Herb oil focaccia

Herb oil focaccia

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Cooking time

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 40 mins Plus overnight fermenting and proving

Skill level

For the keen cook


Serves 6 - 8

This Italian olive oil bread is trickier to make than your average loaf, but absolutely delicious with its thyme, rosemary, bay and sea salt topping

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freeze bread only
  • Vegetarian
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving (8)

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For the starter dough

  • 15g sachet dried active yeast
  • 300g strong white bread flour

For the herb oil

  • 1 pack bay leaves
  • bunch rosemary
  • bunch thyme
  • 500ml extra-virgin olive oil

To finish the dough

  • 200g strong white bread flour
  • 15g fine sea salt
  • 75ml herb oil (above), plus extra for kneading and brushing
  • sprinkle of rough sea salt

To serve

  • herb oil, for dipping (optional)

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  1. First make the starter dough – mix the yeast with 100ml hand-hot water in a small bowl. Leave for 5 mins until bubbling. Add the flour to a large bowl, and pour in the yeast mix and another 250ml hand-hot water. Beat vigorously with your hand for a few mins. (The dough will be really wet but don’t worry, you’ll be adding more flour later.) Scrape all the dough from your hands and the sides of the bowl. Cover tightly with cling film and leave to ferment in the fridge for at least 12 hrs, overnight if possible.
  2. Meanwhile, make the herb oil. Set aside 2-3 sprigs each of rosemary and thyme, plus a few bay leaves. Bash the rest using a pestle and mortar (or use a rolling pin) to release the flavours, then stuff into a large sterilised bottle or Kilner jar, or a few jam jars (see tip, right). Heat the oil in a saucepan until just warm, then carefully pour into the bottle using a funnel. Leave to cool before securing with a lid.
  3. Take the starter dough out of the fridge about 1 hr before you want to make your focaccia – it should have risen considerably. To finish the dough, mix in the additional flour, the sea salt and herb oil until it’s soft yet slightly sticky. Knead the dough with extra oil for 5 mins until smooth and springy. Return to a clean, warm bowl and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hr.
  4. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Turn the risen dough onto a deep oiled baking tray (about 20 x 30cm) and press to a rectangle about 2cm thick. Break the reserved herbs into smaller bits and push them into the dough. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size.
  5. Once risen, press lots of holes into the dough with your fingers. Brush the top with a little more herb oil and sprinkle over some rough sea salt. Fill a shallow tray with some water and put in the bottom of the oven, with the bread on a shelf above. Bake for 25 mins until golden, reducing the temperature to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 if the bread starts to brown too much. Remove from the oven, scatter over the reserved herbs and bake for another 10-15 mins until cooked through. Cool on a wire rack until ready to eat. Tear into chunks and dip in more herb oil, if you like.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, April 2013

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RuuBee's picture

If in doubt, go for the lower oven temp with this recipe... my focaccia turned out well but with a slightly crispy crust on the thinner parts! When leaving to rise in the fridge (if you choose to do that step) make sure to put a lid as well as cling film on the dough, I was faced with a dough explosion in the morning!

Daisy@Cheaperseeker's picture

To make such a recipie needs at least two hours,ferment in the fridge is certainly not included.It's too long.

fran27's picture

If you can find Italian 00 flour, it makes a perfect foccaccia (it's the pizza flour, with a very high gluten content)

Rachel1195's picture

Great Recipie, but unecessarily complicated! if you want to faf around making a starter dough you can, but it works equally well, making a basic bread dough and leaving it too rise once, then you can add herbs etc and leave to rise again before cooking. Why over-complicate matters?!?