Notes from a Bitter Baker: How to make focaccia bread

Yvonne Rogell bakes up some savory Italian focaccia bread. (Photo by Yvonne Rogell)Yvonne Rogell, aka the Bitter Baker, gave an Italian focaccia bread demo during the Seattle Globalist Live Variety Show on May 15th. Relive the tasty magic and follow the recipe at home.

Focaccia with red onion, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives and Italian herbs

Total time: 2-4 days to prepare the dough. Then another 4-5 hours to let the dough rise and baking the focaccias. Makes 2 focaccias. Recipe for the dough adapted from Karen’s Kitchen Stories.


  • 1.25 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 567 g (20 oz) bread flour
  • 2.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • 1/2 red onion
  • 50 olives
  • 2/3 cup sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 tbsp Italian herbs, or oregano

Stretch and fold process (Photo by Yvonne Rogell)Mix some of the warm water with the active dry yeast to let it foam up and get active. Mix in the remaining water, sea salt and bread flour.

Let the dough rest in the bowl for 5 minutes, then add the olive oil and mix further for about 1 minute. Put the dough in a new, lightly oiled bowl and let it rest 10 minutes. Take out the dough on an oiled surface. Stretch it out and fold it over itself from all four sides, using your hands or a scraper. Turn the dough upside down and put it back in the bowl. Let it rest 10 minutes.

Repeat the stretch-and-fold method three more times, and let the dough rest in the bowl for ten minutes after each stretch-and-fold treatment. After the final stretch-and-fold (four total), cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let ferment in your fridge for 2-4 days.

Day 2 (or within four days)
I took out my dough from the fridge on the third day. When you take it out, let it first sit in room temperature for three hours. You can leave the plastic wrap on. Prepare the topping by slicing the red onion and olives in thin slices. Chop the sundried tomatoes and mix everything together with the Italian herbs.

When three hours have passed, carefully take out the dough on an oiled work bench. Stretch out the dough to a 9″x9″ square. Cut the dough in half. Spread out a third of your toppings on top of the focaccias. Fold each piece in thirds. Place the pieces on a lightly oiled parchment paper or a baking sheet, seamside down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour.

After one hour, carefully stretch out the focaccias. Try not to punctuate any of the air bubbles that have formed. Spread out a second third of your toppings on top of the focaccias. Fold in thirds, flip upside down and put them back on the parchment paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest another hour.

Add your toppings. (Photo by Yvonne Rogell)

Preheat the oven to 500°F. As quick, and as painless as you can, transfer the focaccias from the baking sheet to a greased oven tray (this is hard, I know! But as long as you do your best, you’ll be just fine, and the focaccias will turn out great). Spread the last third of your toppings on top of the focaccias. Press your fingertips down on the focaccias, to create little dents in the dough.

Bake at 500°F for ten minutes, then turn down the temperature to 450F and bake another 20 minutes. If the focaccias have plenty of color, but don’t sound hollow when you knock on the bottom, flip them upside down and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Let cool on a rack and enjoy!

Discover more recipes and videos from our Live Variety Show here.