- 3/4 cup olive oil divided
- Combine warm water, yeast (See Note 1) and the sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm, draft-free place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, for 15 minutes. (See Note 2) At this point I usually set the oven to 200°F for a few minutes to warm up and then turn it off before I start making the dough. This is where I’ll let the dough rise (OR See Note 3).
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the flour, kosher salt, 1/2 cup olive oil and the yeast mixture on low speed. Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft.
- Transfer the dough to a clean, floured surface and knead by hand 1 or 2 times. Sprinkle with flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.
- Lightly coat olive oil on the inside of the mixer bowl and add the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least 1 hour. (See Note 3)
- Coat a baking sheet with edges or a jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan with your hands, spreading your fingers out and make finger holes all the way through the dough.
- Put the dough in the warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
- At this point either sprinkle the top of the focaccia with some coarse sea salt and lightly drizzle a little oil on top or add toppings of choice (See Note 4). Bake the dough about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool before cutting into 24 squares and serving.
- One quarter ounce (7g) packet of active dry yeast contains approximately 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 teaspoons. The measurement will not be exact as yeast is packaged according to weight rather than volume. One quarter ounce (7g) packet of yeast is sufficient to raise 4 cups, approximately 1-pound, of flour.
- I place the bowl in my microwave and DO NOT turn it on.
- Turn your EMPTY dryer on for 2-3 minutes to heat it up. When stopped and heated up, carefully place the covered bowl of dough in and close the door. DO NOT turn the dryer on again! Tip from Nagi at Recipe Tin Eats.
- As shown in the video, I lightly brush marinara sauce on top, then add olives, parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Wow! So easy and twice as good! Hubby and I sat down and made this a meal and it was sooooi good! I’ve been looking for a good focaccia bread recipe for quite a while and so happy to find you. Thank you
I am so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for the message!
I loved this! just an additional comment about the dryer…when I lived in South Florida I just put my covered dish outside…moves to the mountains I had to figured out where to put it….the dryer was perfect been doing it this way for years now and only turned the dryer on by mistake ONCE. Great recipe Kevin
Sorry, but you made me laugh at the … and only turned the dryer on by mistake ONCE.” Oh my, that had to of been a mess. Thanks Robyn! 🙂
This kinda looks like some sort of salty cake or something, it looks delicious too! Looking forward to taste it! =)
I hope you enjoy it Diana, it’s so easy to make and fun, too! Cheers. 🙂
Genius clothes dryer tip, Kevin! And that I can spray water in there for added humidity without breaking the oven glass totally is a win in my book! You had me a fluffy… this looks absolutely scrumptious!
Thank you so much Traci. Good to see your smiling face here. I love homemade bread (especially a good sourdough) Cheers friend! 🙂
I have yet to get into bread making, but this recipe looks delicious. Hoping to give it a shot one day!
Do it kevin. For whatever reason bread making intimidates people. It’s so easy and fresh is SO GOOD.
Love it, I love focaccia, but never made it myself! Thanks for sharing! pinned
You bet, super easy, too Farida. 🙂
Hey Kevin! OMG this looks good! I’ve never made focaccia but you make it sound easy. And those toppings make it look like pizza. Did you toast the pine nuts? I could not find your video…?
It is so good Dorthy and great for sandwiches too. I see the video under the last photo and above the recipe itself. If it’s still not showing for you here is a link to my YouTube channel! Have a great weekend you guys! 🙂