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Authentic Italian Focaccia

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Our authentic Italian focaccia bread recipe comes straight from an Italian friend when we lived in Europe. That is why it is quite possibly the best focaccia bread you’ll ever taste. Light and airy with a savory topping, this focaccia is perfect on its own, as a base for pizza, or to hold your favorite sandwich toppings.

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Genovese Focaccia Recipe
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What is Italian Focaccia

Italian focaccia bread is a type of leavened flat bread similar in texture and flavor to pizza dough. You even top it with different spices and flavors, which gives the focaccia even more flavor. 

The texture is a lot lighter and softer compared to other breads like Ciabatta, Italian bread, French baguette. There are several types of Italian focaccia, each with its own unique flavor and texture. During our time in Italy we were simply impressed by the different types of Focaccia available in the different regions.

Today I present to you the Genovese Focaccia, a classic type of focaccia from the Liguria region of Italy, where it originated. It is typically seasoned with olive oil, salt, and sometimes topped with onions and olives.

It is relatively easy to put together, and it has an amazing, authentic flavor straight from a good Italian friend of ours, who belongs to this region. She happily shared her family recipe with us.

Ingredients to make Genovese Focaccia

When you want to make this focaccia recipe, you’ll need the following sets of ingredients.

For the dough, you’ll need:

  • Lukewarm water - You don’t want the water to be too hot or cold or else the yeast won’t work.
  • All purpose flour - You could try other flours, but they may not work as well or change the texture.
  • Sugar - This is needed to help activate the yeast.
  • Yeast - When you use yeast, make sure it is fresh and still active. 
  • Salt - You could use kosher or sea salt.
  • Extra virgin olive oil - If you prefer, you could use regular olive oil.
ingredients to make italian genovese focaccia

For the topping, you’ll need to have:

  • Extra virgin olive oil - You could also use regular olive oil.
  • Lukewarm water
  • Garlic cloves - You’ll want to mince or crush the cloves.
  • Chopped rosemary leaves - For best flavor, use fresh rosemary.
  • Coarse Salt - You can use sea salt or your preferred coarse salt. 

How to make Focaccia

When you want to make the best focaccia, follow these easy instructions:

  1. First, in a bowl, add the yeast and lukewarm water and allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy. If you don’t see bubbles or froth, discard the mixture and start all over again with fresh yeast.
  2. You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook or knead the dough by hand. Add the activated yeast, flour, olive oil, sugar and salt to the mixer bowl and then give it a stir with a fork.
  3. Start kneading at a low speed with the dough hook. Once all the flour has incorporated, increase the speed and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough comes around together around the dough hook. It should appear elastic and smooth.
  4. Next, place the dough in a large greased glass bowl and then cover the bowl with a cloth. Place the glass bowl over a trivet in the Instant Pot and then use the yogurt setting to proof the dough for 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size. If you have the time and are not looking for instant gratification, allow the dough to poof overnight in the refrigerator. The overnight poofing will give you the jiggly air bubbles. In this recipe I haven't poofed it overnight, but you absolutely can depending on how much time you have.
  5. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with olive oil and then allow the dough to gently come out of the bowl into the pan. Turn the dough around to coat it with olive oil before using the pressure of your fingers to pat it down to ensure it is even and fills the pan fully.
  6. Next cover the pan with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for another 45 minutes to an hour until the dough has doubled again.
focaccia bread step by step recipe

Prepare the topping and bake

  1. While it rises, prepare the topping by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and setting it aside.
  2. Once the dough doubles in size, pour the topping on top. Once the dough is getting closer to double preheat the oven at 450 F.
  3. Grease your hands and using your fingers press down the dough to imprint dimples on the focaccia.
  4. Sprinkle with coarse salt flakes and then place the pan in the bottom rack of the oven and bake at 450 F for 15 to 20 minutes,
  5. Once ready, brush the focaccia with olive oil and enjoy.
Focaccia bread step by step recipe
italian genovese focaccia recipe

Pro Tips to make the best Genovese Focaccia

To make the best Genovese focaccia bread, follow these tips and tricks:

  • Make sure the water is lukewarm or the yeast will not activate properly.
  • Test the yeast first by adding to a bowl with the lukewarm water. If it doesn’t froth, toss the mixture and use a different packet or new yeast.
  • When working with yeast for the focaccia bread, make sure to use lukewarm water. Too hot will kill the yeast and too cold will not allow it to activate.
  • If you want the jiggly bubbles in your Focaccia, poof it overnight in the refrigerator after poofing it once in the Instant Pot. This step is optional. Depending on how much time I have sometimes I poof it overnight, sometimes I don't.
focaacia bread recipe

FAQs

How is focaccia different from bread

Focaccia bread is a leavened bread cooked in a square, circle, or rectangle. It has a very similar taste and texture to pizza and is sometimes referred to as pizza bianca. You can use it as side dish or as sandwich bread.

