Garlic Rosemary Herb Focaccia

This simple 6 ingredient focaccia dough is a wonderful starting point for many different flavors, including garlic rosemary herb focaccia. The homemade bread is chewy and soft in the center with a mega crisp exterior. For the BEST flavor, let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight. Olive oil seeps down and infuses every bite. You’ll love it! 

Garlic rosemary herb focaccia with parmesan cheese

Let’s make focaccia!! I’ve been working on perfecting focaccia for awhile. Focaccia is an Italian yeast bread. At the heart of it, focaccia is pizza dough without the sauce and cheese. Though it appears plain, focaccia is anything but boring. Its defining characteristics are the olive oil infused flavor and deliciously crisp exterior. Olive oil enrobes the entire crust, seeping into the interior as the bread bakes. Herbs and garlic are popular toppings, but you can add anything like olives, tomatoes, sesame seeds, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, pesto, caramelized onions, and more.

Pizza is a meal, but focaccia can be part of a meal, an appetizer, a soup dipper, a sauce soaker-upper, and even the crust of a sandwich or panini. Regardless of how and when it’s served, this garlic rosemary herb focaccia is remarkably chewy, rich, and flavorful.

stack of garlic rosemary herb focaccia bread with basil

Video Tutorial: Garlic Herb Focaccia

Sit back, relax, and watch as I walk through each step in this garlic rosemary herb focaccia recipe. In fact, most of the “work” is hands-off while the dough rises and rests so you can literally sit back and relax when it’s your turn to make it!

Close up image of the crispy garlic rosemary herb focaccia bread

Only 6 Ingredients in Focaccia Dough

Focaccia dough comes together with only 6 basic ingredients. Whether or not you’re a seasoned baker, I bet you have most of these items in your kitchen. This recipe yields a big pan of bread and leftovers freeze wonderfully. (We’ve been snacking on test recipes for weeks now!) If you don’t need that much bread on hand, feel free to halve the recipe.

Let’s quickly discuss the importance of each ingredient.

  1. Yeast: Yeast raises focaccia bread. If you’re nervous about working with yeast, I encourage you to review my Baking with Yeast guide. You can use active dry or instant yeast. I played around with different amounts and ultimately favored the bread with less yeast than some other recipes call for. The flatter the focaccia, the more the interior is infused with the olive oil and toppings!
  2. Sugar: 2 teaspoons of sugar feeds the yeast.
  3. Warm Water: When combined with liquid and sugar, yeast makes dough rise. Use warm water to cut down on rise time, about 100-110°F. Anything over 130ºF kills the yeast.
  4. Salt: A lot of focaccia’s flavor comes from salt and this dough requires a lot of it. For the best flavor, I strongly recommend using kosher salt
  5. Olive Oil: Some recipes only call for olive oil as the topping, but adding olive oil to the dough creates a richer tasting bread. You’ll also use it to coat the pan and top the dough before baking. Use your favorite kind– I prefer extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Bread Flour or All-Purpose Flour: I tested this focaccia with both and prefer the bread flour variety. Both are great, but bread flour has a higher protein content so it yields a chewier texture. This recipe calls for 4.5 – 5 cups of flour and if using bread flour, you’ll need closer to 4.5 cups since it absorbs more water. If using all-purpose flour, you’ll need closer to 5 cups. It all depends on how sticky the dough feels. Adding a bit too much or too little flour won’t ruin the recipe, so don’t be nervous.

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions!

Focaccia bread

How to Make Garlic Herb Focaccia

Focaccia is a very simple bread. This recipe requires a rise, plus a considerable amount of “resting” in the refrigerator. Most of the dough’s flavor is developed during this cold resting period, so I don’t recommend rushing it. You can’t rush good bread.

