While many focaccia recipes call for the dough to rest overnight, this one comes together in just over three hours. This focaccia is as quick to bake as it is bursting with rustic flavour. Fresh basil, oregano and flaky sea salt add much character, while cherry tomatoes and mozzarella crown this Italian flat bread with beautiful simplicity. Serve it as an appetiser with a bowl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip in!
Tips For Making tHIS Quick Focaccia
While detailed instructions are sketched out in the recipe card below, do be sure to first read these tips.
- Proof the yeast. Always start by “proofing” the yeast to check whether it is still active. If the yeast mixture isn’t bubbly, your yeast might be old (or dead!) and your dough will simply not rise. At this point, it’s better to throw out the mixture and start afresh with new yeast. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience!
- First dough rise. Once you’ve kneaded the dough (until it is smooth and supple), it’s time to shape it into a ball and place it in a large enough mixing bowl that has been liberally coated with olive oil. Try to avoid using a metal mixing bowl, which might impede the activity of yeast. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rest in a warm location for at least one hour (preferably two) until it has doubled in size. This is the olive oil I have used.
- Second dough rise. Punch down the dough in the mixing bowl and tip it out into a greased 8×8 inch baking tin (or a large baking tray). Loosely shape it into a ball (coating again with olive oil if required) and cover with a damp cloth, leaving the baking tin in a warm place to rise for a second time (about 30 – 45 minutes).
- Prepare the dough. Preheat the oven to 220C. Pat the dough out until it reaches the edges of the baking pan. Using your fingers, make dimples across the dough. Make sure your dents are deep enough, going all the way down to the bottom of the baking pan. Brush some more olive oil liberally across the dough, ensuring that it seeps down the dimples and add toppings as desired. I recommend cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, shredded mozzarella and lots of sea salt!
- Show time. Bake the focaccia for 15-18 minutes until it’s a beautiful golden brown and uniformly baked through. Don’t over-bake if you want a fluffy-textured focaccia!
Adapting This Recipe
Feel free to use this quick focaccia recipe as a base to add in other herbs, condiments and seasonings such as:
- Garlic: you could add finely-chopped garlic to the dough before kneading for a kick of flavour.
- Herbs: feel free to swap around dried/ fresh herbs of your choice (adding them into the dough before kneading).
- Sun-dried tomatoes & olives: after the first dough rise, you could also fold in sun-dried tomatoes, olives and/ or capers for a Mediterranean-inspired focaccia as per a previous recipe, here.
- Other cheeses: while I have grated fresh mozzarella over the dough right before baking, you could scatter parmesan/ another hard cheese of your choice instead.
How To Serve This Focaccia
Focaccia is best eaten warm! I often mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a hefty pinch of oregano in a small bowl, to serve alongside for dipping!
Quick & Easy Focaccia
- 2 ¾ (330 gm) all-purpose flour (+ more as required)
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 cup (240 ml) lukewarm water
- olive oil (as required)
- 1 tbsp dried oregano (optional but recommended for flavour)
- 1 tsp sea salt (+ more for sprinkling)
- 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (+ more for sprinkling)
- pinch of black pepper
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- ½-¾ cup mozzarella
Proof the yeast
- Stir the yeast and sugar into a cup of lukewarm water (ideally 110° to 115°; if the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast).
- Let the mixture sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast has completely dissolved and the mixture is foamy, a sign that the yeast is active. If the mixture isn’t bubbly, your yeast might be old (or dead!). At this point, it’s better to throw out the mixture and start afresh with new yeast.
Bring the dough together
- Add salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil to the yeast mixture, followed by the oregano, fresh basil and a pinch of black pepper. Mix it all together.
- Pour this wet yeast mixture over the flour in a large enough mixing bowl. Use a spatula to bring the dough together into a shaggy mass.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface to knead until it comes together in a smooth, supple and elastic ball. This might take about five minutes. (If the dough is feeling too sticky, sprinkle more flour on the surface and continue kneading until smooth)
First dough rise
- Liberally grease the bottom of a large bowl with olive oil before placing our ball of dough in it (avoid using a metal bowl, which might impede the activity of yeast).
- Turn the dough as required until it is completely coated with the olive oil.
- Cover the bowl with a damp cloth, leaving it in a warm place for 1 – 2 hours (depending on how much time you have).
Second dough rise
- When you check in on the dough after this time, you will find that it has risen in volume. Punch the dough down with your fists and tip it out onto a 8×8 inch baking tin (grease this tin beforehand with olive oil).
- Gently shape the dough into a large ball (brush over with olive oil if required) and cover the baking tin with a damp cloth, leaving it in a warm place for 30 – 45 minutes or so.
Baking the focaccia
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°.
- After the dough has risen a second time, pat it out into a square shape reaching the edges of the baking tin (note: if you don't have a square baking pan, you can pat it into a rectangle shape with 1/2 inch thickness, on a regular baking tray)
- Dimple it with your fingers, making little wells that reach down to the bottom of the baking tin. Generously brush over these little crevices with olive oil and toppings of choice. I used cherry tomatoes, more fresh basil, mozzarella and lots of sea salt
- Put the focaccia to bake in the oven until its’ a beautiful golden-brown on top (15 minutes or so). If the focaccia has not evenly baked, turn the oven to 180°C after 15 minutes for another few minutes until done.
- Serve while it’s deliciously-warm, a touch crusty at the edges but soft and fluffy within!
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