Italian Focaccia Recipe

Homemade focaccia is easy and so rewarding with this one bowl sheet pan recipe. With a slightly crispy crust and fluffy interior, this Italian Focaccia Recipe is for making a sandwich or serving alongside soup or salad.

close up of three stacked pieces of focaccia on black and white plates with wooden bread tongs

If making homemade bread feels a little out of your wheelhouse, toss around the idea of making homemade focaccia. This simple Italian focaccia recipe will fill your home with the smell of baking bread but —you’ll barely have broken a sweat.

↠And if you really love focaccia, be sure to give this focaccia barese recipe a try. It has potato in it (yup, just one!) and is SO moist and decadent!

Ingredients needed for Italian focaccia

Made in one bowl and one sheet pan, the only other things you need are:

  • a little time
  • basic baking ingredients like flour and salt
  • yeast
  • olive oil

How much olive oil?!

worn sheet pan with olive oil spilled on it and a stainless measuring cup

To make good focaccia bread, you have to accept that you are going to use what feels like a boatload of olive oil.

As my kids like to say, “it is what it is.”

Olive oil contributes to:

  • the flavor of the dough
  • the crispness of the crust
  • making the perfect foundation for the flaky salt to cling to on top

This isn’t a time to use your cheapest EVOO. Use the good stuff with some flavor. (Btw – this California olive oil is one of my top picks.

In addition to olive oil, there are few techniques and ingredients that contribute to a fluffy focaccia.

Simple focaccia bread techniques

stainless bowl of flour with a metal scoop on a black and white striped dish towel with bowls of oil, yeast and salt

Layering of Ingredients. As with any good homemade bread dough, order matters.

Actually the most important rule to remember is:


Keep the salt separated from the yeast

Salt slows the action of the yeast keeping it from fermenting.

King Arthur Baking Company on salt

Proofing. I mentioned that focaccia needs time and that comes in the rising or hanging out stage known as proofing. You’ll proof the focaccia dough TWICE —once in the bowl and once in the sheet pan. Proofing is when all the resting and relaxing leads to rising which contributes to an light, airy texture.

Sugar. To do its thing, yeast needs to be fed and it loooves sugar.

Kneading. Whether in your mixer with a dough hook or by hand, focaccia dough needs to be kneaded (and don’t we all?) to create the texture you crave.

Finally, there’s one more critical step for this Italian focaccia bread and that comes from Samin Nosrat, acclaimed author and host of Netflix’s blockbuster Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Nosrat went straight to Liguria, Italy, the capital and home of all things focaccia, to learn some unique techniques.

The key to great tasting focaccia bread

baked focaccia in a sheet pan resting on a black and white striped towel with gold vine accessory

Samin Nosrat’s focaccia recipe incorporates the Ligurian technique of brining the focaccia dough during the second proof. The brine flavors the dough with just the right amount of salt while adding the perfect amount of moisture to the finished focaccia.

Yep, you’re going to pour a mixture of water and salt all over your bread dough in the pan.

And you’re going to be out of your mind once you taste it.

Focaccia bread step by step

  • Start by stirring 105° water and yeast in a mixing bowl. Add some sugar and let it bubble for a couple of minutes.
  • Layer on the flour, olive oil and finally the salt. And then stir the whole thing together with a wooden spoon. The dough will be quite shaggy (1)
  • Knead together for about 5 minutes on a floured surface using about 1/4 cup of flour. Don’t over flour the dough (2)
  • Add the dough back to an oil wiped bowl (3) and let it rise for three hours until doubled in size (4). See the note in the recipe for a shorter rise time.

Focaccia Pro Tip

You can use your stand mixer. I’ve made it by hand or with a mixer and I will say I prefer doing it by hand. There’s something very soulful about mixing dough by hand and this dough is so easy to work with.

The second proof

closeup of a sheet pan of focaccia dough with dimples in it and a small stainless measuring cup

Pour about 1/2 cup of olive oil (yes – 1/2 cup!) into the bottom of a large sheet pan. Add your dough to the pan, gently stretching it to the edges. This might take a few minutes.

Add the famous focaccia dimples by using your fingers and pressing into the dough all the way through to the pan, creating holes in the dough. Do this all over the dough and don’t worry about seeing the pan!

The focaccia brine

Pour the salt brine over the dough filling the dimple holes with the salty blessing. And now place it back into a cold oven or warm spot and let it hang out for the second proof before baking until crispy and perfect.

