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Focaccia Bread

I've tried a lot of different focaccia bread recipes over the years, but this one is my favorite.  I found it years ago and I've made it so many times, I don't even need the recipe anymore. Don't let the length of the recipe discourage you. It's lengthy because it takes about 3.5 hours to make, not because it's hard. This recipe calls for three risings of the dough. It also begins with a "sponge", which gives the dough a boost.  If you are not experienced with making breads, remember that it's important the dough be placed in a warm area to rise.  My oven has a "Proof" setting, just for this use, which is really helpful.  Lots of new ovens have this setting now.

(Confused about yeast?  This post explains it all:  Yeast Explained.)


Focaccia Bread

Adapted from "Focaccia" by Carol Field

For a printable recipe, click here


 for the Sponge

  • 1 tsp. yeast (I use a rapid rise yeast)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

for the Dough

  • 1 tsp. rapid rise yeast
  • 1 cup water water
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Sponge, above
  • 3.25 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt 

for the Topping

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt 


To make the sponge:
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl (I use the mixer bowl of my KitchenAid mixer) and stir in the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

To make the dough:
Add the yeast, water and the olive oil to the sponge in the mixer bowl. With the dough hook running, add just under 3 cups of the flour and salt and mix thoroughly. The dough should come together in a ball in the mixer bowl and then start sticking to the sides of the bowl. When this happens, add flour by the spoonful and mix again. Each time if you see the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, keep adding flour until the dough isn't real sticky anymore. Stop the mixer and touch the dough with your finger. When it is smooth and elastic and not too sticky, it's done. Place the dough in a clean bowl that you have drizzled with a little olive oil. Roll the dough to coat in the olive oil, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1.25 hours.

Second Rise:
Punch dough down. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet and press out the dough on the sheet. Let the dough relax for a few minutes and finish stretching it until it reaches the edges. Cover with a towel and let rise again in a warm place for about 1 hour until the dough is doubled. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Just before baking, dimple the dough with your fingers, leaving indentations. Drizzle olive oil over the dough, brush lightly to coat, and sprinkle with salt.

Bake the bread til the crust is crisp and the top is golden, about 20 - 25 minutes. Slide the bread from the pan and slice.

Tip: You can actually make the dough, cover it and refrigerate it for use the next day.

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Reader Comments (19)

Your kitchen must have smelled fantastic! Thanks for the recipe!

June 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterProud Italian Cook

I'm so glad you had the link to Field's book. I just ordered a used one from Amazon. I recently made a pizza-like focaccia. It was very good, but I prefer the REAL thing.

August 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterARLENE

Hi Elaine! I was looking at this recipe and wanted to know how I would mix the dough if I didn't have a Kitchen Aid mixer?

October 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJosie Muecke

From The Italian Dish:

Josie: If you don't have a mixer with a dough hook, just do the sponge and the dough in a regular bowl with a wooden spoon at first and then turn out the dough onto a well floured counter and knead with your hands, instead of the dough hook. A little more work but you will have the same results.

October 23, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Elaine, I just made this focaccia and we are loving it!!!!!!! I soaked dried rosemary in the olive oil for about an hour before I did the final brushing and added transparently thin slices of red onion. My, My, My........this is dinner....this, a tossed salad and a glass of red wine!

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren from Cincinnati

From The Italian Dish

Karen: I'm so glad you like it! And your little addition sounds great. I'm going to have to try that one. Thanks, Karen.

November 16, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I tried this recipe today following it to a T and amazingly enough it came out exactly like in the photos above - the only difference is that I added about 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary in the mixing bowl along with the flour and about the same amount as a topping along with some garlic salt - it was amazing ! The focaccia bread was moist, crisp and very fresh tasting - this recipe is definitely a keeper - thank you Elaine.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMEL

HI Elaine, I love your foccacia bread recipe! I'm Lydia's sister, and you gave it to me at her house years' ago! I was thrilled when she told us about your site. My daughter and I love it! She's a big fan of all things Italian. I just got her a hand cranked pasta roller for Christmas, and now I need to get her the ravioli rolling pin. Keep up the good work on the site! Mary

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary Walsh

Has anyone tried making whole wheat foccacia, maybe with white whole wheat flour? Any tips or thoughts? Thanks.


March 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRenee Prendergast

From The Italian Dish:

Renee: I use white whole wheat flour from time to time and I like it better than regular whole wheat. You can make this with half white flour and half white whole wheat and it works fine.

March 4, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Dear Elaine,

I'm having problems with the sponge part of the bread. Halving the proportions isn't giving me the right sponge . Why does that happen? Instead of a battery sponge i get a solid ball of dough

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaya

Dear Elaine,

Another question is when a recipe calls for half a cup of water or 1/2 tsp of yeast is it ok if it goes a little more than the actual measure ? at least yeast wise? Thanks so much . your recipes are divine btw

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaya

From The Italian Dish:

Maya: Make sure your measurements are correct for the sponge - you should have a watery sponge. As for the yeast, is there a problem with measuring out a teaspoon? Why would you want to use more? If you did use a little more for some reason, it would be fine.

May 10, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Dear Elaine,

Thank you for your reply. What I meant about extra quantity is if it by some chance goes a little more than a tsp would it be a bad thing to the recipe and no I don't have any trouble measuring out a tsp at all. Yeah I got the sponge properly a second time.Thanks again for the reply.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaya

Dear Elaine,

Your recipe came out so great. Wow its one of the best breads ever. I added a little rosemary on top with the olive oil and its divine. Thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful recipes and your great pictures. Have a good day!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaya

great recipe! made it today and everyone loved it..will also use this as a staple to making different toppings on the focaccia bread! Love your site and recipes!

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAntonette

If you make it a day ahead, do you have to get it to room temp before you bake it, or just take it out of the frig and pop it in the oven?

March 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoberta

Hello Elaine,

For most of us who don't have a "proof" setting on their oven, here's a great way to proof dough: Put one rack at the lowest part of your oven, the second rack right above that. Put a 9"x13" baking pan on the lowest rack. Pour about 3 or 4 cups of hot water (hottest tap water is what I use) in the pan and put your cloth covered bowl with dough on the rack above it. Makes a great moist proofing box. This is how I proof all my dough and comes out perfect every time.

July 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I have been making focaccia (ciabatta breads too) for some years now and I can start at 9 AM and have either ready for lunch. The secret that I happened to find, was the type of yeast!! I use "saf-instant" yeast by Lesaffre (800-558-7279 if you cannot find it in your area). "Standard" bread yeast just will not make the rise near as fast as the saf-instant yeast does. You can check out my recipes for focaccia and/or ciabatta in the cooking page in the foundry web site (bottom of the front page. Also check out making pastrami out of corned beef on your stove top, limoncello, and a number of other items that might interest you. Have a GREAT Holiday Season...

December 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn D.

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