A beautiful vegan focaccia bread made with wholesome spelt flour and flavoured with olive oil, garlic, fresh rosemary and kalamata olives.
This post was originally published in November 2017. It’s been updated with improvements to the text and recipe as of July 2020.
This vegan focaccia has a perfect texture and an abundance of flavour from the kalamata olives, rosemary, olive oil and garlic. Want to go for different toppings? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a whole post on toppings for focaccia.
- Spelt flour
- Sea salt
- Instant yeast
- Olive oil
- More salt and black pepper
Mix the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. There’s no need to bloom your yeast before starting here because it’s instant, so it gets mixed right in. Add warm – not hot! – water, and mix until a sticky, shaggy dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (you can also do this in a standing mixer if you have one) and knead until a smooth and slightly sticky ball of dough. Don’t be tempted to add more flour beyond a sprinkle, it’s meant to be a soft dough.
Grease a bowl with olive oil and pop the dough into it, rolling around a bit to cover. This prevents the dough from drying out. Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise until doubled in size. Pretty standard for bread so far!
This is where focaccia starts to veer off a bit. Once the dough is risen, coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil, then press the dough onto the pan. Press all over with your fingertips to create small indents, then cover and let the dough rise again.
Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the dough, then top with the garlic, rosemary, and olives. Season with some more salt and black pepper, then bake for about 20 minutes. Focaccia is best fresh, while still warm, or at least on the day it’s baked.
Tips and Notes
This dough is slightly more wholesome than your traditional focaccia thanks to the organic whole grain spelt flour used here. This one from Flourist is one our favourite flours to use in baking. It works beautifully in this recipe.
You could use all-purpose flour, but the nutty flavour of spelt is great, and it can be easier on the digestive system. Since spelt has a lower gluten content, you’ll have to be a little more patient for it to fully rise. It might end up a bit less puffy than your traditional focaccia – you can temper that by using sifted spelt or a mix of the two.
Olive oil is perhaps the most important element of focaccia, and there is no substitution for it. Embrace it – the oil adds that proper focaccia flavour and texture, and otherwise it’s just a basic flatbread.
You can use regular all-purpose (white) flour instead of spelt if you prefer, or a blend of whole wheat and white. Any toppings you like can be used in place of the olives and rosemary – think roasted garlic – though it’s a great combination.
If you want to go the sourdough route, we have a sourdough focaccia recipe and encourage you to use that instead. You can certainly use some spelt flour in that bread, up to 100% if you’re a skilled sourdough baker.
More Bread Recipes
If you make this vegan focaccia, let us know by tagging @baked_theblog + #bakedtheblog on Instagram! We love to feel like we’re in the kitchen with you.
Vegan Spelt Focaccia with Olives & Rosemary
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Medium sized bowl
- Tea towel
- baking sheet or rectangular heat-safe dish
- 2 cups spelt flour
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- ¾ cup water, warm
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted, cut in half
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- Sea salt
- black pepper
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast.
- Add the warm water (water should be warm to the touch, but not too hot or it may kill your yeast).
- Gently stir with a wooden spoon until a sticky ball starts to form.
- Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface, then lightly knead the dough with your hands a couple times until you have a smooth and sticky ball (do not over knead).
- Grease a medium bowl with a bit olive oil. Transfer the ball into the oiled bowl and roll it around to coat.
- Cover the bowl with a damp towel. Set in a warm place and let rise until the dough has at least doubled in size, minimum 1 hour.*
- Once the dough has risen, use two tablespoons of the olive oil to oil a large baking sheet or rectangular oven-proof dish.
- Punch the dough and spread it out with your hands to form a rectangle of about 9 x 13 inches. Press it onto the sheet, turning it a few times to coat with oil.
- Use your fingertips to make small cavities all over the dough. Let rest again, uncovered, until the dough has slightly risen again, about 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil on the surface of the dough, and sprinkle the garlic and rosemary. Spread the olives, pressing them slightly into the dough. Season with black pepper and a little more sea salt.
- Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.
- Cut into pieces and serve. This focaccia is best fresh out of the oven or enjoyed the same day.