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The easiest, tastiest, herbiest focaccia recipe you've ever seen! It's a dense bread polka dotted with grape tomatoes and drizzled with a generous amount of herb infused olive oil drizzled on top. It bakes up crispy on the outside, but super soft on the inside. Use up all those beautiful, ripe garden tomatoes in this savory side dish that's perfect for beginner bread makers!
What is focaccia bread?
In short, focaccia is a dense bread with a generous amount of olive oil. It bakes flat on a pan which allows it to get super crispy on the outside, but stay super soft on the inside.
Focaccia can be plain with just olive oil but you'll often find it with herbs, veggies and even cheese added in. It's an extremely versatile and forgiving bread that is a great starting point for a novice bread baker!
Focaccia is also naturally vegan making it a great option for friends or family who are on a plant based diet.
How to make focaccia recipe:
Add yeast to a large bowl. Pour water over yeast and set aside for 5 minutes.
Add flour and oil.
Use a fork to stir it all together until a loose ball of dough forms.
Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough for 5 minutes.
Let rise for 1 hour in the warmest part of your kitchen. During this time it will double in size.
While the dough is working it's magic, combine olive oil with garlic and thyme in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The garlic and time should become fragrant, but it should not brown at all. Set aside.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil and herb mixture onto a half sheet pan and use your hands to grease the pan with oil.
Use your hands to work the dough into the bottom of the pan, creating an even layer of dough. Use your finger tips to gently press dimples into the surface of the dough.
Cover with saran wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise for another half hour.
Gently press grape tomatoes into the dough, placing them about an inch or so apart.
Drizzle remaining olive oil and herb mixture over the dough and spread it in an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top of the bread starts to get golden brown.
Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then slice and serve warm!
Why you're going to love this focaccia:
- It's just SO GOOD. I can't even describe it any better than that. Okay, I'll try... It's dense and doughy, yet crispy. It's loaded with herb infused olive oil flavor in every single bite. And then everyone once in a while you get this little burst of fresh, roasted tomato and it's just amazing.
- It's a great bread for beginners. I am not a bread baker by any means, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE to make this focaccia recipe. It isn't finicky like other breads. It requires just 5 minutes of kneading and most of the prep time for this bread is just letting the dough rise.
- It literally goes with everything, yet stands alone as well. It tastes yummy dipped in your favorite creamy tomato soup. It's the perfect accompaniment to your favorite pasta dish. It's a unique option for weekday sandwiches. It's also great to serve along side a loaded cheese board. Or you can just let shine on it's own as a stunning side dish!
Tips for making the best focaccia:
- Don't rush the process. It's bread and it needs to rise. This focaccia recipe will rest for a total of 1.5 hours. This time is crucial in making sure that you get a fluffy bread without big air bubbles. This also gives the gluten enough time to properly set up.
- All these recipes say "let bread rise in the warmest part of your kitchen". But how do you know where that is? My tip of the day is to let the bread rise in your oven! Just before kneading the bread I'll turn my oven on to the lowest temp for just a minute or so - just enough to get it ever so slightly warmed up. Then after I'm done kneading the dough, I'll let it rise in the oven. It's important to remember that you can't let the oven actually get hot or it will bake the bread and it will not rise properly. I then do the same for the second rise - letting it heat up for just a minute or so.
- You can totally make this bread ahead of time. After the first rise (which lasts for an hour) you can refrigerate the dough in an air tight container for up to a week. Then when you're ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes so it can come to room temp. Then follow the directions on the recipe card below starting with #4.
Other herb and tomato loaded favorites you'll love:
- Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Dip
- Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup
- 10 Minute Tomato Cream Sauce
- Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
- Smoked Gouda and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
This recipe was originally published in August of 2018. It was updated in June of 2019 to include process shots, step-by-step instructions and tips for making the best focaccia bread every single time!