Thank you to Red Star Yeast for sponsoring this post. Text and images by Lindsey Johnson.
When I was younger, there was an Italian restaurant in Downtown Salt Lake City that I really liked. The waiter would bring a big loaf of focaccia to the table along with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Honestly, that’s why I patronized the restaurant. The food was decent, but it was all about the focaccia. So. Here I am all these years later and I have been missing focaccia something fierce. I decided it was time for me to try my hand at a homemade gluten free focaccia recipe. Sun-dried tomatoes are one of my very favorites, and because gluten-free breads can be a little on the insipid side, I added some plus garlic and Italian herbs. No insipid bread here!
It took a few times to get the dough texture right. I wanted it to be light and fluffy like the Pani Popo I shared a few months ago, and sturdy enough to form into a loaf, like the Cheddar Sage Rolls. This was a great in-between. You know I love Red Star Yeast – it’s all I have ever used. I used enough to give it a little extra lift.
Another thing I tried this time, is a tip I’ve seen several times in gluten-free yeast bread recipes. I added some rice wine vinegar. I’ll be honest, I’m still not 100% sure what the vinegar does – there’s some science behind it for sure, but it really seemed to add some extra flavor and probably helped the texture be lighter. (If you know what the reason is, please share it in the comments!) This recipe is dairy-free, but I do use eggs. It needs the extra fat, moisture, and protein, in my opinion. They also add flavor. I’m sure a vegan egg replacer could be used, I just didn’t test that out in this particular recipe.
The baked texture is absolutely fabulous. It is incredibly soft and perfect for dipping into balsamic and olive oil. My husband, who admittedly doesn’t care for GF bread, said he *almost* couldn’t tell it was gluten-free. Ha! I’ll take it! It also filled my house with tantalizing smells every time I baked up another loaf. It made me think that if I press the dough into a larger pan, it would make a perfect deep dish pizza crust. You can bet I’m going to try that just as soon as I can!
- 1 cup warm water
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 packet (1/4 ounce) Red Star® Active Dry Yeast
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon dried Italian herbs
- 1 teaspoon mild rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 3 cups gluten-free flour mix (see below)
- ¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- GF Flour blend:
- 1 cup millet or sorghum flour
- 1 cup white rice flour
- ⅔ cup tapioca starch
- ⅓ cup potato starch (can use cornstarch instead)
- 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
- Place warm water in a medium bowl with the ¼ teaspoon sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and stir gently to dissolve the yeast. Let stand 5-10 minutes, or until foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs, ¼ cup olive oil, honey, dried herbs, vinegar, salt, garlic, and pepper. Add the yeast and mix on low until combined. Turn off mixer and ddd the gluten-free flour all at once. Turn mixer on to low speed and mix well. The dough should be pretty sticky. Turn off mixer and scrape down the sides and turn mixer back on to low speed. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and raise speed to medium-high. Continue beating for about 3 minutes. Turn off mixer and let dough stand 5-10 minutes. It will thicken a bit as it stands.
- Pour 1 Tablespoon olive oil into a 9-inch round glass or metal cake pan. Tilt to cover the bottom and sides. Transfer the dough to the pan and turn it over to coat the other side with oil too. Use your hands to pat the dough into an even layer. Pour the remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil evenly over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F while the dough rises.
- Bake focaccia for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and baked through. Remove from oven and brush with a little more olive oil, if desired. Cut into wedges and serve.
HOW TO PHOTOS + TIPS
This dough uses millet flour. It gives it a great flavor and imparts a slightly golden color. The sun-dried tomatoes also help with that. The dough is much looser and stickier than other doughs. It needs to be this texture so that it will rise high enough and stay spongy.
The yeast proofs in warm water with a pinch of sugar, as is typical with most recipes, then all of the liquid ingredients are combined in the bowl of a stand mixer and the dry ingredients are added all at once, except for the tomatoes. They do in last. The key step is to beat the dough on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes. The dough will actually have a little bit of structure similar to traditional bread dough – i.e. webs forming, stretchy, etc.
Press the dough into a well-oiled 9-inch cake pan. The sides need to be oiled really well so it doesn’t stick to the pan after it’s baked. I mound the dough in the center of the pan and then turn it over so it’s oiled on both sides. You don’t want the top to dry out while it rises or it will crack.
A longer rising period is good for this recipe. In other gluten-free yeast bread recipes, I don’t have the dough rise as long, but here it’s necessary. It needs time to really double, or almost double in height. It should come up above the rim of the pan.
Drizzle extra olive oil over the top and use your finger tips to gently make impressions in the risen dough. It does deflate the dough a bit, so don’t be too vigorous! Then it goes into the oven for about 25 minutes. The top should be golden brown. The bottom won’t brown quite as much. If you prefer a toasted crust, place the pan in the bottom of the oven for the last 5-10 minutes and that should do the trick!
Disclosure: I was compensated for my time in creating this recipe for Red Star Yeast. I only recommend products I really use in my own kitchen. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.