My favorite Italian restaurant in Lubbock offers focaccia but it is nothing like what I found in Italy. One of the things that I love about Cinque Terre and Liguria is focaccia. In three trips to Cinque Terre, I’ve looked for the best focaccia. This Italian herb focaccia is the closest thing I’ve found to real Italian focaccia.
Whether you enjoy it without anything, add a delicious spread, or use it to clean your plate after enjoying my delicious arrabiata recipe, you’ll definitely feel like you’re back in Italy with this focaccia recipe.
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Baking and Bread Machines
One of our wedding gifts was a bread maker. I will admit that I used it more in 2020 than I have at any other point in our marriage. To be honest, I’m disappointed in myself. A bread machine makes everything, including focaccia, super easy. I love being able to set it, forget it, knead it, proof it, and bake it.
A bread machine also offers the easiest clean up ever. I have a Cuisinart and I love it because the basket snaps out. This makes it easy to dump the dough, pop the basket in the dishwasher, and clean everything. I’ve heard that some models don’t have that, That would be a deal breaker for me. I like the ease of this machine and can thoroughly recommend it.
Italian Herb Focaccia Recipe
- 3 cups + 2 tablespoons of bread flour
- 1-1/3 cups of room temperature water
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of Italian herb seasoning
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons of sugar
- 2 teaspoons quick yeast
- Put all ingredients in the bread machine in the order provided in the instruction manual. (This is important. I use the recipe book included to make sure I do it correctly.)
- Use the dough setting and let the entire cycle run.
- Using olive oil, grease full size cookie sheet.
- Knead the focaccia dough on a floured surface, stretching the gluten until the dough is smooth. (Do not over knead.) Stretch out the dough to fit the cookie sheet as best as possible (but not so thin that it breaks).
- Cover with saran wrap and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. (I turned on the dryer and closed the door to the laundry room.)
- Punch holes in the dough using the bottom of a wooden spoon. Cover the dough and let it rest another 15 minutes. Preheat your over to 425 while the dough rests.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes or until bread begins to crisp up and turn golden brown. (Do not over cook!)
- Brush lightly with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, remove from cookie sheet, and cool on wire rack.
Focaccia Serving Suggestions
Truthfully, I was amazed at how easy it was to make this Italian herb focaccia – and how sturdy it was. Turning it out of the cookie sheet was incredibly easy. To serve this focaccia, it’s easiest to cut with a serrated bread knife. I was amazed at how clean the cuts were and how soft the bread was on the inside. This focaccia was incredible served straight out of the oven, but it kept pretty well for a few days. I wrapped it in a cotton towel and the olive oil helped keep it moist.
In addition to serving it with penne arrabiata and spaghetti con agilo, I also enjoyed it with different pestos and pates that we’ve brought home over the years. (I learned this tip in one of our Italian cooking classes!) My two favorites were the Aldi rosso pesto and a black olive pate. I haven’t tried it with my spicy sun-dried tomato and olive pesto yet, but I think it would be delicious with that as well. The flavor of this focaccia is so light that you can pair it with some pretty strong spreads. (I should have tried with it with my truffle balsamic! Missed opportunity.)
For more delicious Ligurian travel inspiration, be sure to check out my tips for visiting Cinque Terre. If you’re headed to Cinque Terre soon, make sure to take a pesto making class in Cinque Terre and ship some delicious stuff home, too!