  1. Make the dough: Mix the ingredients together, then knead the dough by hand or with your mixer. I like doing this by hand and you can watch me in the video.
  2. Let the dough rise: Place dough into a greased bowl, cover tightly, then set aside to rise for about 2-3 hours.
  3. Flatten dough out onto a baking pan: Punch down the risen dough to release the air, then use your hands to flatten the dough out onto an oiled baking sheet. If the dough keeps shrinking, cover it for 5 minutes to let the gluten settle.
  4. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator: The cold temperature slows down the rising. In fact, there’s so little yeast that the dough will hardly rise at all during this step. Let it rest in the refrigerator for as little as 1 hour and up to 24 hours. The longer it rests, the better the flavor. I recommend at least 12 hours, just like with my artisan bread recipe. You won’t regret it!
  5. Remove from the refrigerator: Let the dough hang out on the counter as you preheat the oven and prep the toppings. It will rise a little bit, but not much.
  6. Preheat oven: Focaccia bakes in a very hot 450°F (232°C) oven.
  7. Dimple the dough: A good stress reliever! Use your fingers to dimple the entire surface of the dough. The dimples give the olive oil and toppings “a place to go.” This step is fun!
  8. Add toppings: A simple blend of fresh garlic, rosemary, thyme, and basil is a favorite, but I have plenty of focaccia topping suggestions listed below. No matter which topping you use, drizzle olive oil all over the surface.
  9. Bake: Bake until golden brown. I set the oven to broil for the last minute to really crisp up the surface. Highly recommended!

2 images of dough on counter and after rising in mixing bowl

The dough stretches to fit a large baking sheet. You can also divide the dough in half for 2 smaller focaccia loaves. I love that there’s no rolling pin or complicated shaping required.

focaccia dough rising overnight on baking sheet

After the dough rests in the refrigerator, dimple it with your fingers, then add toppings:

2 images of toppings for bread including olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and fresh garlic and bread on baking sheet

Make Ahead Recipe

As mentioned above, the longer the dough rests, the better it tastes. Focaccia is a convenient make-ahead recipe since you can do most of the work the day before serving. The bread tastes AWESOME warm from the oven, but it lasts all day if you want to bake it several hours prior to serving. Leftovers keep well for a few days or even a few months in the freezer, but some of the crispiness is lost over time. However, a few minutes in a preheated oven quickly brings leftover focaccia back to life!

Freezing dough: You can also freeze focaccia dough just as you would freeze pizza dough. After the dough rises in the mixing bowl, punch it down to release the air, coat it with a little olive oil, then cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. Once thawed, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest for 30 minutes on the counter. Finally, shape the dough on the baking sheet and continue with the recipe.

Garlic rosemary herb focaccia bread on baking sheet

Focaccia Toppings

Garlic & rosemary herb focaccia is a classic favorite, but you can customize it with various toppings. There’s truly no limit and here’s a list to prove it. Leave out the garlic and herbs (or keep them!), drizzle the dough with the olive oil, then add any of these toppings:

  1. Everything Bagel Seasoning
  2. Cherry Tomatoes or Sliced Tomatoes
  3. Parmesan (add before or after baking)
  4. Pesto (add before or after baking)
  5. Sliced Zucchini
  6. Pine Nuts
  7. Sliced Lemons or Lemon Zest
  8. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  9. Olives
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Artichokes
  12. Raw or Caramelized Onions

I topped a test batch with the garlic & herb olive oil called for in the recipe below, plus some pine nuts and thinly sliced tomatoes. We all DEVOURED it.

 

Garlic rosemary herb focaccia bread on white serving plate

More Simple Homemade Bread

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Garlic rosemary herb focaccia with parmesan cheese

Garlic Rosemary Herb Focaccia

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 16 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 16 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 dozen pieces
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This simple 6 ingredient focaccia dough is a wonderful starting point for many different flavors, including this garlic rosemary herb focaccia. The homemade bread is chewy and soft in the center with a mega crisp exterior. For the best flavor and texture, let the dough rest in the refrigerator overnight.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (480ml) warm water (between 100-110°F, 38-43°C)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (slightly less than 1 standard packet)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 and 1/2 – 5 cups (565g-630g) all-purpose flour or bread flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands

