This simple homemade olive and herb focaccia bread is soft and chewy with a delicious salty, flakey and crispy top making it the perfect side to dinner or appetiser on it’s own. This easy recipe is the perfect way to start making bread at home!
Ok so I’ll admit it, the entire world right now seems to be baking bread and full warning, I am not going to be an exception. I’ve already shared my homemade sandwich bread recipe last month, and today it’s time for something a bit more fun. Olive and herb focaccia!
Focaccia is a flat Italian baked bread that is usually topped with olive oil and herbs, and served as an appetiser, snack or on the table with dinner. It’s characterised by the dimpled top that is herby and salty and a little crisp from all the olive oil. It is one of my all time favorite types of bread and I am so excited to be able to share how to enjoy this at home.
I think it’s important to mention that while many people are using their kitchen more and more as we stay in self-isolation and lockdowns across the globe, it’s important to understand that not everyone has the time and/or energy to bake things like homemade bread and some people are really struggling with putting together meals to feed their family at this time.
This post isn’t about making you feel bad if you don’t have the energy to bake bread during this pandemic, especially when the entire internet seems to be picking up the hobby, but rather it’s about giving you the motivation and encouragement to give it a try if it is something you want to do.
That’s exactly what this is for me. Focaccia is something that I have wanted to make forever and I just hadn’t because <insert every silly excuse>. Personally I don’t have that much extra time in my week due to the pandemic as my work is continuing at full capacity which I am very grateful for. But what I do have is the mindset to use this time to try some things I have wanted to do before as I use the collective motivation of others to fire me up.
This focaccia was such a fun thing to make one Sunday as most of the time is hands off, but the hands on time is quite literally that. Shaping and kneading the dough with your hands is very tactile and becomes very satisfying. Particularly when the rewards at the end taste so damn good.
How to make focaccia bread?
Making focaccia is not unlike pizza dough. You have 6 simple ingredients for the bread, and then it’s up to you and what you have available when it comes to the toppings.
- Warm water – to active the yeast and sugar to make the dough rise, as well as combine everything together
- Yeast – to make the dough rise and give it that ‘bready’ taste
- Sugar – I use honey here for flavour, but regular sugar will work fine
- Flour – bread flour produces a chewier texture due to the higher protein content, however plain flour will do if that is all you have on hand
- Salt – your bread will taste pretty bland without it!
- Olive oil – for richness and flavour
First start by making the dough. I absolutely love my stand mixer for this as it makes little work of mixing everything up, and even does most of the kneading for me. If you don’t have one, never fear, you can still have homemade bread, you are just going to have to work those arm muscles!
Let the dough rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Punch down the dough to release the air and roll out the dough into a rectangle roughly the size of your tray. Set the dough in the tray (making sure it has been lined with baking paper to prevent sticking) and press dimples into the dough using your finger.
Let the dough rise again in the pan for 30 minutes.
Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and add your toppings. I use flakey sea salt, dried oregano, basil and parsley and sliced black olives.
Bake the bread in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden.
The bread is best sliced and served straight away while it’s still warm and the smell has filled your home. Otherwise it keeps for about 2-3 days. As the bread gets a little older, the texture will become slightly crumbly due to the lack of preservatives so it really is best eaten the day it’s made or frozen for up to a month.
I love this versatile focaccia bread recipe, especially because it makes a smaller amount than many other recipes I have seen meaning there is less possibility of wasting, and smaller quantities of precious ingredients (aka flour) needed.
Also this amount of yeast needed is roughly half a standard packet. Make sure to seal the remaining packet and it will keep just fine. You can use the rest to make another focaccia or try homemade pizza dough.
Whatever you are doing with your time indoors, I hope you are safe and well. And if you love spending time with carbs like I do, then give this recipe a try. You will not be disappointed when you pull out your tray of incredible homemade focaccia bread.
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
Olive and Herb Focaccia
- 1 cup water warmed
- 1 teaspoon dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 ½ cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for greasing
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon flakey sea salt
- 2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, parsley
- handful of sliced black olives
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add warm water, yeast and honey and mix to combine. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for 10 minutes until foamy.
- Add in flour, olive oil and salt, and slowly start to mix with a dough hook attachment. As the flour begins to incorporate, increase the speed to medium. Once the dough is completely combined, continue to beat in your mixer if it can handle it to knead it, otherwise turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for about 2 minutes or until smooth.
- Lightly grease the bowl of the mixer with olive oil and add the ball of dough back into the bowl, turning to ensure the dough is completely covered with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp, clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, punch it down to release the air and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead for about a minute.
- Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch (20cm x 30cm) tray with baking paper. Roll out the dough roughly into a rectangle slightly smaller than your pan. Place the dough into the tray and press down indentations with your fingers. Cover again and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Once risen, the dough should touch the edges of the pan. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with flakey sea salt and mixed dried herbs. Press the sliced olives into the dough. Place the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top. Slice and serve while still warm.
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