If you grew up in an Italian-American family, you’ll know that meals are always accompanied by bread. The bread was its own food group on the dinner table. It was used to soak up pasta sauce, salad dressing, or soup. Bread was an overall plate cleaner at the end of the meal.
Once your body decides it no longer tolerates large amounts of bread, everything you know about eating is different. The thing that used to fill you up and mop up your marinara no longer agrees with you. This is the time to start looking for other avenues to enjoy bread again.
Enter gluten-free bread. By using a mix of gluten-free flour alternatives, you can get pretty darn close to replicating traditional wheat bread. This gluten-free focaccia bread recipe is an amazing first step in creating delicious and tender bread once again.
This dish is one of the best gluten-free bread recipes out there. The flavors and textures are identical to traditional Italian focaccia by using imported extra virgin olive oil, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and whole fresh rosemary. The top of the dough is dimpled and crunchy, just like focaccia should be!
The dough itself is super versatile. You could use the same recipe, minus the olive oil topping, to make gluten-free English muffins, pan pizza dough, or sandwich bread. Fry the dough in a skillet using English muffin molds, or bake in a pizza pan or loaf pan to achieve those results.
The topping is versatile as well. If you don’t like rosemary but love thyme, go ahead and switch them out. Any fresh herbs would be a delicious and welcome addition to this gluten-free bread. If you grow your fresh herbs, this recipe is an awesome one to experiment with flavor combinations. Instead of Parmesan cheese, you could use another aged cheese like Romano or Grana Padano. Or, add garlic for a spicy kick.
You can bake this dough in a variety of different ways. A cast-iron skillet causes nice, crispy edges in the oven, and this dough is enough to make two 12-inch skillet focaccias. The recipe as written is for one large high-rimmed baking sheet, making one large focaccia loaf. Either way, the edges get crisp and deeply browned, which is imperative for good focaccia.
This gluten-free focaccia bread is a recipe that would make any Italian grandmother proud. Bring a fresh loaf to your next family gathering. They will love it!
In the largest bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Mix to incorporate with your hands.
Turn on the mixer to low with your dough attachment in place. Stream in the milk and melted butter and increase the speed to medium. Allow it to mix for 5 minutes.
Once the dough has come together to form a smooth dough ball, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for 2 hours. After 2 hours, you can bake immediately or refrigerate the dough for up to 1 week.
Prepare a large high-rimmed baking sheet with 4 tbsp of olive oil. Press the dough into the pan, covering the bottom of the pan as best you can. Dimple the dough with your fingers evenly across the focaccia. Cover again and let rise until slightly larger in size, about 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cover the top of the dough with the rest of the olive oil, rosemary, salt, Parmesan, and black pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and serve warm with soup or stew.