Rosemary Focaccia

CATEGORIES: Bread Loaves, Italian, Kate

So this is actually a recipe that I got from Sara a couple of years ago and I just love it. It tastes a lot like the focaccia bread that you get at Macaroni Grill, only (at least I think) better: warm, soft, a little salty; rip off a piece (no knives here) and dip it in some extra-virgin olive oil with a dash of balsamic vinegar and some freshly ground black pepper and you have a meal! Seriously, I could just eat it for dinner and call it a night! If you’re more interested in balanced nutrition, slice each loaf in half length-wise and add Garlic-Herb Sandwich Spread, smoked turkey, Provolone, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce and then cut into wedges. Or try it alongside a bowl of Italian Turkey Soup–it’s a relatively easy, elegant, homemade, soul-satisfying meal perfect for a chilly fall evening.

Scared of making yeast bread? Don’t be! Follow our handy-dandy yeast tips and you’ll sail through with flying colors!

Rosemary Focaccia Loaves
Recipe by Our Best Bites

*no, you’re not going crazy, this recipe has been tweaked from it’s original posting for added yumminess!

1 c. warm (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit) water
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp rosemary (dried or fresh), divided
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 1/4-2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Allow to stand for 10 minutes or until bubbly. While the yeast is getting bubbly, combine 2 C of the flour, salt, 1 1/2 Tbsp. rosemary, oregano and garlic powder.


Add flour mixture to yeast mixture along with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Mix well. (I put it in my stand mixer with the dough hook on). Slowly add remaining flour to make a very soft dough–try and resist the urge to add too much flour.  You want a soft, wet dough.

Cover and allow to rise 45 min- 1 hour or until double in size.

Lightly flour your work surface and transfer dough onto this surface. Divide in half. Shape each half into a rounded loaf and place on a greased cookie sheet or pizza stone. Cover and allow to rise another 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use remaining tablespoon of olive oil to brush over tops of loaves, discarding excess if you have any.  Sprinkle with remaining rosemary and some Kosher salt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until very lightly golden-brown. Serve immediately (if you can) with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (if you want) and feel your butt get bigger (you will. It just happens. And it’s worth it.)

70 comments

  1. Seriously one of my favorite things. Ever.

    It’s been way too long since I’ve made it. It just might have to get added to my menu this week!

  2. Emily–Yeah, I’m pretty sure you just use the same amount. I really don’t like rosemary very much, but I LOVE this bread!

  3. Oh, darn you, this is making me miss my lunch outings with my little sister at the M Grille! I can just imaging the smell when it came out of the oven…

  4. Emily- about the fresh vs. dried, the basic rule of thumb is 1 part dry = 3 parts fresh. The amount you sprinkle on top can stay the same, but you’ll definitely want to increase the the amount that goes into the dough to 3T instead of one.

    Kate- you don’t like Rosemary very much? We finally found something we differ on! Lol. Rosemary is definitely my favorite herb, I LOVE it in just about everything!

  5. I think I will need to just go ahead and glue a loaf to each cheek. Cause that’s right where it’s going.

  6. Sara gave me this recipe about a month ago because I wanted to make a yummy dinner for my anniversary. I made a pasta dish with the garlic sauce and this bread, it was to die for!! I have made it 3 times since. Definitely a winner!!

  7. Great bread, Sara first made this a couple of valentine days ago and it was amazing! Better than Macaroni Grill by far…

  8. Yum!! I made it tonight and oh it was amazing. I was thinking I might have some leftover to make sandwich’s with it, but no luck, it was all gone at the end of dinner!

  9. Question- If I can only bake one at a time, what do I do with the other loaf? Stick it in the fridge? Leave it out? This is the main reason I don’t make bread, I have no idea what to do with the extra while the rest is baking. Help please!

  10. Manda, these are teeny, tiny loaves–like small enough that I can fit both of them on my pizza stone and they’d easily fit on a cookie sheet. If you truly have a teeny tiny oven (like toaster oven small), then I would probably just pop the other loaf in the fridge… 🙂 Good luck! Let us know how it turns out!

