Easy Vegan Focaccia Bread Recipe (No Kneading!)
Super easy no knead focaccia bread that’s crisp and chewy yet soft, and perfect for beginners and pros alike! Naturally vegan and dairy free, this homemade vegan focaccia bread is easily customizable with your favorite vegan toppings and easily made overnight!
Table of contents
- Focaccia origins
- Why you need to try this no knead easy focaccia:
- Vegan focaccia ingredients
- Overview: How to make focaccia soft & chewy
- Vegan focaccia toppings
- Can I make this focaccia gluten free?
- Troubleshooting your focaccia dough
- More vegan bread recipes you’ll love:
Focaccia bread is a flat bread that originates from Italy, more specifically in Northern Italy. However, there are various versions that span all along the country, ending in Sicily, where a bread very similar to focaccia originated as well (and is very close to the Greek pita!).
This favorite Italian bread was actually prevalent during Ancient Rome. The name, focaccia, actually derives from the Roman panis focacius, which quite literally means bread-hearth (or baked bread!).
How is focaccia different from bread?
While focaccia is a type of bread, it’s quite different from other doughy varieties, even pizza (however, my great grandpa used to use essentially a focaccia bread to make pizza- he was most definitely from Sicily ha!). While focaccia is a type of bread, it’s quite different from other doughy varieties, even pizza. This homemade focaccia is essentially a flat bread, but risen. It’s a very hydrated dough to begin with, and uses quite a bit of olive oil to hold the flavors and get a really crispy and slightly oil crust.
Focaccia is like an in-between bread between a lean dough and an enriched dough. Its base is very similar to a lean dough: water, flour, yeast, salt. But it does have added fat (olive oil), which is similar in essence to an enriched dough (but not quite!).
Unlike other breads, focaccia is also baked much like a flat bread. However, it’s very different in process than pizza, which ultimately gives it a different taste and texture over all!
Is focaccia bread typically vegan?
Generally speaking, focaccia bread is vegan. Most often, the fat used is olive oil; however, some restaurants (and recipes!) will call for eggs and butter, when the base recipe of a focaccia bread should almost always be just flour, sugar, yeast, water, and oil.
Where you’ll also get caught up is in the toppings. Not all focaccia bread toppings are vegan; however, I share my favorite vegan focaccia toppings in this blog post (skip to that section in the Table of Contents at the top!).
Why you need to try this no knead easy focaccia:
If you’re new to bread baking or an advance baker, this focaccia recipe is perfect for you. Focaccia is super easy to make, and requires no kneading (a.k.a. no stress!). This recipe in particular is also quite hands-off. You’ll do a few minutes of work, and then the rest is done by the yeast fermenting in the dough.
This vegan focaccia is the perfect introduction to bread baking and absolutely packed with flavor, making it a wonderful side to serve at a vegan dinner party, holiday gathering, summer barbecue and more. Plus, this focaccia is naturally vegan, making it friendly for all eaters to enjoy, vegan or not!
If you love soft, chewy, and deliciously flavorful focaccia, then you “knead” to try this easy vegan focaccia bread…that’s ironically no knead ha!
Vegan focaccia ingredients
Generally speaking, focaccia can easily be made vegan.
Because this is a vegan food blog, that’s just what we’re doing. I’m also going to recommend a few of my favorite vegan focaccia toppings below.
For this soft & chewy focaccia bread, you’ll need:
- Flour: you can use all purpose or bread flour. Both work here!
- Yeast: I used dry activated yeast in a 5 1/2 ounce packet
- Maple syrup: just a touch to activate the yeast
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
That’s the base of our dough right there. Super simple and absolutely delicious. For this focaccia bread recipe, I’m also showing you how to make a rosemary garlic-infused olive oil. This will be prepared during the first proof of the dough so that the olive oil has enough time to soak up all of the delicious flavors of garlic and rosemary!
Overview: How to make focaccia soft & chewy
For the full written instructions and ingredient measurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post! Here, we’ll go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.
1. Activate your yeast
First thing’s first, we must activate the yeast! Combine the whole packet of yeast with warm water (about 110-112F) and maple syrup. This helps to get the yeast going.
Mix this combination together with a wooden spoon, and let it sit and activate for about 5-10 minutes.
