The Best Focaccia Bread Recipe made with Poolish pre-ferment dough

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How to make a fluffy, crispy, and flavorful Focaccia dough and the 3 most popular Focaccia Toppings for the best Italian homemade Focaccia.

Focaccia bread is an Italian type of bread that is quite thicker than a pizza and has a higher hydration level than pizza dough.
The goal of a great Focaccia Bread is to get a soft and fluffy inside so as a golden, oily, and crunchy crust.

The secret for the best Focaccia is to make a Poolish pre-ferment dough that ferments overnight. But if you’re in a rush and want to make a same-day Focaccia Bread, I’ve got you covered as well! In the Focaccia recipe below, you’ll find both the Poolish method so as a same-day Focaccia recipe possible to finish in less than 4 hours.

Focaccia bread was the first type of bread I baked at home when I was a little boy and to this day it’s still my favorite. It’s an easy-to-make Italian bread and I’m sure, you will love it as much as I do!

Pre ferment dough for the best Focaccia bread

The secret to getting the most delicious Focaccia Bread at home is to make an overnight (refrigerated) pre-fermented dough aka. a Poolish. Poolish Focaccia bread and using a preferred dough gives you a richer flavor profile than same-day Focaccia bread. It also leads to better crispiness of the bread and an even, airy and fluffy inside. Another benefit of a pre-dough is that it leads to bread that is more digestible since the dough has already been fermented.

A Poolish or Biga is also the key to perfect Pizza dough or when baking Italian Ciabatta bread. Poolish is made with a 1:1 ratio of flour and water. The higher the hydration level of the pre-dough, the faster it ferments with the same amount of yeast. Therefore Poolish has a shorter pre-fermentation time compared to other pre-fermented dough types. Poolish has, normally when doing an overnight pre-ferment, a fermentation time somewhere between 8-20 hours. Biga, on the other hand, has a lower hydration level and is pre-fermented for even longer between 16-48 hours. Biga is great for bread like Ciabatta bread, as it leads to even bigger air bubbles in the bread. 

pre ferment focaccia dough

How to make Poolish

To make Poolish, you mix a 1:1 ratio of flour and water together with a small amount of yeast and preferably some sugar or honey as a yeast starter. 

As covered in the Recipe below, you first mix water, yeast, and honey together, and then add the flour. Mix all ingredients together and let the Poolish rest for 1 hour at room temperature. After that, you can put the Poolish into the fridge for slow low-temperature pre-fermentation overnight.

The most popular and best Focaccia Toppings

When it comes to Focaccia toppings, the three most famous types are the following (or a mix of the three):

  • Tomato Focaccia
  • Olive Focaccia
  • Rosemary Focaccia

However, there are no limits on what to put on a Focaccia dough, which makes this type of bread so versatile. In the Recipe below and also my Video Recipe on Youtube, I’m featuring these 3 delicious Focaccia Toppings mentioned above including an advanced rosemary Focaccia with roasted garlic. 

best focaccia bread recipe

Focaccia Ingredients to bake the best Focaccia bread at home

To make a great Focaccia at home, it only takes a few ingredients.
And when there are fewer ingredients involved, it is even more important to get ingredients of great quality.

The Dough

For the dough (regardless of whether with Poolish or without), you’ll need only 5 ingredients.

  • Flour
    If possible, use 00-Type flour or white flour as it creates more gluten and helps to get a fluffy texture.
  • Water
    Use room temperature water, as this will help the yeast to get active.
  • Yeast
    You can use both, dry or fresh yeast. I suggest using dry yeast here. Dry yeast is easy to store for a longer time than fresh yeast, as you just need only a small amount of yeast for the dough.
  • Honey
    The honey (or sugar) helps as an activator for the yeast.
  • Salt
    You can use table salt here as it dissolves better. 

The Focaccia Toppings

  • Cherry / Datterino Tomatoes
    The key is to use ripe tomatoes as they are sweeter. I always use fresh small Cherry or Datterino tomatoes. They have a more concentrated and complex aroma packed with awesome flavors.
    Different colored ones help the Tomato Focaccia to look even better.
  • Olives
    Any kind of good quality olives regarding your taste. I use stoned, both green and black olives, as they normally have more flavor than the pre-pitted ones.
  • Olive Oil
    The goal is to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil here which offers a fresher & fruitier taste.
    Salt
    Use coarse sea salt to sprinkle on top of the focaccia.
  • Rosemary
    Fresh rosemary sprigs if possible
  • Garlic
    Conventional, fresh garlic

Tips for the best Focaccia bread made at home

As mentioned in the preparation steps in the recipe below, here are some tips for a successful homemade Focaccia.

  • The right pan
    When it comes to pans/baking trays, there are different types and shapes. When using glassware it is beneficial to use parchment paper together with olive oil to prevent it from sticking. This is also the case with some other baking dishes with a non-sticking surface. like in the round black baking tray on my header image, it would have been better to use some paper as well. There are special Baking pans or Focaccia pans with grooved bottoms (as you can see with my garlic focaccia). These trays are awesome for Focaccia and just need a little olive oil to prevent from sticking. When it comes to shapes I prefer round ones for normal Foccace and square ones when I’m doing Focaccia Sandwiches.
  • Soaking the Tomatoes
    I once came up with the idea to pre-soak the tomatoes in olive oil and together with some salt. The salt helps to drain the juice out of the tomatoes and the flavors will mix together with the oil. When putting the Toppings to the Focaccia, I then sprinkle the juice on top of the bread. I’ve had good experiences with this method, but you need to try it out on your own.
  • Storage of Focaccia Bread
    Without exception, Focaccia is best when consumed fresh in the first few hours. But as Pizza as well, it’s still a great snack the day after. You can store your Focaccia Bread in the fridge for 1-2 days. Another great thing is to freeze the Focaccia if you want to store it for longer.