  11. Love Macaroni Grill! I will be trying this. Can you explain the difference between Sea Salt and Kosher Salt? Would Sea Salt work? Thanks!

  12. Shannon-
    We’ve been meaning to do an entire post about salt because we get lots of questions about it. The main difference in table salt vs. kosher salt vs. sea salt is the texture. Kosher salt also has a very pure flavor, and larger crystals (like you can see in that picture). If you don’t have any, sea salt would be a good substitution. The flavor of Kosher salt is more mild than regular table salt, and sea salt is more mild as well. You could use regular table salt in the dough (where it will dissolve) and sea salt sprinkled on top.

  13. Suzanna–To be honest, I’m not sure how well it would work with whole wheat flour. You could give it a shot by all means, but it’s a very lightweight, spongy, almost delicate yeast bread, so you may have a hard time achieving that texture with wheat flour. Someday soon we’ll post some heartier bread recipes, but if you try it out with wheat flour, let us know how it goes!

  14. I made this for a luncheon on Thursday and it was wonderful (and super easy). Thanks for the great recipe.

  15. I have always been afraid to make bread . . . my mom ALWAYS made bread (even ground her own wheat?!). So thanks for the tips and I WILL be making this soon!

  16. I saw so excited to try this bread and it didn’t work 🙁 I’ll admit I’ve NEVER made bread with yeast before so I think I did something wrong. I followed the recipe to the tee, but my bread didn’t really rise and look all light and airy like yours. It was a dense flat bread (although it still tasted great!) and the family still ate it 🙂 I used Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast, but it wasn’t really bubbly after 10 minutes. Does that mean something was wrong with my yeast? I used what I had on hand, but I will try and get the bread machine yeast like you said. Also, does it matter what you cover it with? When it was rising in the bowl, I just used the glass bowl lid, but when it was rising on the baking stone, I covered it with a towel. Did I use too much flour? I’m so confused, but it had great flavor so I really want to try it again! Love your site!!

  17. So, so good–and so easy, too, like every single one of your recipes that I’ve tried. How do you guys do it? You’re great.

    So, do you think you could use different herbs in this bread–thyme, basil??

  18. Jessica–What a bummer that it didn’t work out! 🙁 If it wasn’t bubbling after 10 minutes, you either need new yeast or the water wasn’t warm enough (or, possibly, too hot). Before you run out and buy some more, I’d try just the yeast activation process again (dissolving it in warm water) and see if it works. If not, it was probably your yeast.

    It’s best to cover your dough with a towel; yeast is a living organism and thrives on oxygen to rise properly, so it may not have gotten adequate oxygen or circulation with the lid on.

    Try it again sometime soon and let us know how it turns out! Good luck!! 🙂

    Oh, and Lindsay, I have no idea but I think you have EXCELLENT grounds to do some experimenting and let us know how it turns out… 😉

  19. Guess what — tried it again and it was fantastic!! Thanks for taking the time to personally give me advice. I did two things different. I bought new bread machine yeast. I was out of the other stuff so I needed to buy more anyway. And I used a towel to cover the bowl and not the air-tight lid from the bowl. I’m a rookie, what can I say? My 10 year old son said “Mom this tastes just like the bread from that place we get pasta!” And who doesn’t love Macaroni Grill Focaccia!! Success 🙂

  20. I came to your blog today looking for some type of fabulous bread to have with Sunday Dinner. Bingo! This was SO good…and SO like Mac Grill. We had 4 adults and 2 small kids, and I should have doubled it. It was gone before I could blink 🙂 Thanks for a great recipe.

  21. *oh yeah* …so i may have nearly made my entire two-week menu from your recipes. these were a first tonight…we were just going to have sandwiches, but it turns out, there was no meat, no cheese, no tomatoes, no spinach. so, we pretty much just dipped and ate. and that was our dinner. and i’m not embarassed.

    but they were delicious!

  22. Just got finished eating half a loaf of that delicious bread. I couldnt have asked for a better lunch. The only thing I am wondering about is the little crunchy things some places put in the olive oil and balsamic. What is that goodness? Roasted garlic? Any ideas?

