Like bread, but better. Focaccia is a yeasted flatbread that’s often topped with salt, olive oil and occasionally herbs or spices. As an early prototype of modern pizza, the basic focaccia recipe is thought to have Etruscan or Ancient Greek origins. Learn how to make homemade focaccia using 4 simple ingredients: flour, water, yeast and olive oil. Of paramount importance is the rising procedure and using quality ingredients.

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Flour

Go for good quality “00” grade flour. Don’t skimp on cheap flour. A trick is looking on the label for the “strength” of the flour, that is, the amount of protein in it. Some labels list a letter W followed by a number. The higher the number, the stronger the flour will be, and more resistant to leavening.

Water

How much water you add to your dough greatly depends on how the flour manages to absorb humidity. For 500 grams of flour, you should ideally add between 250 and 300 ml. For proper leavening, the water temperature should never be cold! Ideally it should be between 30° and 40° C.

Brewer’s, or baker’s yeast

Fresh yeast should be kept in the fridge and lasts up to 4 weeks. Fresh yeast has no artificial additives. To properly work, brewer’s yeast must be very fresh: appearing dry, crumbly and fragrant, not gummy, stained or sticky. If you prefer working with lievito madre, natural starter, go ahead and use that instead of brewer’s yeast.

Diastatic malt powder

Diastatic malt powder is the secret ingredient bread bakers use to promote a strong rise, great texture, and obtain the coveted typical brown crust. This ingredient is especially useful when flour is not added with barley malt, like most whole-wheat flour and many organic flours.

Extra virgin olive oil

It lends the focaccia intense aromatic notes, incredible texture and good nutritional value. Preferably cold pressed!

Salt

When in contact with yeast, salt will kill the leavening action, this is why when kneading dough, salt is always added later.

Now that you’ve sourced the best possible ingredients, here’s how to make homemade focaccia in 12 easy steps. Start by measuring out:

  • 500 g (4 cups) “00” grade flour + more for the work surface
  • 20 g (0,7 oz.) fresh yeast
  • 30 g (1 fl oz.) extra virgin olive oil, preferably cold-pressed
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz.) water at room temperature
  • Salt
  • 5 g (½ tsp.) diastatic malt powder

Work on an unpolished wood or marble work surface. You’ll need two large bowls, a pastry brush, cling film and a standard 10×15” oven pan.

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Tip flour and crumbled yeast into a large bowl

Add malt powder and olive oil.

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Pour in the water. Remember, it should not be cold.

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Mix the ingredients with your fingers and knead until well bound together. Add a pinch of salt and finish kneading into a heavy, satiny ball.

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, pour a thread more olive oil, just enough to grease the surface.

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Cover the bowl with plastic cling film and let the dough rise for 1,5 hours, preferably in a warm spot (I place mine above the refrigerator).

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Upend the dough on a floured work surface and deflate. You can do this by poking a few holes in the dough with your fingertips.

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Stretch and flatten the dough enough to fit a 10×15 cm oven pan. Do this with your fingers, not a rolling pin.

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Blanket the dough in the greased oven pan.

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Brush the surface with more olive oil. Let it rest and rise in the pan for another 30 minutes.

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Poke lightly with your fingers, but don’t go all the way through to the bottom of the pan. Bake at 190° C (375° F) for 12-15 minutes.

How to make homemade focaccia · italyfoodandwinetours.com

Immediately after pulling the pan from the oven, drizzle more olive oil and sprinkle coarse sea salt on the baked focaccia. Let it cool and then dig in!

If you enjoyed this post, stay tuned for more focaccia recipes and toppings. Thank you and buon appetito!