This recipe for focaccia bread is everything I want in a recipe for focaccia bread. It’s thick and soft and slightly springy. I love how thick it is because I will often slice it in half for sandwiches. The soft, springy inside of the bread is perfect for soaking up an herby dipping oil, dunking in soup or holding up to sandwich fixings. The other thing I love about this recipe is that it doesn’t take several hours to rest like many focaccia recipes. There are two rises, one initial rise and one after patting the dough into the pan.
You’ll notice my bread has a golden tint to it. I’ve been using organic white all-purpose Kamut flour for the past year and I love not only how it tastes, but how versatile it is in baking (I use it for everything that calls for all-purpose flour). Kamut resembles wheat, except it’s a slightly larger grain with a golden color when ground and a buttery mild taste. You can purchase the flour here, but know that the recipe also works the same with standard all-purpose flour.
How I serve it for now (and later)
The focaccia bread is baked in a half sheet (standard size) pan and so I will usually cut the pan of bread into squares and serve with a meal and the rest I freeze for sandwiches or for when I want a warm hunk of bread to go with a bowl of soup or a salad at lunch.
If you want to make the focaccia bread to the point where the dough is in the pan and ready to bake, but want warm fresh focaccia bread later, you can refrigerate the dough after the first rise. Just pat your dough into the pan and place in the fridge. Then when you’re ready to bake, set out on the counter to rise (about 30-40 minutes). I do a lot of dinner prep in the middle of the day or morning so that I don’t have the evening dinner rush and so I’ll often make the bread and keep it in the fridge until later in the day when I’m ready to bake it.
My everyday focaccia pictured is topped with a simple topping of olive oil, grated parmesan cheese and a little course salt. You can also top with a little fresh rosemary for a rosemary focaccia. To make a garlic herb oil simply combine olive oil, fresh chopped herbs, salt, pepper and a couple cloves of minced garlic on the stove and steep over low heat while the bread rises, and then brush on the bread before baking. It’s also delicious!
Thick and Soft Focaccia Bread
- 2-2/3 cup warm water
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 2-1/4 teaspoons active-dry yeast
- 5 cups all-purpose flour (may use up to 7 cups)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
- olive oil, for drizzling on top
- course salt, for sprinkling on top
- Add 5 cups of flour, the olive oil, and the salt. Turn the mixer onto medium-low speed and mix the dough for 5 minutes. The dough should be sticky, but have body to it. If the dough is overly sticky, add more flour.
- Grease a mixing bowl with olive oil or cooking spray and then place the dough into the bowl. Gently form into a ball and cover the bowl with a towel. Let it rise for 45-60 minutes, or until the dough has just about doubled.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a baking sheet, or brush it with olive oil. Turn the dough out onto the baking sheet and gently press and stretch the dough until it fills up the pan. (At this point, you may place the prepared bread dough in the fridge. Once removed from the fridge, continue with the steps that follow). Cover the dough with a towel, and let the dough rise for another 20 minutes (increase the time to 45-60 minutes if pulling from the fridge).
- Use your fingers to poke dents all over the surface of the dough. Then drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan and sea salt.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until the dough is begins to turn golden. To serve, cut into squares. For sandwiches, cut into squares and slice through the middle of each square horizontally. The bread freezes well.