This Black Pepper Focaccia is sure to become a staple recipe at your house! Focaccias are very easy to make (they just take some time), and the black pepper adds just the right kick to the bread. It's perfect to enjoy on its own, with an appetizer, or even sliced to make a sandwich!
Why you'll love this recipe
- This easy recipe comes together with just 20 minutes of hands-on time (the rest is rising / baking time).
- Focaccia is very easy to make and very forgiving. It is a great recipe for beginners or for making with kids!
- This light and crusty Black Pepper Focaccia is delicious to enjoy on its own as a snack, appetizer, or even sliced for a sandwich.
- Focaccia freezes well, so you can make a batch and freeze some to enjoy later!
This Black Pepper Focaccia recipe comes together with just a few key ingredients.
- Active dry yeast: You'll need one envelope or 2 ¼ teaspoons. Your yeast should foam once it's combined with the hot water and honey. If it doesn't foam after a few minutes, your yeast is dead. You'll need to start over with fresh yeast!
- Honey: You could substitute sugar or maple syrup if you prefer. The point is to feed the yeast.
- All-purpose flour: This is the bulk of your dough and makes a soft, fluffy focaccia.
- Black pepper: Freshly ground black pepper is the best! I also like to use a coarser grind because I like the pepper pieces to be really present in the final bread.
- Olive oil: You'll use quite a bit (it's focaccia, after all!), so make sure you're using a good one that you like the taste of.
- Flaky sea salt: This will be for topping. I like to use Maldon Sea Salt for this.
See full recipe below for detailed instructions.
Substitutions & Variations
This recipe is very easy to adapt to make it your own. Below are a few easy variations to try:
- Add rosemary: You can add fresh herbs such as rosemary when you're dimpling the dough, before baking. This would also work with other herbs like thyme or sage!
- Add fresh fruit: This might sound a bit odd at first, but focaccia is delicious with fresh fruit such as blackberries, strawberries, and peaches. Slice the fruit (if needed) and press it into the dough as you're dimpling, before baking. It will add a little sweetness to the bread!
- Add tomatoes: You can also halve cherry tomatoes and press them into the dough as you're dimpling, before baking.
- Add pesto: Drizzle some fresh pesto onto the dough as you're dimpling to make a Pesto Focaccia.
- Sourdough Discard Focaccia: You can also make focaccia using sourdough discard (with black pepper as well). Check out this recipe for Sourdough Discard Focaccia.
I have not tested this recipe with other variations, but if you do, let us know how it turns out in the comments! I always love to hear how you're adapting these recipes and use those as ideas for future recipes as well!
How to make Black Pepper Focaccia
Focaccia is very forgiving, and as long as you give it enough time to rise, you're going to end up with a tasty treat!
Combine your dough ingredients, cover, and let rise for 2-3 hours, until doubled in size.
Transfer to a well-oiled 13x9-inch baking pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel for the second rise.
After the second rise, the dough will fill (or nearly fill) the baking pan.
Drizzle with olive oil and use your fingers to push dimples into the dough, all over. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, then bake.
After baking, drizzle the focaccia with some extra olive oil and let the bread cool for a few minutes in the pan. Then, transfer to a cooling rack to cool fully or slice to serve.
Expert Baking Tips
- This will be a very shaggy dough (you could not knead this, even if you wanted to!). Trust the process here!
- Make sure to give enough time to the rises. Rise time will vary depending on the temperature of your room (a warmer room will need less rise time, and a cooler room will need more rise time).
- You want the dough to double in size with each of the rises. This is what will help make sure you have a light and fluffy focaccia!
- Be generous with the olive oil! Make sure you generously oil the pan, then be generous when you're drizzling oil on top of the dough. This will soak into the bread and give it a wonderful flavor, as well as additional moisture.
- Focaccia freezes well, so it's great to make a batch and then freeze some to enjoy later!
Can you use focaccia to make a sandwich?
Yes, absolutely! This will be a light and fluffy focaccia, that you could easily cut in half horizontally and use as the two pieces of bread for a sandwich.
I like to use a KitchenAid 5-Quart Stand Mixer to mix the dough, but this is optional. You could also make the dough in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.
Room Temperature Storage: Focaccia can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 days. It will begin to dry out, but you can always reheat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to make it warm and soft again. If needed, drizzle with some additional olive oil.
Freezer Storage: Focaccia freezes very well. Once it's fully cooled, cut it into individual pieces and transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe bag (I recommend one serving per bag so it's easy to grab when you want a piece!). Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheat the focaccia in the microwave for about 60 seconds to make it warm and soft again. If needed, drizzle with some additional olive oil.
While your dough is rising, make sure it is covered with either plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. If your dough seems to have dried out a bit on top, too much air is reaching the dough as it rises. Plastic wrap is always a good option for letting less air in.
If your final baked bread seems like it's a bit flat or doesn't rise in the oven as much as it should, then you likely didn't let the dough rise long enough during the first and second rises.
Focaccia freezes very well. Once it's fully cooled, cut it into individual pieces and transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe bag (I recommend one serving per bag so it's easy to grab when you want a piece!). Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat the focaccia in the microwave for about 60 seconds to make it warm and soft again.
Black Pepper Focaccia
- 2 ½ cups warm water
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast one envelope
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 8 Tablespoons olive oil
- flaky sea salt for topping
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook*, combine the warm water and honey, then sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy. If it doesn't foam, your yeast is dead; you'll need to discard everything and start again with fresh yeast.
- Add the flour, salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix on low just until combined and no dry spots remain. This will be a very shaggy dough.
- Transfer the dough to a large, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 2-3 hours (this will vary depending on the temperature of your room).
- Brush a 13x9 inch pan generously with olive oil (about 3 Tablespoons) and set aside.
- Once the dough has completed the first rise, use a spatula to gently deflate and fold the dough as you turn and scrape around the outside of the bowl. You'll make about 4 folds as you go around the bowl. Transfer the dough to the center of the prepared baking pan. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm, dry place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ - 2 hours. The dough should expand to fill, or nearly fill, the baking pan.
- Towards the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 450°F. Generously drizzle the dough with olive oil (about 3 Tablespoons) and use your fingers to press dimples all over the dough. Sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the focaccia is puffed, golden brown, and crusty. Remove from the oven and drizzle with an additional 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool fully. Slice and enjoy!