  23. Hayley–my guess is that it’s probably dehydrated garlic. I’ve also seen them put freshly ground black pepper in there, but if that’s crunchy, that would be bad… 🙂

  24. Let me first say that I'm in love with this site – so much fun to read and search diff recipes. So my first whirl at one of the recipes on this site was this one and it was soo delish & very easy to make! The only thing I'll do differently is chop up my rosemary a bit more next time – I used dried but they were in big pieces. Other than that it was awesome – my fiance loved it too! Thanks Kate!

  25. I'd really like to try this bread, and I really like rosemary… just not too much of it. 2 Tbls sounds like a LOT. Is it very strongly flavored, or does the rosemary kind of mellow out after baking? Thanks!

  26. Emily, realize that the 2 tablespoons is used for 2 loaves of bread. It definitely tastes like rosemary, but I don't think it's overly strong.

  27. Pizza dough breadsticks yesterday… Flour tortillas today… Rosemary Focaccia tomorrow!!! WEEEEHOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I decided I'm going to tackle a dough project every day this month…yes…that's the plan.

  28. Ah, Russell, I'm loving all your comments!! And don't worry, I think there are a couple other guys here who read/post. I know two of 'em personally (well, not including our hubbies) and I can tell you you're in good company! 🙂 Go forth, Dough Whisperer.

  29. I made this yesterday and LOVED it! Thank you so much for making me realize that yeast breads are not intimidating! I've made two of your yeast breads now, and both have turned out beautifully. I am no longer afraid!

  30. This was good, even though i think i didn't activate my yeast very well (water not warm enough). So mine came out a little flatter than yours. But I'll try again soon! I used fresh rosemary from my CSA box and it was SO GOOD!

  31. I am in LOVE with this bread…thank you so much for sharing this wonderful and easy recipe! I'm a total newbie when it comes to bread making, and this was just like (if not better than) those marvelously addictive loaves they serve at Macaroni Grill!

    I did as some others suggested and used fine sea salt in place of Kosher because I was out. I also brushed the loaves with olive oil in place of melted butter. The result was heavenly, aromatic and fluffy!

  32. Great recipe! The only challenge I faced was the dough collapsed when I brushed it with the butter & rosemary…I tried just gently brushing with butter & then sprinkling with rosemary – still collapsed. thoughts? Anyone try spray butter?? Thanks…

  33. My loaf is just finishing the first rise and I realized I forgot the TBS. of butter in the dough. How screwed am I? Do I bother finishing it?

  34. Definitely finish it Christina- I don't think it will be a total waste. It will have a slightly different texture, but it should still taste okay. Just slather butter on it when it comes out of the oven 😉

  35. I know I'm about a year late on this recipe, but I made it for the first time tonight and, OH MY GRACIOUS, it was absolutely amazing!!! We also made the spaghetti and meatball recipe (minus the meatballs) and it was beyond delicious, as well!

    I've spent the last 18 months working on the CPA exam and randomly discovered your site about six months ago. I think every study break I took consisted of perusing your site and salivating over all the recipes I wanted to try. I just found out I passed my final section so I am free to start working on the VERY long list I compiled during that time! I think my daughter is equally thrilled to no longer subsist on PBJ's and grilled cheese sandwiches 🙂 Sorry for the needless explanation, but I can't tell you how much I appreciated the wit and humor in your blog posts amidst studying the most mind-numbing material imaginable. You ladies (and your recipes!) are awesome!!!

  36. Random question (a year and a half after you post it.. haha). How much balsamic vinegar and olive oil do you use for the dip? I know I've had it at Macaroni Grill, I just don't know how much of each to use.

  37. This is by far the best tasting bread I have made!! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!! I actually ate the remaining two slices for breakfast this morning — I couldn't help myself.