Topping & Pan

  • 5 Tablespoons (75ml) extra virgin olive oil or more as needed, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 34 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, and rosemary (or 2 Tablespoons dried herbs)
  • sprinkle of coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dough: Whisk half of the water (1 cup; 240ml), 2 teaspoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons yeast together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining water, olive oil, salt, and 1 cup (130g) flour. Beat on low speed for 20 seconds, then add 3 and 1/2 cups (440g) more flour. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. If the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the last 1/2 cup (60g) of flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough for 3-4 minutes. The dough can be a little too heavy for a mixer to knead it, but you can certainly use the mixer on low speed instead. If the dough is too sticky as you knead, add more flour 1 Tablespoon at a time. The dough should still feel a little soft, but shouldn’t stick your hands. Poke it with your finger – if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading.
  3. Let the dough rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with a teaspoon of oil or some nonstick spray– just use the same bowl you used for the dough. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours or until double in size. (Tip: For the warm environment on a particularly cold day, heat your oven to 150°F (66°C). Turn the oven off, place the dough inside, and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, close the oven door to trap the air inside with the rising dough. When it’s doubled in size, remove from the oven.)
  4. Prepare the pan: Generously grease a 12×17 inch baking pan (with at least 1 inch tall sides) with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. This is the base layer of the bread, so be generous with the oil. A pastry brush is helpful to spread it.
  5. Flatten the dough: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release any air bubbles. Place on the oiled baking pan, then stretch and flatten the dough to fit the pan. Don’t tear the dough. If it’s shrinking (mine always does), cover it with a clean towel and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before continuing. This lets the gluten settle and it’s much easier to shape after that.
  6. Let the dough rest: Cover the dough tightly and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. The longer it rests, the better the flavor. I recommend at least 12 hours.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature as you preheat the oven and prepare the toppings. Keep it covered. It may rise a little during this time, but not much.
  8. Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C). Allow it to heat for at least 10-15 minutes so every inch of the oven is very hot.
  9. Prepare the toppings: Whisk the 3 remaining Tablespoons of olive oil with the minced garlic and herbs. Set aside.
  10. Using your fingers, dimple the dough all over the surface. You can watch me do this in the video above. Drizzle on the olive oil topping and use your hands or a pastry brush to spread it all over the top. Add a little more olive oil if needed so the dough is completely covered. (This creates the crisp crust!) Sprinkle with a little coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  11. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until lightly browned on top. If desired, broil on high for the last minute to really brown the top.
  12. Cut and serve hot or let it come to room temperature before slicing and serving. Focaccia tastes wonderful warm or at room temperature. Cover leftover focaccia tightly and store at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week. You can also freeze the baked and cooled focaccia for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. To reheat the slices, you can use the microwave or bake in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 5 minutes.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: After the dough rises, punch it down to release the air as instructed in step 5. Freeze the dough or portions of the dough to make at a later time. Lightly coat all sides of the dough ball(s) with olive oil. Place the dough ball(s) into individual zipped-top bag(s) and seal tightly, squeezing out all the air. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the frozen dough in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest for 30 minutes on the counter, then continue with shaping the dough to fit the baking pan as instructed in step 5. (Even after thawing, the dough must still rest in the refrigerator as instructed in step 6.)
  2. Make Ahead Instructions: The is a wonderful recipe to begin the day ahead of time. The dough must rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours, as instructed in step 6. I’ve let it go for as long as 30 hours and the flavor is incredible. I wouldn’t go past 24-30 hours.
  3. Smaller Portions: This recipe yields a big pan of bread. You can divide the dough in half and bake smaller portions on 2 baking sheets or 9×13 inch baking pans. If desired, you can divide the dough in half and freeze half of it. Or you can halve the entire recipe.
  4. Yeast: You can use instant or active dry yeast instead. The rise time in step 3 may be a little quicker if using instant yeast. No matter which yeast you choose, you only need 2 teaspoons which is a little less than 1 standard 7g packet. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  5. Flour: You can use all-purpose flour or bread flour. All-purpose flour is convenient for most, but bread flour produces a chewier bread. No matter which you choose, the focaccia is still soft and rich with a crispy exterior. Either flour is fine and there are no other changes to the recipe if you use one or the other. You may need slightly closer to 5 cups of flour if using all-purpose.

Adapted from Bon Appetit & Pizza Crust

Keywords: garlic, rosemary, thyme, basil, bread

210 Comments

  1. My first try and it was excellent! Easy to follow instructions, especially the measurements (tablespoons and cups vs grams and oz). I’ve been asked not to change a single thing and do it the exact way next time I make the bread. It was so perfect! Thank you, Sally!

