The process for making focaccia starts the same as for bread. Follow that process up through the bulk fermentation. I'll usually make focaccia and a loaf of bread at the same time.

Since it's flat, focaccia doesn't need nearly as much strength as bread. If you're making a loaf and it's clearly not gonna stand up during the proof, you can always pivot to focaccia.

If I'm doing only focaccia, I'll typically go a bit wetter and a bit less whole grain than my standard loaf of bread. Here's an example at 10% whole wheat and 80% hydration.

  • leaven 80g
  • white flour 450g
  • whole wheat flour 50g
  • water 400g
(and separately, 10g salt, as with normal bread)

Divide and Shape


Split off the portion of the dough to be used for focaccia. The goal here is to preserve much of the gas trapped in the dough. It doesn't need much strength at all, so handle as little as possible, just a little light shaping into a loose ball.


Pour a generous amount of olive oil in a sheet pan. Carefully place the dough into the middle of the pan Lightly oil the top of the dough to prevent it from drying out. Gently stretch the dough out, but don't force it or deflate it, it'll stretch more as it proofs.

You can optionally put the focaccia in the fridge to delay the bake. To do so, oil a wide mixing bowl, place the dough inside it, oil the top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for up to a day.

Top and Bake


Preheat the oven to 450°

The dough shouldn't need long to rise - start preheating shortly after shaping


Just before putting in the oven, top the dough. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and dimple with your fingers, maybe spreading it out a last little bit more in the process if needed. Sprinkle with coarse salt.


Bake until golden brown - say 15-20 minutes. The bottom should be crispy and the inside puffed and airy.

Other toppings


Focaccia toppings are usually pretty simple; Olive oil and salt is plenty. You may also try one or more of these:
  • Fresh herbs. Oregano is great, so is sage.
  • Cherry tomatoes or tomato slices
  • Thinly sliced onion
There's a trend right now called "gardenscape focaccia", where you decorate it to look like a flower garden using various toppings.


Sardenaira is a close relative to focaccia from Liguria. I make it as a focaccia with a particular set of toppings. It's salty and fantastic.

Sauce - Make a basic tomato sauce, but with anchovies dissolved into it. Spread this over the dough.

Toppings - Dot the top of the sardenaira with:

  • Unpeeled whole garlic cloves (they cook better this way)
  • Kalamata olives (ideally "taggiasche olives", actually)
  • Anchovy fillets (optional)
  • A drizzle of olive oil