  38. Hey! So I made this recipe up in Utah not too long ago and it turned out pretty well and we loved it! Now I am in Texas (Houston) and tried to make it and followed directions and did everything the same as I did up in Utah.. It ended up rising ok when it was in the bowl (a little sticky) but when I put it on the pan into two loaves, it ended up not rising at ALL! Just wondering if you think the humidity levels or elevation could have affected how much it rises and if I should make adjustments to the recipe somehow next time I make it… (because there WILL be a next time. I have to redeem myself haha)

  39. Hi Kathryn, I just recently moved from UT to Houston, too and just tried this recipe for the first time. What I’ve found as I’ve made yeast recipes here is that the first rising always goes MUCH faster than the time the recipe says (my bread had already doubled in size after 30 min in the first rising). If you shorten the first rising period, that seems to help the second rising a lot. Other than the rising times, I followed the recipe and the bread turned out great (and my yeast breads don’t always turn out) :). Hope this helps and good luck!

  40. I made this bread on the weekend and i substituted with whole wheat flour and the bread was so moist and delicious. It’s definitely a good swap to make the bread slightly healthier!

  41. If you will form this dough into sub-sandwich sized loaves, this makes the best po-boy bread. I am sure it would be delicious for any kind of sandwich. The best I have ever had was in a “hole-in-the-wall” sandwich shop across from the courthouse in Opelousas, LA.

  42. This is also great if you use a flavoured olive oil; I used ‘Tuscan Herb’ and it was amazing.

  43. I was looking for a focaccia recipe on the Internet tonight and I came across this recipe and website. I love that you had step-by-step instructions including photos so I decided to give it a shot. It was absolutely delicious and I will definitely be making again. Thank you, Maria

  44. Ii stumbled across this recipe yesterday afternoon and really wanted to try it, but I didn’t have any rosemary and I couldn’t run to the store, so I substituted thyme. It was fabulous. Can’t wait to try with rosemary. I can’t imagine it could be better!

  45. I made it, totally delicious! I did use some whole wheat flour. My fiance says he would have liked it more with just white flour, but the rest of the dinner party thought it was fantastic. I really didn’t even think I needed the oil for dipping, it was so wonderful on its own!!! Thank you!

  46. I can’t believe that this is not the site’s most popular recipe (well, this and the Brazilian cheese bread which is also incredible). I have been on the search for an excellent recipe for focaccia bread for years, and this is 100% it. I think I have tried every other recipe out there. In fact, after I had already made this several times, I tried one of my friend’s recipes. She claimed it was the best ever. It wasn’t even close. (My husband complained: what happened to the bread?!) Thank you for providing me with the only recipe I will ever need for any Italian meal.

  47. I have this in the oven now, and it was looking really good until I brushed it with the olive oil, and it fell and was totally flat when I put it in the oven. Any ideas why or tips to fix it next time??

    1. It might have risen just a tad too much, but if you’re worried in the future, you can drizzle the oil instead, or brush it with olive oil half way through baking.

  48. i had the same problem with my loaves collapsing when I brushed them with the oil. so I covered them back up with the towel and let them rise again. My bread tasted great, the loaves didn’t look wonderful… but oh well. I have seen a similar recipe through pinterest and they have you brush your loaves with the butter or oil and then let it do the 2nd rise. Really good bread. I sadly can eat one loaf by myself!
    And I would like to know the measurements for the dipping sauce-olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I did make it just guessing and it tasted great but don’t know for sure if I did it right.
    Thanks!!

  49. In the picture at the top, there is butter shown, but it’s not included in the recipe. Could this be why people are having trouble with their bread being flat?? I wonder if when the recipe was tweaked it was accidentally erased or something. Any tips would be appreciated! Thank you!

  50. I made this bread last weekend… WOW!!! It’s the first bread that I’ve made with only white flour for several years. I usually make WW or an herb d’provence bread that is 1/2 WW. My husband really enjoyed this one! I’m wondering about using 1C soft whole wheat flour… any thoughts? We usually have bread with dinner, and also am attempting to remove white stuff (flour, sugar) from our diet as much as possible. Thanks again for this recipe!

  51. What should I do if I want to make the dough in the morning when I have more time, but bake it before dinner so that we’ll have piping hot bread?

  52. I made this on Saturday, and even though I slightly overworked the dough, it was lovely. Many praises from my husband. I’ve been telling all of my friends to try the recipe. Question: can I freeze the dough after the first rise? I’m trying to decide if I can make a couple of loaves in advance, freeze, and then defrost and let it do the second rise. Thoughts?

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