Difference between Ciabatta and Focaccia

There are a few differences between ciabatta and focaccia. Most notably, ciabatta has a dense, chewy texture while focaccia has a cake-like, light texture similar to pizza dough. Also, ciabatta is generally baked as a loaf or roll, while focaccia is cooked as flat bread.

Is focaccia vegan?

Focaccia is generally considered vegan. Some vegans may not consider it to be vegan because it does use yeast, which is a living organism, but most consider it a vegan food. Also, some recipes may add meats and meat products, but ours only uses vegan options.

How to eat focaccia

Focaccia is a flat bread. It  is perfect as a sandwich bread for your favorite Italian foods. It also makes a great side that goes with nearly any Italian dinner, like Aglio e Olio and spaghetti.

Can focaccia bread be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze focaccia bread. Before freezing, make sure the bread is cooled and then wrap in plastic wrap. You can then place it in an airtight container and then freeze for up to 6 months. When you are ready to use the focaccia bread, you just need to thaw it overnight in the fridge or on the counter.

How to store focaccia

If you are not freezing the bread, you can store it in an airtight container either on the counter for about 3 to 4 days or about a week in the fridge. Just make sure you fully seal the container before storing.

Why focaccia didn’t rise

If your focaccia bread recipe didn’t rise, chances are that your yeast is no good. You will need to get a new packet or replace the yeast container and then try again. 

Focaccia Bread

Other breads to try tonight

Once you’ve made this authentic Genovese focaccia bread recipe, you will want to check out these other favorites:

Let us know what you think

If you make this delicious Focaccia Bread recipe, let us know how it went! When you make this, be sure to take a pic and tag us on Instagram @dbellyrulesdmind or Facebook @thebellyrulesthemind!

Authentic Italian Focaccia
focaccia bread recipe

Authentic Italian Focaccia Recipe

Yield: 1 flatbread
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Our authentic Italian focaccia comes straight from an Italian friend when we lived in Europe. That is why it is quite possibly the best focaccia bread you’ll ever taste. Light and airy with a savory topping, this focaccia is perfect on its own, as a base for pizza, or to hold your favorite sandwich toppings.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • Lukewarm water 1 cup
  • All purpose flour 2 and 1/3 cup
  • Sugar 1 tsp
  • Yeast 1/2 tsp
  • Salt 1/2 tsp
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp

For the topping

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon lukewarm water
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary leaves
  • coarse salt flakes

Instructions

  1. First, in a bowl, add the yeast and lukewarm water and allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy. If you don’t see bubbles or froth, discard the mixture and start all over again with fresh yeast.
  2. You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook or knead the dough by hand. Add the activated yeast, flour, olive oil, sugar and salt to the mixer bowl and then give it a stir with a fork.
  3. Start kneading at a low speed with the dough hook. Once all the flour has incorporated, increase the speed and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough comes around together around the dough hook. It should appear elastic and smooth.
  4. Next, place the dough in a large greased glass bowl and then cover the bowl with a cloth. Place the glass bowl over a trivet in the Instant Pot and then use the yogurt setting to proof the dough for 45 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
  5. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with olive oil and then allow the dough to gently come out of the bowl into the pan. Turn the dough around to coat it with olive oil before using the pressure of your fingers to pat it down to ensure it is even and fills the pan fully.
  6. Next cover the pan with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for another 45 minutes to an hour until the dough has doubled again.

!Prepare Topping and Bake

  1. While it rises, prepare the topping by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and setting it aside.
  2. Once the dough doubles in size, pour the topping on top. Once the dough is getting closer to double preheat the oven at 450 F.
  3. Grease your hands and using your fingers press down the dough to imprint dimples on the focaccia.
  4. Sprinkle with coarse salt flakes and then place the pan in the bottom rack of the oven and bake at 450 F for 15 to 20 minutes,
  5. Once ready, brush the focaccia with olive oil and enjoy.

Notes

  • Make sure the water is lukewarm or the yeast will not activate properly.
  • Test the yeast first by adding to a bowl with the lukewarm water. If it doesn’t froth, toss the mixture and use a different packet or new yeast.
  • When working with yeast for the focaccia bread, make sure to use lukewarm water. Too hot will kill the yeast and too cold will not allow it to activate.
  • If you want the jiggly bubbles in your Focaccia, poof it overnight in the refrigerator after poofing it once in the Instant Pot. This step is optional. Depending on how much time I have sometimes I poof it overnight, sometimes I don't.
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    Did you make recipe? don’t forget to come back and leave your feedback and star rating.

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    K

    Wednesday 17th of January 2024

    shouldn't the sugar be mixed in with the yeast?

    Emma

    Friday 27th of October 2023

    This turned out really good, this is one of my first tries at baking bread and it made me so happy to have this to eat. It was bursting with flavors. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. This is so much cheaper to make than what is charged at a store. God bless you and keep up the good work! :) Love, Emma

    luna z

    Tuesday 22nd of August 2023

    First, in a bowl, add the yeast and lukewarm water and allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy. If you don’t see bubbles or froth, discard the mixture and start all over again with fresh yeast. ( you are missing sugar here )

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