the best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

Focaccia. One of those treats that the gluten-free folks dream about …never imagining that there could possibly be a good gluten-free version. Well, I’m here to reassure you that it can happen. Thanks to the genius of Dr. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, you can easily achieve this at home. It’s all outlined in their book, Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.

Before we get started, it bears repeating that my first attempt at making any type of gluten-free bread didn’t turn out so well. It had nothing to do with technique. It had everything to do with me not reading the instructions carefully. As a result, I substituted a few of the ingredients with what was more readily available to me at my local store. I found out the hard way that you cannot substitute sweet rice flour for stone-ground rice flour. And that potato starch and potato flour are two very different things. If you have trouble finding any of the ingredients listed for the following all-purpose flour mixture, don’t worry. They are all available on Amazon here and here. They are also available online directly from Bob’s Red Mill.

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

Please don’t be intimidated by this all-important first step. It may seem like a lot to go through to make a loaf of bread but, really, if you have a serious issue with gluten or someone close to you does …you’ll find that it’s worth the effort. And the best part is that once you mix up your customized gluten-free all-purpose flour, you’ll store it in a large container and have it handy for all of your baking needs. The key is to measure each ingredient carefully. I found that measuring in grams on my food scale by keeping a running total worked out well.

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

As the authors state …“The ingredients must be very well mixed, otherwise, the xanthan gum or psyllium will not be evenly distributed and your loaves will be inconsistent. Whisk and mix the ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart lidded container. Finish by picking up the container and vigorously shaking until the flours are completely blended.”

You’ll be using just a portion of the flour mixture for this recipe. Keep the remaining flour blend on your shelf in an airtight container to be used for your next gluten-free baking project.

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

Add the measured amount of the flour mixture into your bowl. The yeast is sprinkled in along with the remaining dry ingredients. Once the dry ingredients are well combined, the lukewarm water is added along with the olive oil. It is recommended that the lukewarm water be exactly 100°.

I know this all may seem to be a bit much but please don’t give up on it. After all, it’s like a science project. And the final product is so superior …it’s worth the effort. You just can’t buy this at your local bakery. Well, maybe you can if you live in a large metropolitan area. But, for the rest of us, we’re on our own.

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix up the dough for about one minute. If not, just give it a good stir for about two minutes until the mixture is very smooth. The dough will be on the wet side so mixing by hand is effortless. And the best part is, no kneading necessary!

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

For this recipe, I used an Olive Oil Dough. It’s very similar to the Master Recipe that was used to make my Gluten-Free Artisan Bread, but with the addition of olive oil. Just for some added heartiness and flavor. If you prefer a lighter texture, go ahead and make your dough using the Master Recipe for the Gluten-Free Artisan Bread.

This is one example of why I love this cookbook so much. It’s packed full of suggestions for using alternate doughs as well as alternate toppings. And most of the recipes contained within cannot be found online. Believe me, I’ve tried. This truly is the most-used cookbook in my entire collection.

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

When the dough is first prepared, it does require a two-hour rest. After that inital rise, it can be used right away. It’s a bit easier to handle when chilled, but if you want to get going on this …it won’t be a problem. You’ll just encounter some extra stickiness. Whatever dough you won’t be using right away, store it in the fridge in a lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next 7 days. Or you can freeze it for up to 4 weeks in 1-pound portions. Just be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before use. 

Dust the surface of the dough with rice flour or any gluten-free all-purpose flour and pull off a grapefruit-size piece …the equivalent of about a pound. Quickly pat it into a ball on your prepared baking sheet that’s also been sprinkled with gluten-free flour. Smooth and flatten into an oblong-shaped disk by gently pressing with your fingers, until you reach a thickness of 1/2 inch. If your baking sheet is very large, you can actually bake two at a time with no issues.

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

Set your baking sheet aside and prepare the chosen toppings. For this presentation, I have used kalamata olives and fresh rosemary on one focaccia. On the other, I topped it off with sautéed shallot slices along with the fresh rosemary. These are merely suggestions. Choose what you and your family like best …just don’t go too heavy on the toppings so that the top of the bread can brown properly.

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

Once your prepared dough is dressed to your liking, let it rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes. The oven should be preheated to 425°F at this point with an empty metal broiler tray on any shelf that won’t interfere with the rising bread. I usually position the empty tray on the shelf below. When the bread is placed in the oven, you’ll pour a cup of hot water in the preheated tray to create steam. Close the oven door immediately so that you trap that steam.

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is medium brown. Check the progress after about 20 minutes to be sure the shallots or the edges of the focaccia aren’t becoming overly browned. If they are, cover the loaf loosely with foil for the remaining time in the oven.