Make ahead

Focaccia bread is best made the day of or the day before you plan to serve it. Follow the reheating and storing instructions in the recipe below.

sheet pan of baked focaccia with tomatoes in it and a bowl of salt and piece of focaccia on a black and white plate

Focaccia toppings

While the dough rises, contemplate what you want to put on top. Some super yummy focaccia bread toppings are:

  • cherry tomatoes
  • sun dried tomatoes
  • cured Italian olives
  • rosemary and garlic salt
  • figs, rosemary and prosciuitto
  • a mixture of cheeses

Focaccia pairings

Stracciatella Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Arugula Salad

Stovetop Veggie Sandwich

Tips

For a few. Divide the recipe in half and use for sandwiches, to accessorize your favorite soup or salad recipes and more. Or make a pan and wrap pieces in parchment, tie with some cute kitchen twine and share with a neighbor who might be staying home.

For a crew. One pan oughta do it. Cut in smaller squares to serve for a larger gathering.


Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


close up of salted focaccia in a wooden tray.
5 from 3 votes

Italian Focaccia Bread

An easy focaccia bread with a crispy crust and soft interior. Perfect for sandwiches or soup.
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:25 minutes
Proofing time:3 hours 45 minutes
Total Time:4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 16 large pieces

Ingredients
 

Topping Options

For the brine

Instructions

Proof #1

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the warm water and sprinkle over the yeast. Stir lightly. Add the sugar and let side until bubbly for about five minutes.
  • Layer the flour, olive oil and salt in that order. [see note below]
  • Mix by hand with a wooden spoon or by machine (with a paddle attachment) until all the flour is mixed together. The dough will come away from the sides of the bowl in the mixer.
  • Turn the dough out to a floured surface. The dough will be very wet which is fine. Knead it together for about 4-5 minutes until the dough is fairly smooth. Flour the dough as needed with the extra 1/4 cup of flour.
  • Pour the dough into a mixing bowl wiped with a little drizzle of olive oil turning over to coat the underside.
  • Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and place into an unheated oven or warm place to rise for up to 3 hours until doubled in size. [see note below]

Proof #2

  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of olive oil into a large sheet pan that measures approximately 12" x 17". Tilt the pan to evenly distribute the oil.
  • Mix the water and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
  • After the first proofing, pour the dough into the oil-lined pan and using your fingers spread out to the sides of the pan. This might take a little effort. If it keeps springing back, let it rest for a bit and get comfy. It'll eventually go where it's supposed to with your encouragement!
  • Angle your fingers like you're typing on keyboard into the dough making small holes through to the pan. Don't worry – this will create the classic focaccia dimples and as the bread proofs the second time.
  • Pour the salt water brine over the dough filling the holes. Let the dough sit for 45 minutes with the brine on it.
  • Bake in a preheated 425° oven for 25-30 minutes until crispy and fluffy.
  • Cool for a few minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with additional flaky salt if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Notes

Best made the same day or the day before and reheated
Salt + Yeast Note
The salt needs to be added last so that it doesn’t impede the yeast from doing its job.
Rising Time 
I have made this with great success in as little as 1 1/2 hours for the first proof. It isn’t as fluffy but is still really good!
Reheating Instructions:
Reheat in a 350° oven directly on a rack until crispy about 5-8 minutes. Or place in a toaster.
To Freeze
Slice and wrap in parchment paper (once cooled) and then plastic wrap. Place into a ziploc and freeze for up to three months.
Course: bread, Salad, Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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8 Comments

  1. Made it today and it’s even better than I expected. I did a two hour rise first because I didn’t have three hours. Otherwise followed the instructions. Added fresh chopped rosemary and sprinkled garlic salt. Got it ready to use with a charcuterie board. Amazing!5 stars

  2. Hi….I’m wondering if instead of all purpose flour, can I use 00 flour and would there be any changes to times or ingredient amounts.

    1. Hi Norma! Great question…King Arthur All Purpose flour is what I typically use and it’s protein content is a little higher (11.7%) than 00 flour but I think you’d be fine using the 00 flour in the same amounts because they both are “softer” flours. Please let me know how it works for you!

    1. Hi Jenn –

      Thank you for the suggestion – I appreciate it! I hope to add the capability to convert the Imperial measurements to metrics in the future.