Gluten-Free Focaccia two ways: a slice of Italy

Bakealong Challenge: a monthly recipe challenge from King Arthur Flour
Today we’re sharing our gluten-free spin on this month’s Bakealong challenge! August’s challenge is to create a Pane Bianco, and we wanted to give those of you who are gluten-free, or are cooking for someone gluten-free, an option that is every bit as satisfying and delicious.

We’re making gluten-free focaccia not one, but two different ways. We’ll start with a plain version, so you have a simple base to go from; and then we’ll show you how to make a filled version that uses the same flavors as our Pane Bianco. It tastes like a slice of Italy!

If you’ve never made focaccia before, it might look very similar to pizza, and actually it is. Focaccia is an Italian-style flatbread that’s thick, soft, and fluffy, and might remind you of a thick-crust pizza without the toppings. Focaccia is a wonderful side to soup or salad, but can also be enjoyed at brunch or used as a dip picker-upper.

And just like our gluten-free pizza crust recipe, this gluten-free focaccia recipe is easy to make. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and dive in.

How to make gluten-free focaccia bread via @kingarthurflour

We’ll start by making our dough. Place the following ingredients into a large mixing bowl:

2 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour
3 tablespoons buttermilk powder or nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix until thoroughly blended.

How to make gluten-free focaccia bread via @kingarthurflour

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together:

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 tablespoons olive oil

Add 1 cup of the dry mixture to the bowl and stir to combine; a few lumps are OK. Set aside for 30 minutes or so, until the mixture is bubbly and smells yeasty.

How to make gluten-free focaccia bread via @kingarthurflour

Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. The mixture will be thick and sticky, but not elastic; it won’t feel like regular yeast dough. (Note: you must use an electric mixer to make this dough; mixing by hand doesn’t do a thorough enough job.)

Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest/rise for 30 minutes or so.

How to make gluten-free focaccia bread via @kingarthurflour

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 9″ x 13″ pan, or divide it between two 9″ round pans. Tilt the pan so the oil coats the bottom; it doesn’t have to be an even coating.

Sprinkle your choice of herbs (and pepper, if desired) into the pan. Don’t add sea salt yet; that comes later.

Scrape the dough from the bowl into the 9″ x 13″ pan, or divide it between the two 9″ round pans.

Using your wet fingers, start at the center of the dough and work outward toward the edges, pressing the dough to fill the bottom of the pan. Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 15 to 30 minutes, until your oven is thoroughly preheated.

Bake the focaccia for 20 to 23 minutes, until it’s set and the top springs back when pressed. It probably won’t be brown. Note that the bottom ends up as the top; since the top doesn’t brown and the bottom (in the pan) does, when you turn it out of the pan leave it bottom crust up, to display its brown bottom rather than its pale top.

How to make gluten-free focaccia bread via @kingarthurflourRemove the focaccia from the oven, and immediately turn it out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Sprinkle with coarse salt, if you’re going to enjoy it immediately. Note: if you’re going to reheat and serve it later, or serve it at room temperature, don’t apply the salt until just prior to reheating/serving.

Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread via @kingarthurflourCut the focaccia into squares or wedges, and serve. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, at room temperature for a day; freeze for longer storage (up to a month).

Filled Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread via @kingarthurflour

How to make filled gluten-free focaccia

The recipe above makes a plain gluten-free focaccia. If you’d like to give yours a bit more flavor, we have this delicious option that, just like our Pane Bianco from the Bakealong challenge, includes sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and a touch of Italian cheese.

Filled Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread via @kingarthurflourTo make a filled focaccia, prepare the dough as directed above. Stir the following ingredients into the dough:

3/4 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped (or 1/2 cup of your own oven-roasted tomatoes, chopped)
1/3 cup minced fresh basil

Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes, then bake as directed; either in a 9″ x 13″ pan or two 9″ round pans. Add about 3 to 5 minutes to the recommended baking time.

Serve as you wish and enjoy!

Filled Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread via @kingarthurflour

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for our Gluten-Free Focaccia.

Print just the recipe.

If you’d like to learn more about the Bakealong Challenge, check out our information page. You can also follow along on social media using the hashtag #bakealong; be sure to check out our blog because we’ll be sharing a new recipe each month. Sept. 1 will be our second challenge, another “looks expert, totally simple” treat featuring a favorite fall flavor: pumpkin.

Alyssa Rimmer
About

Alyssa grew up in Vermont, attended the University of Vermont and now lives in New York City, where she bakes and writes recipes for her blog Simply Quinoa. She’s been living gluten-free for over four years. Alyssa also authors her own food blog and enjoys ...

comments

  1. waikikirie

    Will be making this for my niece who has Celiac disease. Great that it can be frozen. Just an FYI: if you are purchasing pre-shredded cheese, check the label. They typically are NOT gluten free. They are coated so that they don’t turn into a big cheese ball. The “coating” usually contains gluten. Better off shredding your own (usually taste better, too!)

    Reply
    1. Donna Brasfield

      On the contrary, most major brands such as Kraft use potato starch in their anti-caking agents. Our local Hy-Vee brand is also safe.