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

Give the baked focaccia a few minutes to cool on a wire rack, then cut into wedges or squares. This is extra delicious when it is still warm from the oven.

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia breadthe best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

Adapted from Gluten-Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

Keep a supply of this gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture in the pantry. With a batch of this master boule dough in the fridge, you can enjoy fresh bread every day. Just takes five minutes of your time.

Servings 4 one-pound loaves
Author Rosemary Stelmach

Ingredients

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mixture

  • 6 cups stone ground white rice flour * (36 ounces / 1,020 grams)
  • 3 1/4 cups sorghum flour (16 ounces / 455 grams)
  • 1 3/4 cups tapioca flour or starch (8 ounces / 225 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cups potato starch ** (8 ounces / 225 grams)
  • 1/4 cup xanthan gum or psyllium husk powder (1.4 ounces / 40 grams)

Gluten-Free Olive Oil Dough for Focaccia

  • 6 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mixture (32 ounces / 910 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated instant or dry active yeast (0.35 ounce / 10 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (0.9 ounce / 25 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (1 ounce / 30 grams)
  • 3 1/4 cups lukewarm water at 100°F or lower (26 ounces / 740 grams)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (2 ounces / 55 grams)
  • parchment paper, for baking

Focaccia with Shallots and Rosemary

  • 1 pound Gluten-Free Olive Oil Dough for Focaccia (grapefruit-size portion)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot (about 2.5 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon for drizzling
  • 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper, for sprinkling on top

Focaccia with Olives and Rosemary

  • 1 pound Gluten-Free Olive Oil Dough for Focaccia (grapefruit-size portion)
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved (about 2.5 ounces)
  • 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper, for sprinkling on top
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mixture

  1. Whisk and mix the ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart lidded container.  Finish by picking up the container and vigorously shaking until the flours are completely blended.

  2. The ingredients must be very well mixed, otherwise the xanthan gum or psyllium will not be evenly distributed and your loaves will be inconsistent. 

  3. * Do not substitute with sweet white rice flour.

  4. ** Do not substitute with potato flour.

  5. If you’re measuring by U.S. cup-measures, be sure to pack the flour tightly into the cup, as if you were measuring brown sugar.

Gluten-Free Olive Oil Dough for Focaccia

  1. Mixing and storing the dough: In a 5 to 6-quart bowl or stand mixer, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar.

  2. Add the water and oil. Mix with a spoon or a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until the mixture is smooth for about 1 to 2 minutes. No kneading necessary.

  3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises, approximately 2 hours.

  4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 7 days. Or freeze for up to 4 weeks in 1-pound portions then thaw in the refrigerator overnight prior to use.

  5. On baking day: Preheat the oven to 425°F, with an empty metal broiler tray on any shelf that won't interfere with rising bread. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  6. Dust the surface of the dough and the parchment paper with rice flour or any gluten-free all-purpose flour. Pull off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Quickly pat it into a ball on the prepared parchment. Smooth and flatten into a disk by gently pressing with your fingers, until you reach a thickness of 1/2-inch.

  7. For the focaccia with shallots and rosemary: In a skillet, sauté the shallot slices over medium heat in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until softened but not browned; if you brown them, they'll surely burn in the oven. Strew the sautéed shallots over the surface of the dough. Allow some of the dough surface to show through the shallots; you may have some leftover at the end. If you can't see much of the dough surface, you're using too much shallot and your focaccia won't brown attractively. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the chopped fresh rosemary. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Finish with a light drizzle of about a teaspoon of olive oil.

  8. For the focaccia with olives and rosemary: Strew the olive pieces over the surface of the dough. Allow some of the dough surface to show through the olives; you may have some leftover at the end. If you can't see much of the dough surface, you're using too many olive pieces and your focaccia won't brown attractively. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the chopped fresh rosemary. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Finish with a light drizzle of about a teaspoon of olive oil.

  9. After resting on the prepared baking sheet for 20 minutes, place on a rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the preheated broiler tray and quickly close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is medium brown. Check the progress after about 20 minutes to be sure the shallots or the edges of the focaccia aren’t becoming overly browned. If they are, cover the loaf or loaves loosely with foil for the remaining time in the oven. The baking time will vary according to the focaccia's thickness. This focaccia will not develop a crackling crust, because of the olive oil.

  10. Allow to cool on a wire rack; then cut into wedges or squares and serve while still warm.

the best-ever gluten-free focaccia bread

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I have personally experienced all of these products, and I recommend them because I have found them to be of superior quality.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *