No kneading! No mess!
This recipe for authentic Italian gluten-free focaccia bread is so easy! You just need to allow for time, but not much really! 20 minutes to prep, one hour to rise (or more if you have time) and 30 minutes to bake. I like to prepare the dough in the morning, let it rest & rise during the day and bake it just before dinner.
Focaccia and Italy
Focaccia derived its name from the Latin words “panis focacius”. Panis means bread. Focacius means central fireplace. This fireplace was traditionally located in the centre of Roman homes where the focaccia was cooked in the hot ashes.
Pre-gluten-free days, I have great memories of walking around many Italian cities smelling focaccia bread wafting out of the Panettiere bakeries. Sold pre-sliced in satisfying portions, it was tempting to buy one of each with different toppings, but olive & rosemary topping always won me over.
Easy Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread
- 2 tsp dried yeast
- 2 tsp runny honey
- 2 tbsp warm water
- 425 g store-bought or homemade gluten-free bread flour blend
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp xanthan gum Optional, as additional binding strength
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 4 tbsp store-bought buttermilk or mix 4 tablespoons of milk with one teaspoon of lemon (allow to rest for 5 minutes before using)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 350 ml warm milk
- Olive oil, for brushing tin and top of focaccia
- 1 garlic clove
- 15 pitted black olives
- 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp coarse salt, to sprinkle
Making the focaccia
- Mix the yeast, honey & warm water in a small bowl.
- Leave in a warm area for 10 minutes until frothy.
- Whisk the gluten-free bread flour, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum & bicarbonate of soda in a medium bowl.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture using a wooden spoon.
- Add the yeast mixture, buttermilk, eggs & warm milk to the centre of the flour mixture.
- Using a wooden spoon, slowly blend the liquid mixture into the flour until a soft, sticky dough has formed.
- Brush a square 23 cm tin liberally with olive oil.
- Add the focaccia mixture to the tin and with floured hands, press the dough towards the sides and corners of the tin.
- Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise for one hour (or more if time permits).
- Cut the garlic clove into slivers and add them to some water as well as the whole pitted black olives and snipped fresh rosemary sticks.
- Soak for 30 minutes.
Preparing the focaccia for baking
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 375°F.
- Remove the tea towel, make soft indentations into the top of the focaccia dough with your fingers.
- Brush the top with olive oil.
- Sprinkle the top evenly with the coarse sea salt
- Drain the garlic, black olives and rosemary from the water.
- Push the garlic slivers completely into the dough, so they don’t burn while baking.
- Press the olives and snipped rosemary sprigs into the dough so they are halfway peeking out.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool down slightly in the pan before cutting the focaccia bread into square portions.
- Serve immediately or allow to cool and wrap in foil to heat up later.
- Keeps for 2 days, but best eaten on the same day as baking
- Suitable to freeze wrapped in foil and stored in an airtight container or freezer bag