Focaccia Bread Rolls is a flattish Italian bread made with a little yeast and then smothered in olive oil when proofing. This focaccia recipe is very similar to ciabatta rolls, only a smaller open-crumb with soft and airy interiors, crispy crust, and yet dense enough to absorb sandwich spreads and sauces! Focaccia bread dough is so easy to work with and the rectangular square shape makes it ideal for sandwich bread! That means you can make all the panini sandwiches you’d like because these freeze great!
This Focaccia Bread Recipe is great for sheet pan focaccia cut into squares or to make into round loaves. We love to make this hot panini sandwich but cold cuts like Genovese salami will be fantastic! Explore our many bread recipes like my favorite sourdough bagels, No-Knead Bread, or this Neapolitan Italian pizza dough!
What is Focaccia?
Focaccia (Fuh-Kaa-Chuh) is a type of flat Italian bread, leavened with yeast and flavored with sea salt or herbs. Typically, olive oil is used to grease the pan, and in the region of Genoese (Italy), it’s common to see the bread indented with finger-sized holes. Focaccia rolls are small bread about bun size so they can be served as sandwich bread. Generally, focaccia recipes will call for olive oil or flour when shaping since this is a well-hydrated dough. The texture is somewhat similar to French bread and ciabatta bread, only denser making it perfect for panini bread!
Ciabatta vs Focaccia
Both focaccia and ciabatta rolls are flattened Italian pieces of bread made from wheat flour. Typically, focaccia is flavored with rosemary, salt, or herbs whereas ciabatta is more of a hydrated dough with bigger interior holes and a floury crust. Either bread roll is ideal for making a panini which is basically a small bread roll stuffed with deli ingredients or your favorite sandwich toppings!
Ingredients for Focaccia Bread Rolls:
What is in Focaccia bread? Focaccia is made out of easy and simple bread dough ingredients. It’s one of the most basic bread dough recipes and gets most of its flavor from the sponge technique overnight.
- Bread Flour- is a type of wheat flour made from hard red wheat. It is high in gluten (a protein) that makes dough stretchy and elastic. You could use all-purpose flour since this recipe for focaccia bread sponges overnight. I like to use King Arthur flour here.
- Water- this is a soft and wet dough, so the dough will be sticky and tacky. Start with warm water to hasten the overnight fermentation.
- Salt- I use sea salt that I grind myself.
- Dry Active yeast- will help make the dough lighter and tastier that a normal flatbread.
- Olive oil- is a popular Italian cooking oil pressed from ripe olives.
How To Make Focaccia Bread:
Ready to make homemade focaccia bread? This is an easy focaccia recipe, basically a no-knead focaccia. The gluten develops from letting the dough sit overnight, and the simple dough works like sourdough from proofing the yeast all night like a sponge. The process of making this bread is mostly hands-off and is quick to mix together and forget. I like to use mixing bowls with lids for proofing and this silicone pastry mat when working with the dough, it makes everything easier!
- Prepare the dough, and mix together the dough ingredients to make a wet and soft dough. Cover and leave overnight to sponge.
- Invert the dough to a floured surface and shape the dough into a loose ball.
- Divide into small pieces, by cutting the dough into 4 pieces using a bench scraper, then cut each piece into 3 parts to make a total of 12 pieces.
- Shape each piece into a ball, sprinkling with flour as needed.
- Flatten and press down each piece using a rolling pin (about 5-6-inch squares or rectangles.)
- Transfer the pressed dough to a greased sheet pan and spray the tops with olive oil. Now would be the time to sprinkle toppings on.
- Rise dough for 1-2 hours and then bake at 425°F for 20-25 minutes. Remove freshly baked rolls from the oven and cool them in the pans completely.
How Long to Bake Focaccia Buns? The best temperature to bake focaccia bread rolls is 400°F on the middle rack of the oven. I use a commercial-grade oven over convection bake, so, 350°F is what I like to keep it on so the bread rolls don’t brown as fast. After the 20 minutes, you can always broil the tops to get a nice golden crust if they come out too pale.
Can You Freeze Focaccia?
Yes! Most bread recipes freeze well however, it’s important to wrap and properly store bread for the best results. Focaccia rolls are best sliced and frozen 6 rolls at a time inside a gallon-sized freezer bag. Since this recipe makes a dozen dividing it in half is perfect for pulling out of the freezer without refreezing the others.
How To Store Focaccia Bread Rolls:
How long does it last? Focaccia rolls are best on the day of baking, however, if I know I won’t be using them within the next day, I will freeze them and pull them out when I do intend on making sandwiches. Generally, you can leave the bread at room temp for up to 3 days in an airtight bag or container, but I find the bread can dry out and get stale so freezing it as soon as it cools keeps bread at its freshest.
