This Kalamata Foccacia Bread is moist and chewy, it has beautiful irregular hole structure inside, a nice crunchy golden brown top and bottom and a wonderful garlic infused oil and a nice decent salty taste from Kalamata olives. It cannot get any better than this, this recipe hits all the quality of a good Foccacia Bread.
What is Foccacia Bread?
Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread product almost like a pizza dough in texture. Focaccia can be used as a side to many meals like for soup or salad, as sandwich bread or to serve just on its own with vinaigrette for dipping.
Can I Make Foccacia Without a Yeast?
Yes, but that would be more like a flatbread than a Foccacia Bread. Yeast is responsible for making the bread fluffy, without the yeast the bread will not rise.
Liquid in Making Foccacia Bread
Foccacia Bread unlike other bread (like dinner rolls or loaf bread) use more liquid, that is olive oil and water. This is of those few cases in bread making that you should not worry if your dough ended up to be slightly more wet and sticky that the regular dough you make. When making foccacia bread, a wet dough is better than a dry dough. Dry dough produces dense and very bread, which it not Foccacia is all about. Since the amount of liquid depends on many things like how dry the flour you are using, the humidity in your area, the precision of the amount of oil and water could sometimes vary, and not always 100% exact. Adjust as needed. Aim for a dough that is soft, wet and it sticks to your hands when you try to tough it.
Making Foccacia Bread Variation
You can make the Foccacia Bread plain, with the amount of salt and oil it will already have a strong flavor even without the additional toppings. But if you like to make it a little bit more than the usual, you can add olives, garlic, mushroom, sun-dried tomato, jalapeno, cheese, fresh herbs, dried fruits for a sweet and salty version
Serving Foccacia Bread
You can serve this bread several ways. You can serve it with soups and salads, as appetizer with some Hummus or vinaigrette dipping sauce, you can use this as sandwich bread, or for making panini.
Tips in Making Foccacia Bread:
- Check Expiry Date of Yeast: It is very important that your yeast is not expired, otherwise the dough will not rise properly and you will end up with a flat dense bread. There is no compromise here, if your yeast failed to activate and foam up, do not continue.
- Use Warm Water to Activate the Yeast: I use a baking thermometer to be sure that the water is 110F. Too hot and it will kill the yeast, too cold and it will not activate even if your yeast is not expired. If you do not have a thermometer, feel the water with your finger, you should feel it warm and not feel uncomfortable having your finger dipped at least 30 seconds.
- Use Bread Flour: Bread flour produces a chewy bread texture because of its high protein content, as compared to regular all-purpose flour. Although all-purpose flour will work the texture will not be the same. Foccacia made with all-purpose flour have a tender soft crumb, more than chewy.
- Aim for a Wet, Sticky Dough: A dense and dry dough produces heavy and dense Foccacia Bread, so do not be afraid to add a little bit more (1 tablespoon) if you notice that your dough is dry. If your dough is slightly more sticky than what you see in the video, that should still be ok as long as it doesn’t drip like a liquid batter. Amount of liquid in any bread making is not always 100% precise as it affects factors like texture of your flour, humidity in your area, etc.
- Do not use big pan for small recipe like this: The bigger the pan, the thinner the bread will be. Also bigger pan tends to make us push the dough more to spread it thus knocking the air inside the dough.
- Be Patient: Both rest period of the dough is very important. Make sure that the dough has double or more than double its size and nicely puff-up before you bake it. Mine takes 30 – 45 minutes, if you need more time then add few more minutes until it is puff-up.
- Let the dough do its second rise in the pan it will be baked in – This is to avoid transferring it and deflating the bread. The less you touch and move it after the second rise, the better for the bread. This will give you the pockets and holes inside the bread.
- Oil and salt the bottom of the pan: This adds more flavor as the bread absorbs the infused oil, plus it helps produce a crunchy bread.
- Bake it Hot Oven: Bake in minimum 375F or go higher even at 400F (adjust the baking time), hot oven will produce a nice crunchy bread crust and the heat will push the bread to rise producing a fluffy thick bread.
Expect a Wet Sticky Dough
Just a heads-up, Focaccia dough is quite wet and sticky compared to regular dinner rolls or sandwich bread. Do not be alarmed as this wet sticky dough is what will help produce a light airy bread. Do not attempt to add more flour to get it to a non-sticky consistency.
- 3/4 cup warm Water (110F)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon White Sugar
- 1 1/4 cup Bread Flour
- 3/4 teaspoon fine Salt
- pinch of Coarse Salt (for sprinkling at the bottom of the pan)
Oil & Garlic Mixture:
- 3 tablespoon extra-virgin Olive Oil (divided: 2 tablespoon for the flour mixture and 1 tablespoon for brushing the top)
- 1 Clove Garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon fine Salt
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon dried Rosemary
- Prepare the Infused Herb Olive Oil: In a medium skillet, combine olive oil, teaspoon salt, minced garlic, Italian seasoning and Rosemary. Place the pan in low medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes or until aromatic, but before the garlic browns. Set aside.
- Activate the Yeast: In a large bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir a few times then let sit for 10 minutes.
- Infused Oil + Flour: In a bowl, add bread flour and salt. Pour 2 tablespoon of the infused olive oil. Mix until it comes together. The dough will be sticky, that is ok.
- Rest Period: Spray the bowl with oil, cover with a warm, damp towel and let rise for 1 hour. (It’s best to let the dough rise in a warmer area of your kitchen).
- To help the dough rise well, pre-heat the oven to 110F then once it reached 110F, turn OFF the oven. DO NOT forget to turn off the oven, you only want the oven to warm up for the dough to rise, you do not want to dough to be baked. Some oven has a proofing setting, mine doesn’t, so this is my trick.
- Transfer in Pan: Brush pan with infused olive oil and sprinkle coarse salt. Transfer dough into a baking sheet or pan, no need to knead the dough. Push the dough around to cover the pan. Drizzle remaining infused olive oil on top. Cover and let rest for another 30 – 45 minutes while pre-heating the oven to 357F.
- Baking Pan: Rectangle 7.5 x 10 (or something close to this size)
- Baking Pan: Cast Iron Pan 6-inch
- Topping: Brush top with remaining infused olive oil (if any). Make a “dimple” all over the dough, use your fingers and poke hols on top. Add any topping of your choice, the likes of Kalamata Olive, sun-dried tomato, fresh chopped Rosemary, grated cheese.
- Bake in a pre-heated 375F for 30-35 minutes or until top turns brown and the bread lift off easily from the pan.
Serves 2 – 3
How to Store Focaccia Bread
Homemade bread usually are best the day they are made. Since they do not have any preservatives, the quality will start to deteriorate as the days go by. However, leftover sometimes cannot be avoided so in this case, wrap it up in a bread bag or sealed zip-top bag. The high olive oil content in the dough delay the bread going stale as quickly as other types of bread. I like to wrap leftover focaccia bread in foil then have it stored in ziplock bag, then keep it in the freezer for future serving. When ready to serve, simply re-heat it in the oven at 300F for 10 – 15 minutes or until warm.
Creative Ways to Use Leftover Focaccia Bread
- Make them into croutons. I have a video recipe HERE on how to Make Croutons, watch it now.
- Make it into a bread crumbs. Bake or toast the focaccia until dry then process it until fine in texture. If the focaccia has vegetables or other toppings on it, the toppings may not be good for the breadcrumbs. Use plain focaccia bread to make homemade bread crumbs
- Make it into a savory pudding. Simply break the focaccia into small pieces and pour a mixture or milk, egg, cheese and seasonings. Bake until top is golden brown.
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