Introduction: Focaccia Bread Recipe

About: Hi! I'm a slightly feral mountain hermit that likes to be helpful. I do community management at Instructables & Tinkercad. 🙌 Want to hear me chat about making? Search "CLAMP Podcast" on YouTube or your favorit…

Focaccia is one of my favorite breads - I've tried making it for years and I've always failed because I wanted to take shortcuts. I was standing in line at the grocery store a few weeks ago when I looked over and saw that Cook's Illustrated had a "All-Time Best Bread Recipes" issue out. I checked the back and it had a focaccia recipe! SOLD!!

Since I bought it I've been happily cranking out loaf after loaf of focaccia, and I wanted to share my slightly modified recipe here so you guys can have endless focaccia too.

This focaccia recipe is no-knead - meaning it takes more patience and time - but that also means the recipe is close to fool-proof for all you beginner bakers out there. :D

Step 1: Ingredients + Tools

For the biga starter:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup warm water (110 F)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast

For the dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour + extra for dusting your work surface
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 F)
  • 1 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
  • few tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • fresh or dried herbs of choice for sprinkling on top - woody herbs are best!


  • 2 round cake pans or springform pans (9 inches)
  • baking stone OR and overturned baking sheet
  • cooling racks
  • plastic wrap

Step 2: Make the Biga

The base of this bread is a biga. It's a little like a sourdough starter, but the main difference is that biga is made fresh with every batch of bread.

To make the biga, combine:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup warm water (110 F)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast

Stir these ingredients together in a medium sized bowl until they're nice and smooth and no dry lumps remain. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 8-24 hours. (Cook's Illustrated also says you can store it in the fridge for up to three days, as long as you let it come back up to room temperature before using.)

I highly recommend letting the biga rest for the full 24 hours - I've done it for 8, 12, and 24 hours so far and the 24 hour biga made the best tasting focaccia.

Step 3: Starting the Dough

In a large bowl, combine your biga mixture, 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon yeast, and 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 F). Stir until no dry spots remain and cover with plastic wrap.

Let sit for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle over 2 teaspoons of salt and then mix the dough well for a minute or so until the salt is incorporated.

Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes to rise at room temperature.

Step 4: Letting the Dough Rise + Preheating

After the initial rise you just finished, you'll being folding and then rising the dough in 30 minute windows. This is taking the place of kneading.

Spray a spatula with cooking spray and use it to fold a small amount of the dough on the sides over into the center. You will do this eight times, turning the bowl as you go, until the dough has been entirely folded over on itself.

Now cover with the plastic wrap let it rise for 30 minutes.

Repeat the folding and rising process two more times.

During the last rise, place a baking stone or an upside down baking sheet in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 F.

Step 5: Prep Dough and Pans

Flour your counter lightly and transfer the dough to it. Flour the top of the dough lightly as well. Divide the dough in half.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to your pans and rub it around with your hands until the bottom and lower sides are well covered.

Shape the dough halves into small rounds by tucking the sides of the top under. Place them into the pans top side down and swirl them around until they're well coated and then flip them over so the bottom is down and swirl that around as well. This will coat both sides of the dough with oil.

Let the dough rest in the pans for 5 minutes - the dough will spread out as it rests.

Step 6: Shape the Dough

Press the dough down into the pan using your fingers. Make sure it's flattening out and reaching all sides of the pan.

If you're having issues getting it to stretch, let it rest for 5-10 minutes and try again.

Once the dough has taken on the shape of the pan, use a fork to prick the dough all over. Pop any large air bubbles you see!

Now you'll sprinkle the dough with whatever herbs you'd like - I used dried rosemary.

Once that's done, let the dough rise a little and get some small bubbles. This will take 5-10 minutes.

Step 7: Baking + Storing

Place the cake pans on top of the baking stone or upside down baking sheet and turn the oven down to 450 F.

Bake until the bread is golden brown on top, 25-30 minutes.

Once the bread is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool on racks in the pans for 5 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pans and let them continue to cool on the racks for about 30 minutes. (If you have any extra oil in the bottoms of the pans, brush it over the top!)

This bread can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap for a couple days, but it's hardly lasted that long for us so far. It's too good to leave sitting around. :P