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Quick & Easy Focaccia Recipe
When you think of a focaccia recipe, you probably do not think “easy” is a word that should go with it. In fact, most yeast breads are not terribly easy. There is kneading, rising, kneading, shaping, rising, then baking all before you can eat the delicious bread. But this focaccia recipe is ridiculously easy and requires no kneading. Better yet, from start to finish, it is done in less than 2 hours! In the world of baking with yeast, anything done in less than 2 hours is definitely quick. I was amazed to have bakery-style focaccia on the table with dinner without killing myself getting it there.
If you have never had focaccia before, what to expect is similar to a thick pizza crust without the sauce and toppings. The bottom should be crisp and the interior tender. There are dozens of possible add-ins and toppings, and certainly, the bread can be used for a pizza crust as well, but it also can be used for sandwiches, breadsticks, or an appetizer.
This recipe is a King Arthur Flour original recipe, not my own. Feel free to check it out on the King Arthur Flour website here. There are over 100 reviews of it. It definitely is a crowd-pleaser.
This focaccia recipe looked so easy, I was afraid it couldn’t be good. I decided to try it out anyway and this is what happened.
Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by spraying with cooking spray then rubbing the bottom with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. The tastier the olive oil, the tastier the bread, so choose wisely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the following:
- 1 1/2 cups warm, but not hot water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
King Arthur Flour sells some optional ingredients, including Vermont cheese powder, pizza dough flavor, and pizza seasoning. If you don’t have these optional ingredients, you can substitute them with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and Italian herbs (your choice of the combination). The many reviewers have contributed dozens of ideas for substitutions or other add-ins. I happened to have the Vermont cheese powder (one of my favorite specialty ingredients) and pizza dough flavor, so I used those. I substituted the pizza seasoning with dried Italian herbs mixed with some additional dried rosemary and Parmesan bread dipping seasoning.
- Beat the listed ingredients (or your substitutions) in the stand mixer for 60 seconds using the beater attachment, not a whisk. The dough will be very slack. It will not form a dough ball. It absolutely will cling to the sides of the bowl and stretch off of the beater. I was surprised and concerned at how slack the dough was. It is okay. Proceed as directed.
- Scoop the dough into the 9x13 prepared pan. It will be sticky, so use something other than your hands for this part or you will end up with an ooey-gooey mess.
- Rub your hands with olive oil and press the dough out to the edges of the pan. I did not press quite enough, so my end product was a little uneven. It didn’t matter. It was still delicious, just not as picture perfect as it could have been.
- Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 1 hour in a warm place. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- After 1 hour, the dough should be puffy looking.
- Dip your index finger in olive oil and poke the dough gently all over the surface. These indentations are a hallmark of focaccia. They also hold little pockets of oil olive that you are going to drizzle on the surface of the bread.
- Drizzle olive oil onto the dough after making the indentations. Sprinkle herbs of your choice all over the dough.
- Bake the focaccia for 35-40 minutes. The longer you bake it, the crispier and drier it will become. I baked mine for 35 minutes, but oven temperatures vary. Watch the focaccia toward the end of the baking time and if you have a digital thermometer, test its doneness. It should be 190 degrees in the center when done.
- Remove the focaccia from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before turning it out. Serve it warm or at room temperature.
This recipe is so versatile, you could add just about anything you like.
- ¼ to ½ cup of chopped sun dried tomatoes
- ¼ to ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (Parmesan cheese is salty, so you might want to cut back a little on the salt in the recipe if you opt to do this)
- ¼ to ½ cup of crumbled feta or gorgonzola cheese
- ¼ to ½ cup of chopped kalamata olives
- 2-3 tbsp of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, and oregano would be great choices)
When adding ingredients, be careful to not add too much or you might affect the reliability of the recipe. For example, if you are going with olives and feta, try ¼ cup of each. If you are just doing one add-in, you could use a full ½ cup.
For a chewier focaccia, substitute 1-2 cups of all-purpose flour with bread flour.
For a more nutritious focaccia, substitute 1-2 cups of all-purpose flour with white whole-wheat flour.
I was beyond pleased with the end result of this recipe. I served it with parmesan-crusted pork loin chops and egg noodles with sun dried tomato alfredo sauce. The focaccia was great to soak up the alfredo sauce. Yummy!
Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce
If you are interested in the sun-dried tomato alfredo sauce, this is how I made it:
- Heat 3 tbsp of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add 3 cups of heavy cream.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Do not boil the cream or it will curdle.
- Continue heating the cream and stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until it’s reduced by about half.
- Stir in ½ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese until melted.
- Stir in about ½ cup of chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes.
- Season with salt to taste.
Parmesan-Crusted Pork Loin Chops
The pork loin chops are very easy as well.
I used four 1/2” thick chops for this recipe. Forgive me that the measurements are not exact. I just kind of wing it.
- Season chops with salt and pepper.
- Combine about 1 ½ cups of breadcrumbs (seasoned or plain) and ½ to 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese in a pie plate.
- Beat 2 large eggs in a bowl.
- Dip chops in the beaten eggs then dredge in the bread crumbs mixture.
- Pan fry the chops in olive oil on medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side to brown.
- Bake the chops in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees until done. Lining a baking sheet with parchment will keep the crust on the chops and prevent sticking. The chops should be 160 degrees when done. Over-baking them will dry them out.
© 2013 Leah Wells-Marshburn