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 this 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 Amazingly Easy Zesty Focaccia Bread! 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 is some pretty easy bread to make.
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 over at RecipeTin Eats 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!
This Homemade Focaccia Bread 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.
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 made this a fantastic snack for friends at a recent gathering.
Think of this as a lazy way to have some bread on the table without having to make individual rolls. Like sheet pan, bar cookies, no individual scooping here.
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 this Homemade Focaccia Bread.
This is also perfect for making sandwiches, too. I like to cut the bread horizontally in the middle and load it up with all the fixings.
Zesty Homemade Focaccia Bread
- 1 3/4 cups warm water
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (See Note 1)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 5 cups 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 over @RecipeTin Eats.
- As shown in the video, I lightly brushed marinara sauce on top, added olives, parmesan cheese and pine nuts.