  2. Kira

    Hello, Alyssa! Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I have several friends who eat gluten-free (for various reasons), so I am always on the lookout for more recipes to add to my repertoire – especially bread recipes. This is by far the best one I have found so far. I made the version for the filled focaccia and was delighted with the result. My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of it before we ate it. Maybe next time! Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The gluten-free focaccia is more of a batter than a dough, so it is tricky to shape. Gluten-free recipes often need the support from the sides of the pan to bake properly. If you’d like to get creative with the shape and serving of this bread, try using cookie cutters to make different shapes (once it is baked and cooled). Star shapes could be fun! Kye@KAF

  3. Sandy

    Hi Alyssa,
    This sounds wonderful, and I would love to try it. Unfortunately, I can’t have dairy. Is there something I could sub for the buttermilk powder? Thanks

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Sandy,
      You can use 1 1/2 cups of non-dairy milk instead of the water in this recipe and then eliminate the buttermilk powder. Just be sure to use an unsweetened, unflavored variety of non-dairy milk. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  4. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez- Petropolis- RJ- Brazil

    It’s really an excelent idea to wait the addition of coarse salt to the foccacia before we will serve it. One of the most common problem occured during storage of this bread is the ‘ decomposition ‘ of salt that causes a bad aspect to the visual of this bread specially drying the surface of bread maybe because of the high higroscopicity of the salt, contributing to turn the outside of bread hard early as we desired. Excelent post. I baked gluten free focaccia lots.of times here and the result is really easy way and easy bake bread. Love it!!!!

    Reply
  5. Regina

    Oh My! I can’t wait to try this recipe! Being an Italian with Celiac disease has been difficult. I miss my grandmothers focaccia. BUT King Arthur Flour makes gluten free dreams come true!!!!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for asking, Ann. We don’t often use the food processor for bread making, but we do have a few wheat-based recipes that call for this technique, and it seems to us like it should work for this gf recipe as well. We haven’t tried it ourselves, so it will be a bit of an experiment, and we can’t guarantee the results — if you do give it a try, let us know how it goes! Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Pat, try leaving out the dry milk/buttermilk and using lukewarm nut or soy milk in place of one of the cups of lukewarm water (round the liqui out with 1/2 cup lukewarm water). This will have much the same tenderizing affect! Mollie@KAF

  6. Donna

    I hate getting an all purpose gluten free flour when I already have such a collection of other gluten free flours. Could I just use a combination of them? Which flours would you recommend?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We hear you, Donna, and we do have a recipe for a make-at-home “Gluten-Free Brown Rice Flour Blend” that we recommend as an alternative to our Gluten-Free Flour: http://bit.ly/2bFWzwd. Just keep in mind that this works as a substitute in recipes calling for this flour blend only, not in place of our Gluten-Free Baking Mix or our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour, which both include other ingredients. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Alicia, there are other definitely other thickeners/stabilizers that can be used – guar gum, psyllium husk, chia seed and flax seed to name a few. Of these, psyllium husk is probably the most frequently used in yeast bread recipes like this one. We do all of our testing with xanthan gum, so just know that it may take a little research and experimentation to determine exact amount you need. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

  7. Jacqueline

    I made the stuffed focaccia today (to use the leftovers from the excellent Pane Bianco). Baked in a cast iron skillet and a cast iron scone/cornbread wedge pan. The tops were beautifully golden brown (actually looked better than the bottoms so I didn’t turn upside down). Turned out great!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      A cast iron skillet – what a great idea, Jacqueline! Thanks for sharing, and glad you enjoyed the focaccia. PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Pam,
      We’d be happy to help you troubleshoot your Gluten-Free Focaccia. We’ll need a bit more information about how you prepared the dough and any ingredient substitutions you made, so we hope you’ll consider giving our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE(2253). We’re ready to help come up with some solutions! Kye@KAF

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Sylvia,
      For this batter/dough you’ll use the paddle attachment. Thanks for double checking on this, and sorry it’s hard to tell in the pictures. ~MJ

  8. Bonnie Tanasse

    What is the best way to reheat this focaccia? I’ll be making it today for a family reunion we’re celebrating tomorrow.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Bonnie, just pop it back in to a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes, or until warm and slightly crispy. If you haven’t already baked this, we also recommend holding off on adding the sea salt on top until just prior to reheating/serving. Enjoy the focaccia and the reunion! Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Jenny, the batter needs to be mixed at a high speed for about 4-5 minutes for best results. If you have an electric hand mixer, you might want to consider using that instead as it can provide the speed that’s desired here. If you don’t have this tool either, you’re welcome to give your bread machine a try knowing that the dough might not rise quite as much as it otherwise would. The dough can be quite sticky, so spray all parts of your bread machine bucket before using. Good luck! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Linda, if you’d like to make this dairy-free, you can omit the buttermilk or dry milk powder and instead use 1 1/2 cups of plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk to replace the water. You can use soy, almond, or even rice milk if you like. The final result should still be delicious. Happy GF baking! Kye@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Loren, xanthan gum is the essential binder in gluten-free baked goods. If you decide to leave it out, you’ll want to include another ingredient to take it’s place like agar agar. (In that case, you’ll want to use about 1.5-2x as much.) If you’re able to bake with wheat, we’d recommend taking that route as they don’t need xantham gum to come together. If you have more questions, feel free to give our Baker’s Hotline a call at 855-371-BAKE(2253) so we can talk about specific recipes and changes you might want to make. Kye@KAF

  9. Kirsten

    Both times I’ve made this it has stuck to the pan terribly, even though I put olive oil in the bottom. Any ideas for getting it to not stick so much?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Kirsten, it’s important to spray the pan with a bit of non-stick spray before drizzling the olive oil into the pan. This way the focaccia shouldn’t stick and you still get great browning and crunch from the olive oil. If you’ve already tried that, then try putting a piece of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan before spraying it and using olive oil. We hope that helps, and happy baking! Kye@KAF

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