Pizza Dough Focaccia Bread

What is Focaccia?

Focaccia is one of many Italian traditions! It’s a flatbread made with a generous amount of olive oil, and has a long history.

From Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking:

“Before there was an oven, there was bread. It was baked in the hearth, where the dough was flattened over a stone slab and covered with hot ashes. From this hearth bread—panis focacius (focus is Latin for hearth)—comes today’s soft, leavened focaccia.”

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How to Serve Focaccia

Focaccia is best eaten warm, and straight out of the oven.

Serve focaccia with any meal, instead of your regular bread. It’s great with salads, stews, soups and curries! You can also slice your focaccia in half and fill it like a sandwich.

  Look at those air pockets!
Look at those air pockets!

Prepare the dough for your focaccia bread

Laura Sampson/Mashed Laura Sampson/Mashed

Place one cup of flour, the yeast, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, then add the warm water and quarter cup of the olive oil and run the mixer for one minute, making sure everything has mixed together. 

Now, add the rest of the focaccia bread flour to the bowl and run your mixer for another minute until the dough comes together. Knead the dough for about minutes until it’s nice and soft.

Differences In Preparation

Probably the main thing which sets these two breads apart is the preparation of the dough. This is what we are doing to the dough before it is baked, which obviously has a big impact on the outcome.

Bread is usually given two rises after it is mixed. The first rise lets the yeast develop some flavor, and gives off gas which makes the dough rise. The dough is “punched down” to remove the large bubbles, and we let the dough rise one more time before baking e.g. in a loaf tin. This is called the “proofing” stage.

A focaccia has this second rise in a baking tin, or skillet. Usually it is spread into a wide container, so the dough only rises up a few inches, rather than a tall loaf. Dimples are made in the dough so that it rises evenly, and pockets of olive oil can gather in the holes. It is then baked which makes it rise another few inches.

Pizza dough has a first rise, it is punched down,

Pizza dough has a first rise, it is punched down, then shaped into individual dough balls. These balls are given a second rise, but then they are flattened out with the hands or rolling pin into a pizza base. The crucial part now, is that the base is topped with tomato and cheese and then baked straight away. There is no time for a second rise, so the base stays very thin. The crust has no weight of the toppings, so we see an inch or two of rise around the rim. This gives us the main difference in shape and texture of the two baked foods.

My best tip for making pizza in a home oven is using a pizza “steel”. This adds intense heat from below as a brick oven would – I have this steel from Amazon which is significantly lower priced than the original brand, but works perfectly. Steel is more conductive than stone so transfers more heat, they don’t shatter, and are easier to clean. If it’s out of your price range then the 2nd best option is a pizza stone made from cordierite.

To see a round-up of the most important pizza equipment check out my essential pizza equipment list.

Can the dough be made with a Stand up Mixer?

Yes the dough can be made using a stand up mixer with the dough hook attachment,. Knead the dough on medium speed until smooth and elastic (approximately 6-7 minutes). Then move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and knead a couple of times to form into a ball.

About Crust Kingdom

Welcome to CK. I’m Tom and this is my website devoted to pizza and bread. I’ve been perfecting the best recipes and techniques over the years. Here you will find all my tips for creating great pizza at home. Enjoy!

Homemade focaccia ingredients

  • Pizza dough – The secret to making this recipe extra quick is to either make your own pizza dough ahead of time (or always keep a batch in the freezer) or buy it from a store. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil – Use a high quality oil for the best results. It must be EVOO as it has a light flavor and complements the salt, vegetables, and herbs on top.
  • Salt – Flaky or coarse sea salt is best.

Tomato Focaccia

Pictured above is a cross between pissaladière and tomato focaccia. I love the addition of tomatoes to pissaladière because it adds a freshness and brightness, a hit of acidity to offset the sweet caramelized onions and salty anchovies, olives, and capers.

You can use any summer tomatoes you have on hand — diced cherry tomatoes, Roma, plum, sliced beefsteak tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, etc. If you choose to dice up Roma or plum tomatoes, there is no need to seed them, but leave any juices lingering on the cutting board behind.

Top the unbaked focaccia with a thin layer of tomatoes; then bake as directed.

How do Italians eat Focaccia Bread?

Focaccia Bread is perfect for making a simple sandwich. Italians love to slice the focaccia through the centre. Open it up and fill it with some amazing Italian prosciutto, mortadella or salami and a slice of cheese preferably something strong like a goat cheese. So good!

Not only that, but why not make a couple and cut them up and fill a basket to be served along with a cheese or cold cut  platter for get togethers or just because? Everyone needs a little Italian.

Four Tips for Success

  1. Allowing the dough to rest 18 to 24 hours in the fridge yields the best results. (You can leave the dough in the fridge for as long as 72 hours.)
  2. A buttered or parchment-lined pan in addition to the olive oil will prevent sticking. When I use Pyrex or other glass, pans butter plus oil is essential to prevent sticking. When I use my 9×13-inch USA Pan, I can get away with using olive oil alone.
  3. Count on 2 to 4 hours for the second rise. This will depend on the temperature of your kitchen and the time of year.
  4. After the second rise, dimple the dough, then immediately stick the pans in the oven — this has been a critical difference for me in terms of keeping those desirable crevices. If you dimple and let the dough rise again even for 20 minutes before popping the pan in the oven, the crevices begin to dissolve.

Pizza Dough Focaccia Bread

3.7 from 17 votes

Prep Time: 5 minsCook Time: 25 minsResting Time: 1 hr

Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins

Servings: 8 servingsAuthor: Lena Gladstone Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate this Recipe

Transfer focaccia bread dough, press out air and poke, then let rise again

Laura Sampson/Mashed Laura Sampson/Mashed

When the focaccia bread dough is done rising, uncover it and gently press down with your fingertips to deflate it, squeezing out air. Now, place the dough in the prepared baking tray and pat it out to fill the pan.

Now it’s time poke your focaccia dough all over with your fingers, making those dimples emblematic of this type of bread. Next, cover the pan with plastic and let it rise again for another 15 or 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to make Focaccia Bread

Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Inactive Time 11 hours Total Time: 11 hours 56 minutes

This homemade recipe for EASY No Knead Focaccia Bread is surprisingly simple but makes rich, flavorful, and soft bread with ultra crispy edges that you’re going to love!

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