Here are some other Italian recipes or salty snacks you may like for your next meetup with friends or family:

4.67 from 3 votes

The Best Foccacia with Poolish

Focaccia is loved by almost everyone! This recipe is about how to get that rich flavor profile in your Focaccia dough using Poolish (pre-ferment). This Focaccia recipe is for a Focaccia of about 25cm / 10" diameter.
Servings 2 people
Prep Time 1 day 4 hours
Baking Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 day 4 hours 20 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

Poolish (pre-ferment)

Focaccia dough

Focaccia Toppings (Tomate, Olive & garlic-rosemary)

Instructions

Making the Poolish (jump to same-day Method when doing without Poolish)

  • mix lukewarm water, dry yeast and honey in a cup.
    5 grams dry yeast, 5 grams honey, 150 grams lukewarm water
    focaccia recipe poolish method
  • add flour and mix together
    150 grams 00 flour / white flour
    focaccia recipe poolish dough
  • Cover with some foil and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour. After that, put the poolish into the fridge for 8-16 hours.

Preparing the Focaccia dough (Poolish Method)

  • Mix Poolish, flour and salt in a large bowl.
    1 Poolish, 50 grams 00 flour / white flour, 6 grams salt
    focaccia dough preparation
  • knead together for several minutes. The dough will be sticky at this point cause of the high hydration.
    Focaccia dough kneading
  • Rub a large bowl with some olive oil and put the dough ball back into the bowl. Cover with some foil and let it rest at room temperature for about 2 hours.
    Focaccia dough rest time
  • After two hours, carefully take the dough out of the bowl and fold a few times.
    fermented focaccia dough
  • Portion the dough (if you're doing several Focaccia) and form into a dough ball.
    folding focaccia balls
  • Oil a baking tray with a good amout of olive oil and put the dough ball into the baking pan. Slightly press the dough into the form. Sprinkle some olive oil on top of the dough and cover with some foil again.
  • Let the dough rise and rest again in the baking pan for 1 more hour at room temperature. In the meantime you can prepare the Focaccia Toppings.
    focaccia bread variations

Preparing the Focaccia dough (same-day Method)

  • mix lukewarm water, dry yeast and honey in a cup.
    150 grams lukewarm water, 5 grams dry yeast, 5 grams honey
  • add flour (all the flour including the one from Poolish ingredients).
    150 grams 00 flour / white flour, 50 grams 00 flour / white flour
  • add salt and mix together with a spatula for several minutes. The dough will be sticky at this point.
    6 grams salt
  • Cover the bowl with some foil and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  • After the first rise, the dough built gluten and will not be that sticky as when mixing togethe With a spatula, fold the dough from the bottom to the top (from the outside to the inside) a few times. Cover again with foil and let it rest at room temperature for 1 more hour.
  • After one hour, carefully take the dough out of the bowl and fold a few times.
  • Portion the dough (if you're doing several Focaccia) and form into a dough ball.
  • Oil a baking tray with a good amout of olive oil and put the dough ball into the baking pan. Slightly press the dough into the form. Sprinkle some olive oil on top of the dough and cover with some foil again.
  • Let the dough rise and rest again in the baking pan for 1 more hour at room temperature. In the meantime you can prepare the Focaccia Toppings.

Preparing the Focaccia Toppings

  • For a Tomato Focaccia:
    Cut cherry, Datterino or other tomatoes in half and put in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and some olive oil and mix together. The salt will drain out the juice from the tomatoes and mix together with the oil, which result in a very flavorful juice.
    2 handful cherry tomatoes / datterino tomatoes
    focaccia recipe tomatoes
  • For a Olive Focaccia:
    I personally prefer to buy stoned olives as they normally have more flavor. Pit the olives and put them aside for later.
    2 handful olives
    olive focaccia recipe
  • For a roasted garlic-rosemary Focaccia:
    Peel the cloves of about 2 garlic bulbs and put them into a small casserole pan. Add a pinch of salt, some rosemary and fill up with olive oil until the cloves are covered. Slowly roast the Garlic (like a garlic confit) at around 90° C / 195° F in the oven for about 2 hours. Let it cool down and put aside for later.
    1 sprig of rosemary, 2 bulbs garlic, 1 dl olive oil extra virgin
    garlic focaccia recipe

Preparing the Focaccia

  • Put some olive oil on top of the Focaccia (except the garlic-rosemary one) and make dimples into the dough with your fingers. Put the tomatoes, olives or both into the dimples, add a pinch of coarse sea salt, herbs like oregano and add an extra bit of olive oil on top.
    For the garlic-rosemary Focaccia, put the cloves into the dimples and cover the focaccia with the garlic-oil. Add some fresh rosemary on top so as coarse sea salt.
    2 dl olive oil extra virgin
    olive focaccia recipe
  • Cover the Focacce with some foil and let them rest for another 20-30 minutes.
    best focaccia bread recipe

Baking the Focaccia

  • Bake the Focaccia in a preheated oven (on middle level) at 230°C / 450°F for about 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
    baked tomato focaccia
  • Enjoy your delicious, fluffy and flavorful Focaccia Bread!

Notes

To make a Tomato Focaccia, it only takes a few ingredients.
And cause there are fewer ingredients involved, it is even more important to get ingredients of great quality. Be sure to get a good quality olive oil, fresh and ripe (small cherry or datterino have the most flavor) tomatoes so as good olives.
 
Calories: 560kcal
Cost: 6
dish: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: baked, Bakery, Foccacia, Italian, snacks

Nutrition

Serving: 200g | Calories: 560kcal

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @flavorthoughts on Instagram and hashtag it #flavorthoughts.

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