If you set a resolution to bake your own bread this year, no-fuss focaccia should be your first foray. This rosemary focaccia bread recipe is perfect for novice bakers since it doesn’t require any fancy shaping yet always comes out of the oven looking so effortlessly artisanal. In only 15 minutes of active cooking time, you can fill your kitchen with rosemary’s evergreen aroma and the warmth of fresh-baked bread that makes people want to gather around the table.
Focaccia al rosmarino is an Italian classic — so classic, in fact, that archaeologists pulled stacks of fossilized focaccia bread out of the ruined bakeries of Pompeii. Early versions were cooked right on the hearth (the flat bread’s name actually comes from focus, the Latin word for hearth), but you’ll get delicious home-cooked results with nothing more than a sheet pan in the oven. For smaller loaves, you can also try dividing the dough and baking your focaccia in a well-oiled cast iron skillet or dutch oven.
With only five staple ingredients that we know you already have (yeast, water, flour, salt, and olive oil), you can recreate those welcoming slices served as antipasto at your favorite Italian restaurant. A combo of all-purpose and whole wheat flours give this bread a touch of hearty texture and nutty flavor, and a generous drizzle of olive oil (high-quality extra virgin olive oil will give you the best flavor) lends a richness that makes butter totally unnecessary. Don’t have a stand mixer? You can use a food processor with a dough attachment, or roll up your sleeves to knead it by hand — and make Italian grandmothers the world over proud.
If you thought that focaccia’s unique dimpled surface was the result of some sophisticated culinary technique, you’ll be delighted by the most fun part of this recipe: using your fingers to poke indentations into the surface of the dough. Kids will love to help out with this step, which is technically called “docking” and gives the focaccia an even rise with that bubbly inside. Finally, don’t skimp on the olive oil; it not only locks moisture into the dough for pillowy softness, but it also pools into those little wells to bake up into a deliciously crispy crust.
Aromatic sprigs of fresh rosemary and a sprinkle of flaky salt are the ultimate focaccia garnish, but don’t be afraid to customize yours with Mediterranean flavors. Pile on roasted garlic, ripe yellow and red cherry tomato halves, fresh basil, caramelized red onions, or a flavorful Italian cheese like parmesan or taleggio–and guess what? Now you’re in focaccia pizza territory. Focaccia is also the ideal bread for making melty panini sandwiches filled with ingredients like mozzarella, pancetta, or grilled eggplant. But you simply can’t go wrong with hot-out-of-the-oven slices of rosemary focaccia bread dipped in a little more EVOO and balsamic vinegar.
Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Makes 2 – 9”x13” loaves.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 3 Hours
- 1 pkg. (2¼ tsp.) dry active yeast
- 1 ¾ cup warm water
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary
- flaky sea salt
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and 2 Tbs. olive oil. Stir to dissolve. Allow mixture to sit a few minutes and to foam up before proceeding.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook, mix together both the flours and the salt. Add the yeast mixture and mix on medium-speed for 5-8 minutes, or until the dough has become smooth and elastic. (Dough can be mixed by hand in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth. Knead by hand on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.)
- Pour 2 Tsp. olive oil in a large bowl. Place dough into the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a towel, place in a warm place and allow to double in size, about 2 hours.
- Rub 1 Tsp. olive oil over the bottom and sides of a sheet pan. Punch the dough down and place on the prepared pan, stretch out the dough with your fingers to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover with a towel, place in a warm place and allow to rise 30-40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450℉ / 230℃. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
- Remove towel from the dough and sprinkle with the chopped rosemary.
- Poke the dough down to make indentations all over the puffed focaccia dough. Drizzle 4 Tsp. olive oil over the dough and sprinkle generously with the sea salt.
- Place dough in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 375℉ / 190℃. Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove bread from sheet pan and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm.
Recipe adapted slightly from The Kitchn.
Tell us all about your favorite focaccia toppings! What Italian dishes do you like to serve alongside hot slices of focaccia?