This gluten-free focaccia is pillowy soft and airy with a golden crisp crust. This Italian flatbread requires only 7 simple ingredients and 10 minutes of hands-on time, which makes it the perfect bread recipe for beginners.
What makes this bread special
Focaccia originates from Italy and is very similar in style and texture to pizza. If you are intimidated by baking gluten-free bread, then I suggest that you start with this recipe.
As I mentioned above, this is a bread recipe for beginners. And here is why:
- The dough doesn’t require kneading and it takes only 5 minutes to mix.
- It doesn’t require any special equipment, shaping technique, or scoring.
- You don’t need to have a bread pan, a simple 9x13 inch baking pan is enough.
Ingredients and substitutes
Gluten-Free Flour Mix. I recommend that you either use my homemade gluten-free flour blend or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. If you can’t get those, then you can make this bread using any other gluten-free flour blend, just make sure that it contains xanthan or guar gum. Note that starchy blends might need more water while other blends might need less, so you might need to adjust accordingly.
Sugar is needed to activate the yeast quicker. If you don’t use yeast your dough will take much longer to rise.
Instant yeast. I recommend using instant yeast because you can add it directly to all the other ingredients. I have not tried making this recipe yeast-free, so I wouldn’t know whether it will work out if you omit the yeast.
Baking Powder. Gluten-Free flours are known to create a more dense texture, that’s why it is very important to use baking powder here. Without it, your focaccia won’t be as light and airy.
Lukewarm water. This is a high hydration dough, meaning it has a higher ratio of water to flour, which is why this bread has that airy texture. The dough should feel more like a batter than a classic bread dough. Note that if you use different flour blends than the ones I recommend you might need to add more water to achieve that consistency. This will depend on the ingredients that your gluten-free blend is made of, starchy blends tend to need more water while other blends might need less, so you will need to adjust accordingly
Olive oil is what makes this bread so special and I don’t recommend replacing it with any other oil.
You can make focaccia bread only with sea salt or you can add toppings. The classic focaccia recipe uses only rosemary and sea salt but I like adding olives and parmesan cheese to it. My other favorite toppings are fresh cherry tomatoes and olives.
Some other toppings ideas would be sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, goat cheese, asparagus, onion, bacon, potato with blue cheese, and pesto.
How to make gluten-free focaccia bread
STEP 1 - Make the dough
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, yeast, sugar, and baking powder.
Warm the water to 110°-115°F (45°C). I usually microwave the water in a microwave-safe cup for 30-45 seconds.
Pour the water into the mixture together with the olive oil. Using a stand mixer, mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes. This dough should feel more like a batter, if it’s too thick add a bit more water.
Brush the dough with olive oil, cover, and let it rise until it doubles in volume. This could take about 40 to 60 minutes, depending on your environment.
STEP 2- Prepare for baking
Once your focaccia dough has risen it’s time to get it ready to bake.
Line a baking pan or baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. The olive oil gives the bottom crust great crunch and flavor and it will also prevent the dough from sticking.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and drizzle it with olive oil. Gently pat the dough into an oval or rectangular shape about 1-inch thick. Using your fingers poke dimples in the dough.
Drizzle a bit more oil over the dimpled dough and add your toppings. You don’t need to use toppings, you can make it with only sea salt but if you do use toppings make sure to press them down.
STEP 3 - Bake
Bake at 375° F (190°C) for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool at least 10-12 minutes before slicing and eating.
Why my dough is not rising?
There are 3 possible reasons for this
- Your yeast was dead.
- You killed your yeast by using hot water or putting your dough in the oven to rise faster.
- Your dough is too dense, in this case, the rising will be slower and the dough won’t be able to rise as much. This can happen if you are using a different type of flour than the ones I recommended or you didn’t measure correctly.
Why my gluten-free focaccia didn't come out light and airy?
Gluten-free focaccia dough is high hydration dough and that's the reason why you get that light and airy bread. If your gluten-free focaccia bread turned out too dense, you either didn’t measure the ingredients correctly or you used a flour blend that requires more water. If you use different flour than the ones I recommend, pay attention to how the dough feels when you are mixing it, if it looks more like a dough than a batter then you will need to add a bit more water.
Lukewarm water. Make sure your water is not too hot, because that can kill the yeast.
Brush the dough with olive oil. Before you let your dough rise makes sure to slick it with enough olive oil, especially if you are using a kitchen towel as opposed to plastic wrap. If you do not brush the dough with enough oil, you risk the dough drying out and forming a crust over the top layer.
Coat the toppings with oil. If you are adding toppings to your focaccia, make sure to coat them in oil to prevent them from burning.
Oil your hands. Focaccia dough feels more like a batter, so if you need to handle focaccia dough I recommend that you oil your hands. Make sure you oil them before poking the dimples into the dough.
Don’t add more flour than what the recipe requires. If your dough looks more like a batter than a dough, don’t worry, that’s exactly how it should be. So don’t be tempted to add more flour.
Use a stand mixer. Because this dough feels more like batter, it will be too difficult to mix it using your hands.
Use a kitchen scale. To avoid mistakes in measuring I recommend that you use a kitten scale
Don’t skip poking dimples into the dough. This is important because the dimples keep your focaccia bread flat, they also hold the olive oil and help it soak into the dough.
Gluten-free focaccia is best eaten fresh, but you can keep it in an airtight container or zip bag at room temperature for up to 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
To reheat: place the bread into a 400°F (200°C) oven for about 5 minutes.
How to serve focaccia
You can eat focaccia on its own, dipped in an olive oil sauce with herbs or balsamic vinegar, as a side dish to gluten-free tomato soup, shakshuka, olive tapenade, capers salad or you can make a focaccia sandwich.
You can make this focaccia yeast-free by adding one extra teaspoon of baking powder.
Unfortunately no, you need to use either xanthan or guar gum because they make the dough more elastic.
Yes! You can use any gluten-free flour blend just make sure it contains xanthan or guar gum. However, note that starchy blends might need more water while other blends
- Kitchen scale: when it comes to baking a kitchen scale is a must!
- Stand mixer: Focaccia dough feels more like a batter and is much easier to mix using a stand mixer.
More Gluten-Free Bread Recipes
- Gluten-Free Naan Bread
- Gluten-Free Garlic Bread
- Buttery Gluten-Free Brioche Bread
- Gluten-Free Garlic Knots
- Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls
EASY Gluten-Free Focaccia
- 2 ¼ cups gluten-free flour
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1¼ cups lukewarm water
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (for drizzling the foccacia bread before baking)
- 1 cup olives
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoon parmesan cheese or vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a smaller bowl combine warm water with year, sugar, and olive oil. Stir to combine, then let it bloom by setting it aside to rest for 3-5 minutes. (It should start to look foamy on top)
- Pour the water/yeast mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Note that your dough should look more like a batter. Kneading is not required here.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and set it to rise in a warm place for about 40min.
- During the last few minutes of the rise time, preheat the oven to 190°C (375° F)
- Line a baking sheet (standard cookie sheet pan, you will form the focaccia bread with your hands) with parchment paper and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. The olive oil gives the bottom crust great crunch and flavor.
- Pour the batter out onto the prepared baking sheet and gently press out using your fingers or the back of a spatula into an oval or rectangular shape (about ¾ of an inch thick)
- Use your finger to poke several holes in the dough all the way to the bottom of the pan. Press the olives into the dough. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh rosmary, coarse salt and grated parmesan cheese (if using)
- Bake at 190°C (375° F) for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool at least 10-12 minutes before slicing and eating.
- The focaccia will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Read more about storing tips, in the article above