Gluten Free Focaccia Bread with a crispy exterior and soft crumb. The olive oil flavor with the fresh basil leaves and cherry tomatoes is sure to make your day.
What is Focaccia?
Focaccia is an oven-baked Italian yeast bread. The bread is soaked in olive oil and is similar to pizza. It is topped with various toppings such as rosemary, cheese, and basil. You basically choose what toppings to add to it.
Difficulties in making Gluten Free Focaccia
Focaccia is traditionally made with high gluten flours, which gives it the bread texture it is known for. Therefore, making gluten free Focaccia is not easy as it requires that we alter the main ingredient, high gluten flour. Hence, making good gluten free focaccia bread comes down to the ingredients used and the process.
Below are some of the main ingredients needed to make gluten free focaccia bread:
- Gluten-Free Flour Mix: The gluten-free flour mix used to make this bread recipe consists of white rice flour, tapioca flour, and brown rice flour. I have not tested this recipe with other kinds of flours, and I do not recommend that you do so. As different types of flours absorb liquid differently.
- Yeast: One of the most critical ingredients in this recipe is yeast. Without it, this gluten free focaccia bread won’t work. I used instant active yeast, as I find it the easiest to work with.
- Olive Oil: Focaccia is flavored with olive oil; therefore, use high-quality extra virgin olive oil for best results. I used olive oil that my grandfather sends over every year from his farm.
Making Focaccia Bread
- Activate the yeast: To make sure that the yeast is active, we will first start by combining the water, milk, instant yeast, and granulated white sugar. Gently stir the mixture and set it aside for at least 10 minutes or until it starts to bubble. If the mixture does not bubble, it is time to get yourself new yeast and repeat this step.
- Make the dough: Add and combine the gluten-free flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt together. Then, add the yeast mixture to the center. Using a standalone mixer, with the paddle attachment fitted, beat the ingredients at medium-high speed until combined (2-3 minutes). Alternatively, you can do this step by kneading and forming the dough with your hands, but I highly suggest using a mixer as it increases the amount of air that gets entrapped in the dough. Then, add the olive oil and beat until combined.
- Rest the dough: Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, followed by a damp kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest for an hour before proceeding. This is the first rise. Then, add two tablespoons of olive oil at the bottom of a casserole, and transfer the dough to it. Gently using your fingers, spread the dough into the shape of the casserole. Then, cover the dough with the kitchen towel, and let it rise for another hour. This is the second rise.
- Finalize the Focaccia: Using your fingers, create dimples in the dough. Then generously drizzle olive oil on the gluten free focaccia bread. Now, add your choice of toppings. I added fresh basil leaves and some cherry tomatoes. Then cover the dough with the kitchen towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes. This is the third and final rise. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F).
- Bake the Focaccia: Bake the gluten free focaccia bread for 20-23 minutes or until a thermometer inserted through the middle of the Focaccia reads 93° C (200° F). Immediately, brush the Focaccia with olive oil to keep it moist. Focaccia bread is best served warm and fresh.
Trouble Shooting Gluten Free Focaccia
- The dough is not rising:
- Check the yeast: Make sure that the yeast is active by activating the yeast using the method mentioned above and in the recipe card. Do not skip this step.
- Baking Powder: The recipe includes baking powder for a reason, so do not omit it, and make sure that the baking powder is not expired.
- Add more liquids: If the dough is too dry, it won’t rise. The dough needs to be well hydrated and sticky. Therefore, hydrate the dough by adding one tablespoon of warm water, at a time until the dough is sticky.
- The Gluten Free Focaccia is dense:
- Dry Ingredients to Wet Ingredients Ratio: If the bread is too dense, you either added more flour than the recipe asks for or added less liquids. I suggest you weigh the flours and sift them to avoid over measuring and dry bread. If the dough is too dry, then hydrate the dough by adding one tablespoon of warm water at a time until the dough is sticky.
- Little air in the dough: To maximize the amount of air to be trapped in the dough to achieve the desired bread-like texture we want, I suggest using a standalone mixer with the paddle attachment fitted. I do not recommend using the hook attachment when it comes to gluten-free bread making. It just doesn’t work, trust me.
More Gluten-Free Bread Recipes
- Gluten Free English Muffins
- Gluten Free Cinnamon Bread
- Gluten Free Japanese Milk Bread
- Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits
- Gluten Free Flatbread Recipes
Gluten Free Focaccia
- 200 ml of Water at 49-55°C (120°F)
- 100 ml of Full Fat Milk at 49-55°C (120°F)
- 7 grams of Instant Yeast
- 32 grams of Granulated White Sugar
- 160 grams of White Rice Flour
- 65 grams of Tapioca Flour
- 95 grams of Brown Rice Flour
- 2 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum
- 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon of Salt
- 50 grams of Extra Virgin Olive Oil + 2 tablespoons
- A handful of Fresh Basil Leaves
- ½ cup of Cherry Tomatoes Diced in Half
- Add the milk, water, instant yeast, and sugar to a bowl. Using a spoon, gently stir the ingredients until combined. Cover the mixture and set it aside for 10 minutes until bubbles form.
- Mix and combine the white rice flour, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Then, add the yeast mixture to the center. Using a standalone mixer, at medium-high speed, with the paddle attachment fitted, beat the ingredients until the dough is formed ( about 4-5 minutes). You can also use your hands to form the dough. Add the olive oil and incorporate it into the dough using the standalone mixer or your hand.
- Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap followed by a damp kitchen towel. Let the dough rest and rise for an hour.
- Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a baking tray or casserole. I used a 28 x 5 cm ( 11 x 2 inch) baking tray. Transfer the dough to the tray and gently spread it into the shape of the tray with your fingers. Cover the dough with a clean damp kitchen towel, and let the dough rise for another hour.
- Using your fingers, create dimples into the dough and drizzle olive oil. Then, add the basil leaves and cherry tomatoes. Cover the dough again with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
- While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F). Bake, the gluten free focaccia for 20-23 minutes or until a thermometer inserted through the middle of the Focaccia, reads 93° C (200° F). As soon as you remove the Focaccia from the oven, brush it generously with olive oil to keep it moist.
- Let the focaccia cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring it to a cooling rack to cool down to room temperature.
- Make-Ahead Instructions: The dough can be made ahead of time. Store the dough overnight in the fridge after step 3. The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator, let it reach room temperature, and proceed with the steps above.
- Storage Instructions: The baked Focaccia can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and for up to three days at room temperature.
- Dairy-Free Option: This recipe can be made dairy-free by using full-fat coconut or almond milk instead of dairy milk.