2. Make the dough & the first proof
What I love about focaccia is that you don’t need a bread machine or maker, nor any special equipment. To make the dough, simply whisk together the flour and salt, then stir in the yeast mixture with a wooden spoon. Add in half of the olive oil and work it into the dough with either the spoon or your hands until incorporated.
Then cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting: we’ll make the infused olive oil. Simple whisk together the rosemary and garlic, and set aside! We won’t use this again until right before the baking process.
3. Shape the dough and activate the gluten
After the dough has rested for 30 minutes, you’ll deflate the dough and begin to stretch and activate the gluten. This process replaces kneading in standard bread recipes. It’s actually a really simple technique, but follow along with the graphics below!
Simply pull one of the four corners of the dough up but not so tightly that the dough tears. Be wary of that! Then place the pulled corner across the dough. Repeat for the remaining corners, then cover the dough to rest again for another 30 minutes.
4. Second proof & beyond
After the dough has proved again, you’ll repeat the shaping process three more times for a total of four times. This will take a total of 2 hours. Alternatively, you can place the dough in the fridge to rest at least 12 hours overnight after the first shaping.
5. Spread the dough in the pan
Once the dough has been shaped, it’s time to shape it again- but this time in your baking sheet! Lightly stretch the focaccia to meet the corners of the baking sheet. If you notice that your dough is tough, you can cover it again in the baking sheet, and let it rest for 15 minutes. Then try again. It doesn’t need to be perfectly at the corners of the pan, as the dough will rise again.
Once shaped, place a clean kitchen towel once more over the dough and let the dough become nice and puffy before we give the focaccia those classic dimples!
6. Add the toppings & bake!
After the dough has rested, lightly dip your fingers into olive oil and press your fingertips gently into the dough. This creates the dimples that allow the infused olive oil to permeate the dough while baking. Then place your toppings on top of the dimples, and drizzle with your infused olive oil.
Sprinkle a little sea salt on top and bake for 22-27 minutes at 450F!
Then simply slice, serve, dip in olive oil or your favorite vegan dip, and enjoy!
Vegan focaccia toppings
The base of our focaccia is vegan, and we’re keeping the theme with the toppings as well. There are actually lots of fun and flavorful vegan focaccia bread toppings to choose from!
My focaccia bread that I’m showing here is topped with fresh sliced compari tomatoes and rosemary sprigs from our garden.
But here are a few more fun focaccia topping ideas and combinations:
- Sliced figs
- Chopped olives
- Herbs: rosemary, dill, basil, parsley
- Sea salt
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Fresh cherry tomatoes
- Fresh basil
- Vegan pesto (as shown here!)
- Sliced mushrooms
- Vegan cheese (such as Violife!)
- Caramelized onions
- Everything But The Bagel Seasoning
Can I make this focaccia gluten free?
This recipe in particular you cannot make gluten free; however, I do have a gluten free focaccia bread recipe on the blog that’s AMAZING! You can use the same toppings for that bread that I have used here.
Troubleshooting your focaccia dough
Bread making can seem intimidating at first. But I don’t want you to think of this as a daunting process! In fact, it’s actually quite fun and easy once you have the right tips 😉 They don’t say bread is the labor of love for nothing!
Here are a few tips:
- Use all-purpose flour or bread flour. This recipe has not been tested with glutenfree flour or Paleo flours. For those that need gluten free, please try my super quick and easy gluten free focaccia bread recipe!
- Don’t have maple syrup? No problem! You can swap in regular sugar at the same ratios.
- Your dough didn’t rise: There are a few things that could have happened here: first, you may have killed the yeast- too hot of water, and the yeast die. Or your water wasn’t warm enough. Aim for water between 105-115 F. It should be warm to touch, but not burn! Another reason why your dough didn’t rise might be because you didn’t spend enough time kneading. Don’t be afraid to put some elbow grease into it ha! The final reason your dough didn’t rise is because you either didn’t give it enough time to (patience is key!), or your area where it’s rising isn’t warm enough. I sometimes let my oven run just to heat up the room, or I place the dough underneath a light to help the dough rise.
- Use active dry yeast not quick rise! I have a LOT of bread tips in my brioche bread recipe. Please go check out that post for all yeast questions.
