I’m not the world’s most prolific home bread-baker, but I do absolutely love to bake focaccia at home. It’s a very easy bread to make and it’s genuinely kind of fun to make it. Not only can you play around with the flavors (you can create any kind of focaccia you want, the possibilities are endless!), you get to dimple the dough before you bake it (a/k/a sanctioned playing with your food) and it bakes in 15 minutes. That’s the kinda bread bakin’ I’m interested in.
This recipe is one that I adapted from two very popular recipes I found online, linked here and here. After baking quite a few trays of this stuff (no complaints here), I found that the infused-oil method from the folks at Inspired Taste really does make a difference in the flavor of the bread, and I found that the level of sugar from the Gimme Some Oven recipe also helps to elevate the flavor of the dough. Taken together with a few other personal tweaks to ensure maximum flavor – a little more salt and the addition of chili flakes – this recipe really is pretty close to perfect. It produces focaccia that bakes up nice and high, light and fluffy on the inside, flaky on top, deeply dimpled and really flavorful.
The best part about this recipe is how easy it is given that it produces something so damn pretty and impressive-looking. It takes a little time, but most of that is spent waiting for the dough to rise, so it’s not a labor-intensive process at all. I love to eat this stuff straight out of the oven with some spaghetti or a bowl of hot soup, but it reheats really well and it’s fantastic cut in half for sandwiches. Here’s how to make it:
Easy Garlic & Herb Focaccia
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes optional, for heat
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt plus extra for sprinkling on top
For the Infused Oil
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary, black pepper and chili flakes. If you want to add any additional herbs to the oil, now is the time! Dried oregano would be great here, and so would any other resilient fresh herb or basically any dried herb. If you want to add additional seasoning or flavor aside from herbs, this is also that time. I've used za'atar, crushed mixed peppercorns and minced shallots, to name a few!
Cook the herbs and garlic until very fragrant, but not burnt, about 7 minutes.
For the Dough
Add the water, yeast and honey to a large bowl and stir it together. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes.
After five minutes, add half of the infused oil along with 1 cup of flour to the yeast and water mixture. Stir until the flour is not longer dry, and then allow this to sit for another five minutes.
After five minutes, add the remaining flour and the salt to the mixture. Stir until the dough has come together almost completely, and then turn the dough on to a floured work surface. Knead the dough until it has completely together and is smooth, about 25 times.
Form the dough into a ball and place it in a large oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for one hour, preferably in a warmer area of your house or kitchen.
Final Rest and Baking the Bread
Using half of the remaining infused oil, oil the bottom and sides of a 9×13 rimmed baking sheet.
Add the dough to the baking sheet and stretch it so that it covers the sheet.
Dimple the dough with your fingers, pressing all the way down to the bottom of the dough to get good, deep dimples.
Drizzle the remaining infused oil over the top of the dough as well as some more coarse salt, to taste, and then add any additional toppings that you like. My favorite focaccia toppings are olives, tomatoes, grapes and pine nuts. Have fun with it!
Let the dough rest, uncovered, for another 20 minutes in the tray.
While the dough rests for a final time, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, or 210 in a fan-assisted oven.
Bake the focaccia for 15-20 minutes, until it's golden and flaky on top. Note: I use a fan-assisted oven and my focaccia never takes longer than 15 minutes. If you're using a standard oven, it might take an extra few minutes.