Focaccia bread with Italian herbs is so delicious and easy to make!
Unlike supermarket loaves, which are bland and floppy, it’s got a crisp crust on the outside while still being tender and scrumptious on the inside. It’s perfect dipped in a smooth, rich olive oil and sweet, tangy balsamic vinegar.
Okay, so you can’t slice it and make a sandwich with it, but focaccia is so good that you just don’t need all that extra stuff — no condiments, veggies, cheese, meat, what have you — just pure, bready bliss.
There are just a couple things you need to know before you bake your own bread.
First, make sure you’ve got a good oven that runs true-to-temperature and gets really hot. If you suspect your oven runs cool, add another 5 or 10 degrees (in Fahrenheit).
Second, know how to knead.
If you’re at all curious about bread science and kneading, definitely watch the video I’ve linked to. It’s my favourite kneading video (you know you’re a baker when you have a favourite kneading video, durr…) and it does a great job explaining how to do it and why it’s important.
One last great thing about this particular bread: it’s full of herbs!
Traditionally, Italian herb blends contain rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, sage, and marjoram, but there aren’t any rules about what dried herbs you should or shouldn’t use in this recipe, so just use what you like.
*adapted from Jenna Mawjee, via Cookshop
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 package (2 & 1/2 teaspoons) dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 4 tablespoons dried Italian herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano…)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for coating bowl
First, activate your dry yeast — use lukewarm water, make sure it is not too hot, or else you will kill your yeast! Temperature test with your fingers — if it feels a little warmer than room temperature, then it’s perfect.
Combine 1/2 cup warm water, sugar, and dry active yeast in a bowl. Stir until the sugar and yeast are dissolved, then let stand for 10 minutes, or until the yeast creates a puffy foam “head” on the top of the water.
If the yeast doesn’t foam, then it’s dead — either your yeast is old and needs replacing, or your water was too hot. Try again, okay?
Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl. Dig a little pit in the middle of the flour.
Pour the foamy yeast water and another 1/2 cup of warm water into the bowl of flour. Use your hands to mix everything together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and begin to knead.
Knead for at least 15 to 20 minutes, or until you can take two fingers and poke indents that don’t spring back in the dough.
Form the dough into a smooth ball and place in a bowl coated in olive oil. Turn the dough over to coat the entire surface, then cover the bowl a tea towel and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
When you come back, preheat the oven to 425°F (or 220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Turn the risen dough out onto a clean surface. Cut in half.
Knead 1 tablespoon of Italian herbs and 2 tablespoons of olive oil into each half of the dough.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle (or rectangle-ish) shape about a 1/2 inch thick. Use your fingers to randomly dent the top of the focaccia.
Brush the top of each rolled dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with another 1 tablespoon of Italian herbs and a pinch of salt.
Slide the two focaccia onto a prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 ~ 25 minutes, or until the focaccia is golden brown on top.
Oh, ye-ah. Make sure to deeply inhale that warm, comforting smell of baking bread while you can.
I took a hot focaccia over to my neighbours’ apartment and we ate it with sun-dried tomato pesto — it didn’t even last 10 minutes! Although olive oil and balsamic vinegar are my favourite accompaniment to focaccia, you can eat your’s any which way you want! Yum!