Have you ever tried making traditional focaccia at home? It’s really not that difficult. You can start with this Easy Basil Focaccia from Northern 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 bread 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!
WHAT YOU NEED TO PREPARE THIS EASY FOCACCIA BREAD RECIPE
CAN I USE DRIED BASIL?
You certainly can.
But if you are serving it to friends and visitors, I strongly suggest using fresh basil. It’s more impressive visually. 😉
HOW TO MAKE FOCACCIA BREAD – STEP BY STEP
Start by combining half a cup of lukewarm 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, 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 10.2-inch cast-iron 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 into 220°C (400°F).
Cover the pan with the kitchen towel and set 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 flakes and set aside for about 15 minutes.
TOP TIPS FOR MAKING TRADITIONAL BASIL FOCACCIA BREAD
- 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 can use these for sandwiches or serve them as an appetizer on its own. Trust me, a glass of red wine and some slices of freshly baked basil focaccia – YUM!
IF YOU WANT TO PAIR THEM WITH A SAVORY DISH, TRY ANY OF THESE:
- Greek Baked Giant Beans (Gigantes Plaki)
- Spanish Garlic Chicken (Pollo Al Ajillo)
- Easy Chicken Cacciatore
PERHAPS YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET SOME IDEAS FOR MAKING BREAD? THEN HEAD STRAIGHT TO MY BREAD COLLECTION!
Easy Basil Focaccia
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 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.
- You can use dried basil if that's what you have available. The fresh ones are more visible, though, but the taste is pretty much the same.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.