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Focaccia is excellent sharing bread for serving with supper, and is really easy to make. You can certainly miss out the rosemary, and you don't have to sprinkle the top with salt, though it is authentic. You could expand this recipe and experiment as we have often done, mixing various herbs and other flavourings into the actual dough, though we think you'd have to ask an Italian if you can still call it focaccia. You could use a food mixer to knead this soft dough.


To knead by hand: mix the flour, yeast, salt and water in a bowl to form a sticky dough. Add the oil, mix it in, then turn the dough out on to a clean work surface. Knead until smooth and silky, about 10 minutes.

Or, to use a food mixer: fit the dough hook and add the flour, yeast, salt and water to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, then add the oil and leave to knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.

Shape the dough into a round and coat with a little extra oil. Leave to rise in a clean bowl, covered with a plastic bag. When it has doubled in size, tip it on to the work surface and press into a rough rectangle. Place in a lightly oiled shallow baking tray, measuring about 26 x 36cm. Press the dough in with your fingers, right into the corners. Now leave to rise, covered, for about half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 250°C/Gas Mark 10, or as high as it will go. When the bread looks puffed up and airy, use your fingertips to poke deep holes across the whole surface, almost to the bottom. Drizzle the top generously (but not swimmingly) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to about 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Serving suggestions

Focaccia is best eaten warm, but not hot; leave to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before serving, or leave to cool completely.

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  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 5g powdered dried yeast
  • 10g fine salt
  • 325ml warm water
  • About 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for coating

To finish

  • A generous drizzle of olive oil
  • A sprinkle of flaky sea salt
  • A couple of rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped and finely chopped

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Bread Handbook

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