The BEST black pepper herb focaccia. An overnight process that is totally worth the wait.
Is there anything better than the smell of freshly baked bread swarming through your kitchen? I also find that there is a sense of accomplishment when you make a loaf, or in this case, sheet pan of fresh bread. This recipe has been in the works since November of 2019 and let me tell you, it was worth all of the endless testing. Tasty too! Someones gotta do it, right?!
Most focaccia recipes you will find online require bread flour. Now, you can absolutely use bread flour vs AP in this recipe, but i like the use os AP flour for a few reasons. It lends a really nice and chewy bread while still being really airy. Sometimes bread flour makes things too airy and I do think it can be too much sometimes. AP flour is also just way more accessible everywhere. Even I have trouble finding bread flour in the store and it drives me nuts.
SOME TIPS TO GET PERFECT HOMEMADE FOCACCIA
- Having a good quality olive oil on hand is key and using enough olive oil on the sheet pan is super important.
- All flour is different, so use a bit more flour if you think your dough is too wet. Add 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Let your dough rest. It is worth the overnight wait in the fridge. At a minimum 12 hours, but feel free to leave it in the fridge up to 48 hours with a well oiled piece of plastic covering the whole sheet tray so the dough doesn't dry out.
- Be super gentle when transferring your dough from the bowl to sheet pan. You want to deflate the dough some, but not release too many air pockets.
- When you are stretching and pulling your dough to the corners of your sheet pan, be patient and gentle not ripping the dough. If it is having trouble pulling, cover it and let it rest another 5 minutes.
- When you press your fingertips into the dough, press all the way down to the bottom of the sheet pan to make the best possible dimples. This is called "docking" and it is to ensure an even rise, but also catch all of the yummy olive oil!
- Use as much or as little herbs and shallots as you want. I prefer more with a good amount of flaky salt on top and a good crack of black pepper.
HOW TO MAKE BLACK PEPPER HERB FOCACCIA
I am super thorough in my instructions below, but let me give you a quick break down.
In a stand mixer with your dough hook attachment, combine flour and water to form a shaggy dough. Add your bloomed yeast mixture, salt and black pepper and mix on low speed to incorporate the water. Then kick up your speed to medium and let it knead for 4-5 minutes until you get a sticky, elasticy dough. Your dough will stick to the sides of the bowl, no worries there!
Coat a large bowl with a lot of olive and gently scrape the dough into oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 2.5 hours or doubled in size. Once it is doubled, get a large baking sheet and cover it entirely with olive oil. More than you think you need. Using a bench scraper or spatula fold the dough over itself 3 times to gently deflate the dough. Scrape it out onto oiled sheet pan and fold over itself 2 more times. Cover and let rest 20 minutes. Once rested, oil your hands up super well and gently stretch the dough across the length of the entire sheet pan, careful not to tear. Remember what I said above about the stretching?) Cover it with a oiled piece of plastic or wax paper and refrigerate overnight.
Remove dough from fridge and let it rise once more in a warm spot for 1 hour. Dock your dough with your fingertips, drizzle with heaps of olive, salt, pepper, herbs and shallots. Bake in a super hot oven until the bread develops a deep golden brown color.
CAN YOU MAKE BLACK PEPPER HERB FOCACCIA IN ADVANCE?
Absolutely and that is seriously the beauty of this easy focaccia recipe. Like mentioned above, the dough needs at least 12 hours in the fridge, but can sit in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Alternatively you could bake off your herb focaccia 1 day in advance and wrap it tightly in plastic at room temp.
YOU CAN USE THIS FOCACCIA TO ALSO MAKE:
- Chimichurri Lamb Meatballs
- Roasted Veggie Burrata Antipasto Sandwich with Tarragon Lemon Basil Pesto
- Herby Gruyere Creamed Spinach Challah Bread Pudding
- Best Ever Tinned Fish Sandwich
If you make this Herb Focaccia Recipe recipe please let me know by leaving a rating/review below! And make sure to sign up for emails so you never miss a new recipe and follow along on my Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook for more About to Sprout goodness!
The Best Overnight (Worth it!) Focaccia with Herbs and Shallots
- 6 cups all purpose flour more is needed (see notes)
- 2 cups + 2 tbsp room temp water
- 1 package of active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
- pinch of sugar or honey
- ¼ cup warm water for the yeast
- 2 ½ tbsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper finely ground
- ¼ cup + 3 tbsp. olive oil divided
- 1 medium-large shallot thinly sliced
- 3 springs of rosemary leaves removed and chopped
- flaked salt + black pepper for topping
- Attach a dough hook to your stand mixer. Combine flour and 2 ¼ cups water in the bowl of your stand mixer and mix on low speed to just incorporate. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and incorporate dry flour sitting at the bottom of the bowl until a shaggy dough is formed
- Prepare your yeast. Add yeast and sugar to a small bowl. Slowly pour warm water over and stir with a fork to dissolve the yeast. Let that sit 5 minutes, until nice and foamy and the yeast is active
- Once foamy, pour yeast mixture over your shaggy dough in the stand mixer. Mix together on low speed to incorporate all of the liquid, then bump the speed up to medium adding salt and pepper. Let the mixer knead the dough until a very sticky and elasticy dough forms, about 4-5 minutes. The dough will stick to the sides of the bowl
- Add ¼ cup olive oil to a large bowl and coat the entire bowl. Using a bench scraper or spatula, scrape the dough into the oiled bowl, allowing the dough to sit in the olive oil. Cover and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 2 ½ hours.
- Once doubled in size, cover a large sheet pan with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Using a bench scraper or spatula fold the dough over itself 3 times to very gently deflate the dough slightly then scrape the dough onto the baking sheet. Once on the baking sheet fold the dough over itself 2 more times, very gently and cover for 20 minutes.
- After the 20 minute rest, with well oiled hands, gently stretch the dough across the length of the entire baking sheet, working all the way to every corner of the baking sheet, careful not to tear the dough, be super gentle.
- Cover with a well oiled sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for overnight-minimum 12 hours maximum 48 hours
- Remove from fridge and let the dough(still covered we don’t want it to dry out) come to temp in a warm spot for 45 minutes to 1 hour to let the dough rise again and preheat oven to 450F
- Remove the plastic and drizzle heavily with more olive oil 3-4 tablespoons will be perfect. Firmly press your fingers into the dough all the way to the bottom of the pan to make dimples all over the dough.
- Add your rosemary, shallots and a generous amount of sea salt or flaked maldon salt and bake for 25-30 minutes until it is a golden brown all over the top
- Let cool in pan for 15 minutes and then using a metal spatula loosen the focaccia from the pan and place on a cooling rack to cool entirely
*All flour is different. You may need a bit more flour if you feel your dough is too wet.
(By that I mean, if there is still water sitting anywhere in your bowl) Add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until you wet a sticky dough.