This Quick and Easy Focaccia recipe will be a new household favorite! Topped with fragrant herbs and bright vegetables, this simple bread recipe is fluffy, light, and full of garlic flavor. A perfect appetizer for feeding a crowd at a party, no stand mixer required.
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Everyone in my age group seems to be baking bread these days (or at least testing the waters of it). While this could easily be written off as a social media-fueled trend, I think that is a dismissive viewpoint. Baking bread is one of the oldest traditions of humankind, and for good reason! Very few things are quite as fortifying as a hearty loaf. It’s truly a perfect accompaniment to so many meals. In times of little control, I find a lot of solace in the detailed, patient process.
Safe to say, focaccia is one of the easiest entrances into this technique. I have really been enjoying Zingerman’s resources on baking, and today’s recipe is based on something from their Bake Shop cookbook. If you are serious about baking bread on a regular basis, I encourage you to check our their offerings. This recipe is based on theirs.
What is Focaccia?
Focaccia (pronounced PHO-ka-cha) is an Italian flatbread baked in the oven that bears a resemblance to pizza dough. It is characteristically pocketed with imprints on the surface and crisped with a heavy amount of olive oil. You’ve likely had some form of it at an Italian restaurant, as it pairs very well as a side with many meals. It can also be used as a sandwich bread. It has a light, airy interior crumb and crispy, salt-speckled outer crust. My mouth is watering just typing this!
Fermentation of the dough is what helps us achieve those fluffy pockets. Toppings are very customizable, more on that below.
What is a poolish?
Pre-fermentation in a poolish as a mixture of flour, water, and a bit of instant yeast sit. This leavens our bread and provides a more complex flavor than just straight commercial yeast. Think of it as one step on the way to a sourdough starter. Letting the poolish sit overnight allows us to use less instant yeast in the recipe for a more chewy texture and crave-able flavor.
How To Make This Easy Focaccia
Note: you’ll want to start preparing this recipe the night before you plan to bake. Letting this mixture ferment overnight is crucial in developing a strong bread structure. It’s a fairly hands-off process! If you have an active sourdough starter, feel free to skip this step.
The next morning you’ll slice whatever toppings you plan to use and then prepare a final dough by combining the poolish with olive oil, yeast, flour, and salt. After hand kneading for a bit, you let the dough ferment for another hour before shaping into disks and proofing for a final time. All that’s left is to add your toppings, coast generously in olive oil, and bake.
I hope you enjoy this easy focaccia recipe! We have had a hard time keeping it in the house for more than a day or so (you’ll see what I mean). Be sure to let me know in the comments or on Instagram if you give it a go!
Looking for more Italian-inspired recipes? Try one of these next!
Quick and Easy Focaccia
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour 57.5 g
- 1/4 cup water, room temperature 57.5 g
- 1/16 tsp instant yeast (just a tiny pinch)
For rest of bread
- 1/2 cup water, room temperature 112.5 g
- 1/8 cup olive oil, plus more for topping 20 g
- 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour 212.5 g
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt 4.5 g
- Prepared toppings of choice: a mix of cherry tomatoes, sliced green onions, chives, herbs de Provence, garlic powder, minced parsley, caramelized onions, sliced red cabbage...anything!
The night before (poolish)
- In a medium bowl combine all poolish ingredients. Cover with a towel and let sit for 8 hours. If not using after 8 hours, refrigerate and use within 24 hours for best results.
Day of baking (for bread)
- Combine poolish in a large bowl with water, olive oil, yeast, and flour. Stir to combine until full incorporated. Mix until it barely forms a ball.
- On an unfloured surface (or just inside the bowl), knead with your hands for 8 minutes.
- Add kneaded dough to an oiled mixing bowl and cover with a towel once more. Let sit for 1 hour 15 minutes. It will double in size.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough from bowl and shape into a circle or disk on parchment, about 8 inches in diameter. Make sure no parts of the dough are too thin, you want to maintain a thicker base when possible. Cover with the towel one final time and let proof in a warm space for 50 minutes. While this is proofing, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
- Once your dough is proofed, add whatever toppings you're in the mood food. Feel free to use the photos here as an example or get creative with your own ideas! This part of the recipe is very flexible. Scatter toppings over focaccia and coat the entire thing in olive oil. This will help it get crispy. Bake for 15 minutes, let cool slightly, and enjoy! Bread is best stored in the freezer and reheated in a skillet when desired.
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