Super Easy Focaccia Bread (No Mixer Needed!)

This delicious pull-apart focaccia bread can be mixed with a spoon (no stand mixer, dough hook, or kneading required!), and it is so easy and fast to make. Perfect for beginners and expert bread makers alike!

Easy focaccia bread with piece on top of loaf.

This bread is glorious! Glorious, I tell ya. So ridiculously simple, this easy focaccia bread comes together really fast. Basically, it can be yours hot out of the oven in less than two hours. 

AND! You don’t need a fancy stand mixer or dough hook or extra time for kneading. A large bowl, a spoon, and you’re good to go. The golden baked bread is pull-apart soft and so flavorful (thanks to the olive oil, herbs and cheese). 

I made this focaccia bread last week to serve with a grilled orzo salad – the perfect pairing! Then, because I can’t help myself when faced with such a crazy simple bread recipe, I made it the next day because Instant Pot “Baked” Ziti was on the menu (can’t stop, won’t stop). Again, the perfect combo. 

You won’t believe how easy focaccia bread is to make

Seriously, all you need is a big bowl to get started. You literally toss all the ingredients in there and get to mixing. This particular focaccia bread recipe has shredded cheese (I use punchy, salty Parm-Reg) in the dough and it adds the most fabulous flavor. 

Mixing dough for easy focaccia bread in glass bowl.

The dough is actually more like a batter, and it comes together really fast. You can use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix, but lately I’ve been obsessed with this Danish dough hook {aff. link} one of you lovely readers told me about (thanks, Emily!). It’s kind of revolutionary when mixing yeast doughs by hand. 

A few lumps in the dough are ok, you just want to mix until there are no dry spots and the dough is really well combined.

Mixing dough for easy focaccia bread in glass bowl.

That’s it for mixing! No kneading or excessive carpal-tunnel-inducing stirring. 

Just scrape the sticky dough into a pan with a little olive oil on the bottom and then press it into a somewhat even layer. Greasing your hands is definitely appropriate here so you don’t end up with doughy monster fingers. 

Pressing easy focaccia bread dough into pan.

Classic focaccia has dimply dots all throughout the dough. I like to dimple the dough (best saying ever) before it rises, but if you want the holes more pronounced, wait to do the dimpling (and add the toppings) until after it rises. 

Whenever you decide to dimple, just gently punch your fingertips into the dough, drizzle with a bit more olive oil and top with seasonings and some more shredded cheese. Parmesan, Asiago or Parmigiano-Reggiano are my favorite cheeses for this bread, but I bet you could experiment with an armful of other options. 

Pressing divots into dough of easy focaccia bread in pan.

The seasonings are also adaptable. I have an Italian herb seasoning mix in my cupboard I think I picked up from Costco eons ago…and since it’s from Costco, it means it’ll last me a generation at least. You could use dried basil and oregano or dried Italian seasoning or really any seasoning blend you have and love. 

If your seasonings/mix don’t have salt added, I’d recommend sprinkling a little coarse, kosher salt over the top of the bread. 

Let the dough rise until puffy. As long as your kitchen isn’t frigidly cold, it should take about an hour. Then, bake! 

Easy focaccia bread in pan, rising, and baked.

Puffing even more in the oven, the golden baked bread with the wonderful crispy olive oil edges will fill your home with the most amazing smell making you feel like you might actually be living in a small family-owned Italian restaurant. 

I won’t judge if you make this easy focaccia bread simply to eat just the focaccia bread. No main dish. No dinner preparations. Straight up bread snacking. It’s an important hobby and one I take very seriously. 

If you want to take this next level, after you pull off a pillowy soft edge (you gotta get at least one edge because that olive oil crispiness is something else!), get your fancy pants on and dip the bread in balsamic vinegar and olive oil (maybe with some more herbs sprinkled in).

Whoa. Just whoa. If you do that and do NOT invite me over, our friendship is in serious peril. 

This bread makes me so happy

It’s pretty hard to describe my near-giddiness at posting this recipe today. Handing you the tools to make such an unbelievably simple bread recipe that looks/smells/tastes like you slaved over bread dough for hours pretty much makes my life feel very complete. Like, I almost couldn’t sleep last night knowing this recipe was going live today.

Also, I recognize that means I prolly should get more hobbies. Next year maybe. Until then, let’s both bake and eat our body weight in focaccia bread, m’kay?

Easy focaccia bread with piece pulled apart from loaf.  

One Year Ago: Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
Two Years Ago: Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins
Three Years Ago: Chili Lime Tacos with Mango Salsa {Grill or Instant Pot}
Four Years Ago: Simple and Delicious Sour Cream Muffins
Five Years Ago: Skillet Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

Super Easy Focaccia Bread

Yield: 9X13-inch pan of bread
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Super Easy Focaccia Bread

Ingredients

Bread:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzling in pan)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast (see note for active dry yeast)
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour (see note for whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan, Asiago or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Topping:

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (more or less) dried herbs or Italian herb/seasoning blend
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, Asiago or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Instructions

  1. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil in the bottom of a 9X13-inch pan (I use a metal pan; if using a glass pan, you might want to decrease the oven temp to 350 degrees F - also commenters who have used a glass pan are reporting back that the bread sticks so consider also greasing with nonstick cooking spray and lining with parchment).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the water, olive oil, salt, yeast, flour and cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula (or handheld dough hook; see pictures in the post) until thoroughly combined and no dry spots remain. The dough will be very wet and sticky.
  3. Scrape the dough into the middle of the prepared pan. Grease your hands and press the dough into an even layer (it doesn't have to be perfect but try to get it mostly even). Gently press your fingertips into the top of the dough to create little dimples (you can do this and add the toppings after it rises if you want the holes to be more pronounced). Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with herb seasoning and top with 1/2 cup cheese.
  4. Cover the pan and let it rise until puffy, about an hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and baked through. Let the bread cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan (turn it out onto a rack or platter), break or cut into pieces and serve.

Notes

For active dry yeast, use the same amount (1 tablespoon) and stir it into the 1 1/2 cups water and let it proof until it is bubbling (a couple minutes). Then add the other ingredients and proceed with the recipe.

I've had great luck subbing in half whole wheat flour (I use hard white wheat); I haven't tried it with 100% whole wheat flour. Also, if your seasonings/blend don't have added salt, I'd recommend sprinkling a little coarse, kosher salt over the dough with the dried herbs. Speaking of salt, if you use a less salty cheese, you might want to up the salt in the dough recipe a bit.

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Recipe Source: adapted from Bake from Scratch Magazine Fall 2015

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