Have you ever tried making focaccia at home? It’s really not that difficult. You can start with this Easy Basil Focaccia from Central Italy — excellent for making sandwiches or as an appetizer on its own!
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Almost every region in Italy has its way of making focaccia bread. An example of this is focaccia Barese from Puglia, where they mix some potatoes in the dough.
This basil focaccia recipe is from Emilia-Romagna, the region where you can find Bologna, Parma, and Modena — pretty much all the cities for Italian comfort food.
Up to this day, I cannot decide which traditional focaccia I prefer. One thing is sure, though; they’re both DELICIOUS!
IF YOU WANT MORE TRADITIONAL ITALIAN BREAD, THEN YOU WILL LIKE THESE POSTS!
- Flour – all-purpose flour is all you need for this basil focaccia.
- Basil – fresh basil leaves.
- Yeast – I generally use active dry yeast for this recipe.
- Olive oil – I strongly suggest going for mild-flavored extra virgin olive oil.
- Parmigiano Reggiano – you would need to grate this cheese before spreading it on top of the bread.
- Salt – regular and sea salt will be used.
Start by combining half a cup of water with the yeast. Mix and set aside until foamy.
Using your stand mixer bowl, combine and mix flour and salt.
Add the yeast mixture, the remaining half cup of water, and one tablespoon olive oil (photo 1).
Mix just enough to wet the dry ingredients.
Add half a cup of chopped basil (photo 2).
Mix until you get a smooth dough and form it into a ball. Place the ball of dough into an oiled bowl (photo 3).
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for at least an hour (or until it has doubled).
Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a 24-cm ovenproof skillet or any baking tray. Spread oil evenly on its surface.
Spread and stretch the dough to fit the surface of the skillet or pan (photo 4).
Preheat the oven to 220°C (400°F).
Cover the pan with the kitchen towel and set it aside for thirty minutes.
Uncover the dough and use your fingers to form indentations on top (photo 5).
Brush the top with half a tablespoon of olive oil.
Place skillet in the oven and adjust heat to 200°C (375 °F). Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top has turned golden in color.
Mix the remaining olive oil, Parmigianino Reggiano, and three tablespoons of chopped basil.
Take the focaccia out of the oven and spread the oil and basil mixture on top (photo 6).
Sprinkle with sea salt and set aside for about 15 minutes.
- Feel free to use any baking tray if you don’t have any cast-iron or ovenproof skillet. The key is not to skip the olive oil at the bottom of the tray.
- You can knead the dough manually if you want. It is a slightly sticky and soft dough — very manageable.
- If you are having a problem stretching it out using your hands, rub some olive oil in your palm and try flattening the dough again — it should be easier this time.
- Brush the cheese and basil mixture on top as soon as it is out of the oven. The warmth of the bread helps in absorbing it more
You certainly can.
But there is a noticeable difference in taste when you use fresh ones, so I suggest doing that if you can.
You can use basil focaccia for making sandwiches, or serve them as appetizers on their own.
Trust me, a glass of red wine and some slices of freshly baked basil focaccia – YUM!
Easy Basil Focaccia Recipe
- Cast Iron Skillet (10.25 inch)
- 1 cup water, lukewarm
- 1 & 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh basil (plus 3 tbsp more for topping), chopped roughly
- 3 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano grated
- 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
MAKING THE DOUGH:
- Combine 1/2 cup of warm water with yeast, mix and set aside until it gets foamy.
- Mix flour and salt in a stand mixer bowl.
- Add the remaining 1/2 cup of water, yeast mixture, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Using the dough hook attachment, knead the ingredients just enough to wet the dry ones.
- Add 1/2 cup of chopped basil and continue kneading until you get a smooth dough.
PROOFING THE DOUGH:
- Form the dough into a ball and place it into an oiled bowl.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside until it has doubled in size (generally takes 1.5 to 2 hours for me).
- Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into your 10.25-inch skillet or baking tray. Make sure you spread the oil evenly on its surface.
- Preheat your oven to 220°C (400°F).
- Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer it on top of the oiled skillet.
- Spread (or stretch) the dough to fit into the entire surface.
- Cover with a kitchen towel again and set aside for 30 minutes.
BAKING THE BREAD:
- Uncover the dough and use your fingers to form indentations on top.
- Brush the top with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Place pan in the oven and adjust heat to 200°C (375°F).
- Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top has turned golden in color.
SERVING THE FOCACCIA:
- Mix the remaining olive oil, Parmigianino Reggiano, and 3 tablespoons of chopped basil.
- Take the focaccia out of the oven and spread the oil and basil mixture on top.
- Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and set aside for about 15 minutes.
- Slice and serve, sprinkle with more sea salt, if desired.
- Cook’s Tip #1: You can use dried basil if that’s what you have available. The fresh ones are more visible, though, and there is a noticeable difference in flavor.
- Cook’s Tip #2: Not a problem using a rectangular baking tray if you don’t have any cast-iron or ovenproof skillet. The key is not to skip the olive oil at the bottom of the tray.
- Cook’s Tip #3: You don’t need a stand mixer to make this focaccia bread recipe; you can knead it manually as an alternative. The dough is very manageable – just slightly sticky.
- Cook’s Tip #4: If stretching it out using your hands is a challenge, rub some olive oil in your hands and try flattening the dough again — this prevents the dough from sticking in your skin.
- Cook’s Tip #5: Brush the cheese and basil mixture on top as soon as it is out of the oven. The warmth of the bread helps in absorbing its flavor more.
AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING! I did have to add a little more flour to the recipe, about a cup, but it is absolutely delicious bread, thanks so much for this great recipe! 🙂
You’re welcome Jessica! And thank you so much for your commeent as well. 🙂