Rosemary Thyme Focaccia

I’ve made many a focaccia in my life, but none came even close to this one. This is serious perfection: chewy, salty, flavorful and an all-around perfect snack. So what’s the catch? Oh, it only takes an overnight process followed by about 8 hours of baby-sitting. But if you’re one of us unfortunates, and you’re stuck in the house again because of a polar vortex, then this is a wonderful all-day recipe to keep you busy. I know it sounds like a lot of work (and it is), but it’s absolutely worth it. Please do make it the next time you set aside an entire day for baking, and I promise you won’t regret it! 

I served it with a quick mango seafood salad in the depths of -40F weather, but I imagine this to be a perfect summer dinner — you know, the kind you have after an exhausting day at the beach. 

Rosemary Thyme Focaccia
Perfectly chewy and flavorful focaccia
1863 calories
289 g
0 g
58 g
41 g
8 g
826 g
4742 g
1 g
0 g
47 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1863
Calories from Fat 512
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 58g
Saturated Fat 8g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 40g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 4742mg
Total Carbohydrates 289g
Dietary Fiber 12g
Sugars 1g
Protein 41g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1/2 cup (2.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  2. 1/3 cup water
  3. 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  1. 2 1/2 cups (12.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/4 cups water
  3. 1 tsp instant yeast
  4. 4 tbsp olive oil
  5. 2 tbsp fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme)
  6. 2 tsp kosher salt
  1. Day 1: We're making the sponge tonight. Heat 1/3 cup of water to about 110 degrees. Too hot and the yeast will die, too cold and the yeast won't do its job.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the warm water with 1/4 tsp yeast and 1/2 cup of flour and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is incorporated, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature 8-24 hours. This will create a flavorful sponge that will mix into the dough tomorrow.
  3. Day 2: Stir 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1 1/4 cups of water, 1 tsp of yeast into the sponge with a wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature about 15 minutes. This is a pretty wet dough, and it will stick to your hands quite easily, so I recommend only using a wooden spoon or spatula to work the dough from now on. You won't be kneading this by hand, as the dough is too sticky for that.
  4. After the 15 minutes, sprinkle dough with 2 tsp kosher salt and stir into dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. At this point, you want a fairly warm kitchen, preferably around 75F; the dough rises better at warmer room temperatures.
  5. After 30 minutes, using a wooden spoon or a spatula, gently fold the dough over itself by lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. Turn bowl 90 degrees and fold again. Turn bowl and fold 6 more times, for a total of 8 times. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Repeat the folding process, followed by 30 minutes of rest 2 more times, for a total of three 30-minute rises. *phew*
  7. Preheat the oven to 500F. Brush about 2 tbsp of olive oil all over a 15x11 inch baking sheet. Pour the dough on the baking sheet and, using your hands press dough as much as you can to the edges. It will pull back, so just let it rest for about 10 minutes, then gently try to spread the dough again. Keep doing this until the dough is relaxed enough to spread in a thin layer all the way in the baking sheet, about 15-20 minutes.
  8. When the dough is pressed out all the way in the pan, use your fingers to gently press indentations in the dough, about 30-40 of them. Sprinkle fresh rosemary and thyme all over the dough, then brush 2 more tbsp of olive oil on the top of the focaccia. Let the dough rest about 10 more minutes at room temperature.
  9. Place the baking sheet in the oven, then immediately lower the temperature to 450F. Bake until the top gets golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes before serving.
  10. Store focaccia at room temperature in a plastic bag for 2-3 days.
  1. Day 1: 5 minutes of work, followed by 8-24 hours resting overnight.
  2. Day 2: About 4 hours of attention, only about 20 minutes of actual work.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated
A Kitchen Odyssey