If you do find that your bread was sitting around too long (up to 4 days) you can store it in the refrigerator for an extra day. However, you will have to reheat the bread from the fridge as bread tends to dry out in the refrigerator. How to reheat: simply toast or wrap each roll in aluminum foil and bake for up to 8 minutes at 350°F to thoroughly reheat.
Focaccia or ciabatta bread rolls are typically shaped on a floured surface and then brushed or sprayed with olive oil. If you wish to customize your bread rolls here are creative ways to top them after the oil is sprayed on (you need the tops to be wet in order for the toppings to adhere.)
- Top with flaky sea salt or freshly ground black pepper
- Add dry minced garlic or dehydrated onions to the tops or you can add fresh garlic to the dough
- Sprinkle parmesan or Asiago cheese on the tops or bake focaccia rolls with thinly sliced tomatoes
- Top with fresh rosemary or thyme (I would coarsely chop fresh herbs)
- Use dried and add them into the dough, my favorite combo is 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic.
What To Eat with Focaccia?
Focaccia rolls are mostly used as sandwich bread, cut and filled. However, you can serve focaccia rolls individually as a loaf of bread, accompanied by a meal.
- Serve focaccia rolls with butter
- Cut and fill with your favorite toppings to make a delish focaccia sandwich! Focaccia bread is dense and chewy perfect to soak up saucy sandwiches like this French Dip sandwich
- Make focaccia pizza by cutting the bread roll in half lengthwise and topping each half with sauce and pizza toppings. Or you can use focaccia dough like pizza dough
- Dip focaccias into this Bread Dipping Oil or Zuppa Toscana Soup
What Does Focaccia Bread Taste Like?
Focaccia bread is a greaser version of ciabatta bread. It’s similar to French or Italian bread.
Why Didn’t My Focaccia Rise?
Why is my focaccia dense? Focaccia bread is a flat type of Italian bread but it should be thick enough to cut in half lengthwise for sandwiches. If your bread rolls were too flat it could be that your yeast is old or didn’t activate properly. Focaccia dough should be bubbly after the overnight proofing.
Tips for Making Focaccia Sandwich Rolls:
- Use a large glass pyrex mixing bowl that comes with a lid, to see the progress of your sponge (poolish pre-fermented dough) and keep it from drying out.
- After the rolls bake slice and freeze your rolls so they’ll be ready to use in sandwiches later. I like to focaccia lengthwise.
- This is a slow-fermented dough and this method of Levian (sponge or Biga) creates plenty of flavors! This method requires very little effort but makes a crispy crust with soft insides and a slightly open crumb! To hasten the method double the yeast.
- You can omit the yeast and make this with 1/2 cup of sourdough starter, and decrease the liquid to 1 3/4 cups of water.
- To make Artisan Ciabatta rolls, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the dough, 1/2 tsp more of dry active yeast, and use flour to shape the rolls (no oil for shaping.)
- Using warm water (anywhere from 90-110°F) will quickly activate the yeast and get the process going. You can also use room temp water.
- Mix the dough together until no more dry patches are left. Proof dough in a warm place after shaping so they rise nicely in the oven when baking.
- This is the best focaccia recipe using 4 basic ingredients of flour, salt, water, and yeast! Feel free to experiment with whole grains.
- Use an oil sprayer to evenly distribute the oil onto the pan and tops of the buns.
More No-Knead Bread Recipes To Bake:
- No-Knead Sourdough Bread
- Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
- Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
- Unleavened Bread (Matzah)
How To Make Focaccia Bread Rolls:
Focaccia Bread Rolls
- 1 large mixing bowl (for the dough to sponge)
- 1 sheet-pan (to bake focaccia)
- 1 pastry silicone mat (to shape the wet dough)
- 1 Bench scraper (to cut the dough)
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 cups warm water (between 90-110°F)
- 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- In a large bowl, mix together the dough ingredients except for the olive oil to make a wet and soft dough. Ferment overnight, covered.
- Invert dough to a well-floured surface (over a pastry mat.) The dough should be loose and soft, shape it into a ball and divide it into 4 equal pieces. Then cut each piece into 3 pieces to make 12 pieces in total.
- Shape dough pieces into balls, sprinkling with more flour as needed. Flatten and roll out each ball into a square or rectangle about 5 inches long.
- Place on a greased sheet pan and generally spray with more olive oil. Let rise for 1-2 hours.
- Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes.