Roasted garlic and sun-dried tomato focaccia requires a little planning ahead (the dough is best when rested for 8-24 hours), but you will not be able to stop eating this crispy, flavorful bread!
I am so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and taught myself how to make focaccia. With the help of a stand mixer, homemade focaccia bread is far easier than you’d think. A there’s no kneading by hand (hallelujah!). Here, I have added an unholy amount of roasted garlic — which is sweet and nutty at the same time — and a handful of chopped sun-dried tomatoes. The result is an oily, crispy bread (I mean that in the best way possible) that is crazy flavorful and packs a punch.
What is focaccia?
Little bites of heaven, that’s what! Focaccia is essentially an olive oil flatbread. The dough is very similar to pizza dough – in fact, you could totally top this with sauce and shredded cheese and turn it into a grandma pie! – and can be topped with herbs, garlic, tomatoes… whatever you want! The signature dimple look in the bread is caused by fingers pushing the dough down.
How do you make focaccia?
You can make the dough entirely in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. From mixing to kneading, the machine does it all. Simply transfer the kneaded dough to a large bowl to let rise, then pour into a rimmed baking sheet coated with olive oil and let rest overnight in the fridge (don’t skip this step!).
When ready to cook, take dough out of refrigerator to get to room temperature and rise again (about 2 hours), then add toppings and bake!
For a crispier crust, place baking sheet directly on a pizza stone on the middle rack in your oven.
What is the difference between active dry yeast vs. instant yeast?
Simply put, active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before activating, whereas instant yeast is ground much finer and can be incorporated with dry ingredients as is. I prefer active dry yeast for focaccia. When you dissolve yeast in water and let it sit for ~10 minutes, you can see quickly whether the yeast is alive (it’ll be bubbly) or whether it’s died and you need to start over. To me, it’s worth waiting the few minutes to make sure your yeast is fresh and useable.
How long does focaccia dough rest for?
This recipe has 4 periods of resting for the dough. Planning ahead is key.
The first rest is after the dough has been kneaded — it sits for 1-2 hours.
Once the dough is transferred to a baking sheet, it is folded over onto itself 4 times, then left to rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten; this ensures the dough is able to be stretched and pushed to fit the pan.
The longest period of rest is overnight in the fridge once the dough has been shaped to fit a baking sheet; about 8-24 hours.
Finally, the dough rests for a fourth time when removed from the refrigerator. It rises a final time until it gets to room temperature, about 2 hours more.
What to put on focaccia bread
PSA: if you want to make the best focaccia, roast your own garlic and tomatoes in olive oil. The oil that goes both into the dough and into the pan the focaccia is baked in is going to add so much more flavor if it tastes like garlic and tomatoes! Trust me on this one.
As far as toppings, I personally love smearing on the roasted garlic and a bunch of sun-dried tomatoes. The garlic cloves are soft, sweet, and offer such a great textural contrast to the crispy focaccia, while the sun-dried tomatoes offer a little bit of tang. Together they make the perfect sweet and acidic combination. The sun-dried tomatoes should be added to the dough when there’s just a few minutes left, otherwise they’ll burn!
I prefer sun-dried tomatoes to fresh tomatoes on focaccia because dried tomatoes don’t release water on the dough as it cooks. This results in a much crisper finished product, and you still get that intense tomato flavor that I love so much. I always reach for my favorite California Sun-Dry julienned tomatoes, which I chop lightly before adding to the partially cooked dough.
Additional focaccia toppings
Sea salt is an absolute must and should be generously sprinkled on before baking.
Herbs can add a lot of freshness and vibrancy. Try adding rosemary, thyme, or oregano before baking! If you want to add basil to focaccia, thinly slice it, but wait to add until it comes out of the oven to add.
How long will focaccia stay fresh? How do you store it?
If you’re going through the whole process of making homemade focaccia, make sure you have enough people to help you eat it. Focaccia stays fresh in a sealed airtight container for a mere 2 days. However, if you topped it with sea salt – you did, right? you have to! – the salt will dissolve and leave funny little marks on the bread. Don’t worry, this is normal, but it just goes to show you really should eat this quickly. It’s definitely best on the first day.
To reheat, place focaccia on a baking sheet and warm in toaster oven at 375 F until crispy, about 5-7 minutes.
Should focaccia be consumed on the regular?
OH HELL YES.
My roasted garlic and sun-dried tomato focaccia is seriously the best; the exterior is chewy, but the inside is still tender. I fully predict this will be on repeat all year long. You ready to try your hand at it??
*This post was sponsored by California Sun Dry. All opinions remain my own. I only support and promote brands that I believe in and use in my own kitchen – I hope you’ll check them out! Thank you for supporting the brands that make Well Seasoned possible.
If you make Roasted Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Focaccia, please let me know by leaving a review below!
For dishes I love to serve alongside focaccia, check out the following:
Chicken milanese with fennel salad
Weeknight slow-baked salmon with herb shallot butter
Creamy sun-dried tomato chicken with mushrooms and white wine sauce
Grilled romaine with pumpernickel croutons and lemon caesar vinaigrette
Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomato Focaccia
For the roasted garlic
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 heads garlic
For the focaccia
- 1 ¾ cups warm water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 ½ cups bread flour
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2-3 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes chopped
To make roasted garlic
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut heads of garlic in half, then place in a baking pan with olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil then roast for 45 minutes, until garlic is very soft. Let cool.
- Gently squeeze the heads of garlic to push out individual garlic cloves (it’s fine if they are mushy and lose their shape). Place in a mall bowl. Reserve garlic olive oil.
To make the focaccia
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, combine water, yeast and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes to activate yeast.
- Add bread flour, kosher salt, and ½ cup of reserved garlic olive oil, then mix on low speed until dough comes together. Increase speed to medium and mix for 6-8 minutes, or until dough goes from sticky to elastic, but smooth.
- Pour a few tablespoons of reserved garlic oil in a large mixing bowl, then place dough inside. Turn dough over, coating it on all sides with the oil. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel, then place in a warm spot for at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours, until dough has doubled in size.
- Pour ¼ cup of remaining garlic oil in an 13"x18" rimmed baking sheet. Place dough on baking sheet, then carefully stretch and fold the right side of the dough up and over towards the center. Repeat with remaining 3 sides of dough (top to bottom, left to right, then bottom to top. Turn down over so it is seam side down, then let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Carefully press the dough with your finger tips - creating deep dimples in the dough - to stretch and shape it to fit the pan. If the dough resists and bounces back, let it sit for another 10 minutes.
- When the dough is fully formed to the pan, cover with oiled plastic wrap, then place in a refrigerator to cool at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Remove dough from refrigerator, uncover, and place in a warm place for 2 hours. When ready, preheat oven to 425 F. Stud dough with all garlic cloves, then sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove and evenly distribute sun-dried tomatoes on top. Bake for additional 3 minutes, then remove and let cool. Cut into slices and serve warm or at room temperature.