  2. Lillian Gooden says:

    Typing this with floury hands as I make my second-ever batch! This focaccia came out beautifully the first time and was promptly devoured.

    Both times however, I have had to add a ton of flour to this recipe (+2-3 cups) to get the dough to a sufficiently dry, workable state. Anyone else have this issue? I’m using bread flour.

    1. I also had to add at least 1 1/2 cups of flour. The first time I made the recipe I thought I had done something wrong, but it came out delicious. Takes about 5 or more cups of flour.

      1. Lillian Gooden says:

        Dropping in with doughy hands again! Turns out the miscalculation was all mine. I got a kitchen scale and found that as I measured, I was too conservative with my spooning-and-leveling. 5 regular cups, or just north of 600g, does just fine. 🙂

  3. I have avoided baking with yeast my entire life. If I had known I could’ve made amazing homemade focaccia this easily (focaccia is my favorite bread) I would have started baking with yeast a lot sooner! This recipe is delicious. I plan to make this again at Christmas with a Tuscan turkey roulade.

  4. FANTASTIC RECIPE! I didnt change anything the first time i made it: the bread can out fantastic!! Since then i have made it many times, the only thing I changed was adding more herbs! Thank you for the wonderful recipe! Everyone who has tried it really loves it! Your recipes are treasures!

  5. David Flashner says:

    I want to make this for Xmas but I’m out of fridge space? What happens if I just cover it and let it sit out at room temp vs putting it in the fridge?

  6. I made this for the first time today and I loved it 🙂 I didn’t have a stand mixer but I was able to stir the dough with a sturdy spatula by hand. I used a slightly smaller baking than specified and the focaccia came out extra thick and fluffy and still delicious. Since it was extra thick I was able to slice it and use it as sandwich bread. Now I’m all set for lunch for the rest of the week. Thank you so much!

  7. This was a sticker dough (I went with my gut on the lower amount of AP flour and machine kneaded for 7 minutes), and it yielded a light and delicious focaccia. I would recommend this recipe; it was easy, relatively quick, and the idea to rest the dough in the fridge (I was only able to do 4 hours) certainly helped deepen the flavor. I’ll be making this again…

  8. Fool-proof!! I’ve kneaded this by hand and now with a mixer and it turned out great either way, but if I do it by hand I end up adding about 1/4-1/2 cup more flour. I add some sliced tomatoes but that’s the only thing I do differently. If you follow this recipe to a T you will NOT be disappointed! Easy to follow and absolutely delicious.

  9. I made this twice. The first time, I kept the bread for 4hours. The second time, I kept it overnight. And just like the recipe says, keeping the dough overnight made it phenomenal!!! It was so chewy, dense and there was so much depth to the taste.. Sally’s cook book is my baking bible ❤️..i don’t even bother checking out other recipes

  10. This was fantastic made exactly as the recipe is written. We cut the recipe in 1/2 and it still made a huge amount in a large baking dish. We did garlic/mixed fresh herbs over the entire focaccia and covered 1/2 with halved cherry tomatoes and sliced green olives. We were heavy handed with the olive oil and it made such a difference. The dough came together so easy, we kneaded it our KitchenAid (it was a 1/2 batch so not so much dough to overwhelm the machine). We only let it rise for a total of 5 hours (2 on first rise, 3 on 2nd rise in fridge) and the flavour was great. Will try again overnight but was too excited to bake it and have it ready for dinner. 1st attempt at focaccia and I couldn’t be happier!!! Can’t wait to experiment further. Thanks for a wonderful and easy recipe! I wish I would have tried it sooner.

  11. If I don’t own a stand mixer what can I do?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Liam, You can mix the ingredients together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon or spatula and then we actually prefer to knead the dough by hand anyway (you can watch this step in the video above!).

  12. LeVetta Bobbitt says:

    I par baked this for 15 minutes, added tge toppings along with pizza sauce and the toppings we like for pizza. Upped the oven temp to 400° Back in the oven for 15 minutes. Yummmmmm

  13. Personally, I thought this recipe was a disgrace to the way focaccia is made in Italy.

    1. Che cavolo!

    2. How is it different from the way it is made in Italy?

    3. That’s kind of judgmental hon. If you don’t like the recipe, fine, don’t use it. But if you didn’t give it a try, why bother with a mean spirited comment? I will pray that whatever is making you so unhappy gets better.