- Why is my dough sticky? Focaccia dough tends to be a bit stickier than say a cinnamon roll dough. Not to worry- you haven’t done anything wrong! You want a sort of wet dough to work with.
- Can I make this into a sourdough focaccia bread? I have not tried sourdough (yet!), so I cannot speak to this. However, if I come out with a sourdough recipe or sourdough focaccia bread, then I’ll update it here!
You are just going to absolutely love this homemade easy focaccia! It’s so flavorful and perfect for all occasions.
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If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!Print
Delicious and easy no knead focaccia bread that’s crisp and chewy yet soft, and perfect for beginners and pros alike! Naturally vegan and dairy free, this homemade vegan focaccia bread is easily customizable with your favorite toppings as well!
- 1 1/2 cups (360 mL) water, heated to 110-112F
- 1 packet yeast
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 2/3 cups (460 g) bread flour (or all purpose flour)
- 3 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup (100 mL) olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
- Pinch of sea salt
- Toppings of your choice: vegan pesto, tomatoes, olives, figs, rosemary, basil, mushrooms, etc.
- Read through the instructions before beginning. I also recommend reading through the blog post and seeing the step-by-step photos before beginning. You will need about 4 hours start to finish to make this vegan focaccia bread (but don’t worry- most of it is hands off!). Measure out all ingredients before beginning.
- Bloom the yeast: in a small bowl, combine the heated water, yeast, and and maple syrup, mixing for 10 seconds with a wooden spoon (or just adding the yeast to the water with the maple syrup). Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Make the dough: to a large bowl, whisk together the flour and sea salt. Add in the bloomed yeast, and use a wooden spoon to mix until the dry ingredients are just combined. The dough will be shaggy. Then add in 1/4 cup (50 grams) of the olive oil, and mix again, using your hands if needed, until you form a a dough ball and the olive oil is worked into the dough (I recommend dipping your hands in a bit of olive oil as well to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands!).
- First proof: Cover the bowl tightly with a clean dish towel and let the dough rest for 30 minutes in a warm area. It should double in size.
- During the first proof: Make the rosemary infused garlic olive oil. Combine the last 1/4 cup of olive oil with chopped rosemary and garlic. Whisk together and set aside to infuse while you’re making the focaccia.
- Activating the gluten: grease your hands again and gently deflate the dough by lightly pulling the dough away from the bowl and down into the bottom of the bowl. Now lift one corner of the dough and stretch it upwards, being careful NOT to break the dough. Fold the stretched corner over the dough ball. Now turn the bowl to the left and repeat. Repeat this until you’ve done this for four corners of the dough ball.
- Second proof and beyond: Cover the bowl again and allow the dough to rest for 20-30 minutes, or until it’s doubled in size again. Then repeat Step 5 three more times (you’ll have shaped the dough 4 times at that point), proving the dough for 20-30 minutes between each interval.
- Shape the dough: After the final proof, it’s time to shape the dough in the baking sheet. I used a 9×13″ baking sheet. Grease the baking sheet with olive oil, then gently deflate the dough. Place the dough into the middle of the baking sheet, and begin to gently stretch the dough to the corners of the baking sheet. It’s okay if it doesn’t quite reach. Just be careful not to break the dough. If your dough is slightly tough, you can cover it for 15 minutes in the pan, and allow it to rest. Then try stretching again.
- Final proof: Once the dough is shaped to the corners of the baking sheet, cover the baking sheet and proof the dough one last time for 45-60 minutes, or until puffy and appearing to be doubled in size. Towards the end, you’ll preheat the oven to 450F.
- Add the toppings: remove the cloth from the top of the baking sheet. Lightly grease the tops of your fingers and gently poke your finger tips into the dough to create dimples. Place your desired toppings on top of the focaccia. Gently whisk together the garlic rosemary olive oil and pour the olive oil over the toppings, making sure to evenly distribute the olive oil over the bread. Top with a pinch of sea salt.
- Bake: Place the focaccia into the oven to bake for 22-28 minutes, or until the top of the focaccia is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow the focaccia to cool for 10 minutes. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
- Storage: you can store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days, in the fridge for 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Gluten free: For gluten free focaccia, please see my gluten free focaccia bread recipe.
Keywords: homemade focaccia bread, focaccia bread recipe, no knead focaccia bread, vegan focaccia bread, easy focaccia bread