  14. Taryn Simbrow says:

    I am about to try making focaccia for the first time. I have used many of your recipes in the past and both my family and I have enjoyed. I was just wondering about the steps and baking on a sheet pan. I don’t have a sheet pan I can use. Could I use a large foil pan about the same size. What do you recommend.
    The steps look confusing, am I missing something? Could I use regular salt instead of sea salt. Don’t have any at home. What about caramelized onions? My mom and I love onions?
    Dried herbs? Not such a good idea, jut thinking garlic salt instead of sea salt or garlic powder

    1. Hi Taryn. I’m assuming the large foil pan has a lip/rim around the edge? You can use that if it’s the same size. You can also divide this recipe between two 9×13 inch pans if you’d like to keep the same pictured thickness. For a thicker bread, press it all in a 9×13 inch pan. The bake time will be longer though. Kosher salt is ideal, but you can use regular table salt instead. Caramelized onions on top of the bread before baking would be delicious, too.

  15. Taryn Simbrow says:

    So I’m at the last stage right before baking. How long do you recommend leaving it out for? 30 minutes?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Taryn, about 45 minutes until puffy – see step 7.

  16. Taryn Simbrow says:

    Thank you

  17. Taryn Simbrow says:

    How do I know for sure that the focaccia is done? Can you tell it’s my first time? I get better I promise

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Taryn! It will be lightly browned on top. See the blog post photos for reference. If you carefully lift the corner of the bread the underside will be lightly browned as well.

  18. Cut the recipe in half and baked it in a 9×13 pan for about 22 minutes. I also let it sit in the fridge for almost a day before baking it. The bread was delicious and definitely worth the wait! It was chewy on the inside, but crisp on the outside and the flavours worked so well together 🙂 I topped it with some dried herbs and olives and cut it into sticks to dip into some soup. Thanks so much for this great recipe!

  19. Had to add a lot more bread flour than stated to make dough come together. Also had to knead it for about 8 minutes. Not 2. This bread actually is a little tasteless. I followed the directions exactly. I’m a little let down. Sally usually is on the money with her recipes. This one is not.

  20. This recipe works great! The first time I tried it I didn’t want to wait until the next day so I only rested the dough in the fridge for an hour, but I just made it again and left the dough overnight and it turned out SO GOOD! I added some cherry tomatoes to the top because I needed to use them up 🙂

  21. This recipe works great! The first time I tried it I didn’t want to wait until the next day so I only rested the dough in the fridge for an hour, but I just made it again and left the dough overnight and it turned out SO GOOD! I added some cherry tomatoes to the top because I needed to use them up

  22. Hi, Could you please tell me why we need to keep the dough in the fridge. I thought that the yeast might get inactivated at that cold temp. Will the yeast still be active and the foccacio bake well?

    Thanks
    Jaya

    1. Hi Jaya, the cold temperature slows down the rising. For dough to completely stop rising, it must be frozen. There’s actually so little yeast here that the dough will hardly rise at all during the refrigeration step. The longer it rests, the better the flavor.

  23. Hi sally,
    I would like to make this but without garlic. What would be the best toppings for a focaccia without garlic or meat? Thanks

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sonia, Take a look in the blog post above at the section called “Focaccia Toppings.” There are lots of ideas there!

  24. And once again Sally comes through with making me a success at baking and this time with yeast (again!). This focaccia is so good. I used bread flour and it needed, or should I say kneaded, an extra half cup or so of flour. I weighed it out in the beginning but after it was kneading I just kept throwing flour at it. I kneaded in my kitchenaid for about ten minutes.
    It spent about 21 hours in the fridge and rose a bit. In the punching holes process it punched down but still has a few little bubbles after cooking. I was so worried and I should’ve trusted Sally cuz it came out with great chew, airiness inside, and crust. The flavor is awesome too!! Thanks Sally for giving me more confidence in yeast baking.
    As a side note I topped it with the garlic herb oil and made grape tomato flowers with red pepper stems. Some of the flowers got some olive tapenade for the center. Sooooo pretty and so good.

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