This low-carb, keto and gluten-free Italian focaccia bread has a soft texture and a killer crisp golden crust! As a yeast risen keto bread, the focaccia smells deliciously like real bread and the combination of flavors is just a match made in heaven!
This recipe for keto Italian focaccia is fragrant with extra virgin olive oil and rosemary, and topped with black olives, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella.
Making focaccia is a bit of a commitment, though, but totally worth it. If you need a quicker and easier keto bread check out my pea protein bread (ready in minutes!) or this nut & seed bread (literally, the easiest recipe ever!)
Pizza vs focaccia: what’s the difference
If you are wondering, do you know what is the difference between pizza and focaccia? They certainly look very alike! Focaccia bread is indeed similar to pizza dough, but softer, made taller and with less toppings, and with a hefty amount of olive oil.
My professional keto taste tester said, through the corners of his focaccia-full mouth, and eyes brimming with guilt:
– I feel like I’m eating carbs!Daniel, aka Keto Husband
Best. Compliment. Ever.
Seriously, this is the most amazing focaccia. I won’t claim that it was the best I’ve EVER eaten in my whole life if comparing to every regular Italian focaccia out there, but yes, it is better than most focaccia made with wheat flour I’ve tried. And that, for a keto or low-carb bread item, is saying A LOT.
It’s one of those foods that makes you think, I can easily do keto for life now.
This might be one of the baking recipes with the largest quantity of different arcane ingredients on LikeHotKeto, but it works perfectly! I’ve made quite a few times, and wouldn’t change a thing. See what each ingredient is doing for this exceptional keto focaccia:
The keto flour trinity – Were using a combination of fine blanched almond flour, for bulk, oat fiber, for an airier texture, and unflavored whey protein powder, to substitute some of the missing gluten protein and give our keto focaccia a crisper and beautifully browned crust.
Active dry yeast, warm water and inulin – Inulin is a prebiotic fiber that tastes mildly sweet, generally made of chicory root. Because inulin is the only “keto ingredient” that feeds yeast, that’s what I used for this focaccia recipe.
You cannot use keto sweeteners to feed yeast, like xylitol and erythritol. The little guys love sugar and starch, and don’t do keto – apart from inulin.
In regular high carb bread recipes, normally sugar or honey is given to feed the yeast, on top of the starches on flour. If you want, there’s absolutely no harm in using these instead of the inulin, they will not affect the baked low-carb focaccia macros. The yeast will gobble the sugars up and fart them all over, leaving no carbs behind. Yeah, that’s how bread rises 😏
Extra virgin olive oil – Or EVOO, for short. Use your favorite, most fragrant high quality EVOO as its flavor is really the main attraction in focaccia bread. It takes a lot of olive oil, and it’s delicious to drizzle even more after baked. Italians love to dip their foccacia in a mix of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil.
Texture improvers – I went all out here: Xanthan gun binds the flours together and improves the crumb, and psyllium husk gives the dough elasticity. I also added lecithin powder, which is a commonly used dough enhancer, as an emulsifier. It helps giving bread a soft texture, prolongs freshness and allows for better rising.
Lecithin is a fat that is naturally occurring in many foods – like egg yolks – and it’s present inside the cells in our bodies. Although not a common pantry ingredient, lecithin is easier to find than you think, as many people take it as a health supplement.
For this keto focaccia I used powdered sunflower lecithin, which is the best option if you are trying to avoid GMOs or have soy allergies. But you can also use soy lecithin, it’s more readily available and it yields exactly the same results.
How to make
Keto focaccia dough
Warm the water – just slightly, don’t let it go over 40 °C (100 °F). You can tell without the thermometer if the water is just warm to touch, not hot. This is very important because if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast!
Mix the yeast “food” into the warm water – inulin, honey or sugar. The inulin might be difficult to dissolve and clump up, but it’s nothing to worry about.
Add the yeast to the sweetened mixture, cover with a tea towel and leave it somewhere not drafty while you prepare the next steps:
Dissolve the lecithin powder in extra virgin olive oil and reserve.
Mix the dry ingredients: almond flour, oat fiber, xanthan gum, psyllium husk, unflavored whey protein powder and salt.
In the mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, whisk the whole eggs until frothy, and then add the olive oil with lecithin mix and whisk a little longer.
Check up on the yeast: should be all bubbly by now. Add the yeast to the frothy eggs and mix only to combine.
If there was no reaction in the water bowl, then the yeast is dead and it won’t help the focaccia bread to rise. Throw the mixture away and try again with a new package of yeast.
Add the dry ingredients to the beaten eggs and yeast and mix it in with a spatula, just to combine. Switch the whisk attachment to dough hook. This keto focaccia dough doesn’t need to be worked for long, as it has no gluten to develop.
This keto focaccia dough is sticky, but if it feels too wet and doesn’t form into a ball, sprinkle it with more oat fiber while kneading like you would with regular flour when making bread, to absorb the excess moisture. When it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and keeps all together, it’s ready to rise.
The first rise: Grease a large bowl with some olive oil, put the focaccia dough inside and cover it with a tea towel. Leave the bowl in a warm, non drafty place resting for about 40 minutes, until it is nearly doubled in size.
The second rise: Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on the focaccia pan (I used a non-stick quarter-sheet) and stretch the dough over it. It might try to shrink against your wishes, just be patient and coax it into stretching some more until it stays. Again, cover the pan and let it rest for further 30 minutes. The dough won’t inflate as much this time.
You can start pre-heating the oven, to 200 °C – 392 °F (I usually pre-heat to a higher temperature that I need to bake to account for the heat loss when the oven is opened).
It’s a good idea to leave the low-carb focaccia to rise on top of the stove, as the gentle warmth of the heating oven will make the yeast party out some more growth.
After the second rise, use you fingers to create depressions in your keto focaccia (this is my favorite part!), and lightly drizzle some more extra virgin olive oil. It’s now ready for toppings!
Tomato and mozzarella topping
Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves, or quarters, depending on how much tomato you plan to use. You don’t need many to top the keto focaccia. For 12 focaccia slices, you can use 6 halved tomatoes or only 3 cut in quarters.
When you cut the tomatoes, scrape the inside to remove and discard the excess pulp and seeds. This way, you avoid too much liquid from seeping into the keto focaccia bread during baking.
The best mozzarella for focaccia is the same commonly used for pizzas, not the fresh mozzarella. Again, to prevent a soggy situation, as fresh mozzarella has a much higher water content. Leave that one for salads and burrata.
Spread the cheese in rows, leaving space between them, or make several small mounts of cheese across the surface of the low-carb focaccia. Unlike a pizza, you don’t want to completely cover the focaccia with the toppings: the delicious soft and golden bread is supposed to be the star of the show!
Place the cherry tomato pieces with the peel side facing up on top of the mozzarella. This way, any juice left in the tomatoes will pool on top of the cheese and evaporate, and not seep into the keto focaccia bread as it bakes. I like to spread them around evenly, so to have a piece of tomato per slice.
Add the black (or Kalamata) olives as you like, and sprinkle the rosemary. Fresh rosemary would be even better, and it has a stronger flavor so you can use less of it.
Now you can put your gorgeous keto and gluten-free focaccia in the oven! Reduce temperature to 180 °C (356 °F) and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is deep golden.
Other topping ideas
I used a classic combination of tomato, mozzarella, olives and rosemary. But there are many ways to dress a focaccia! Here are some topping ideas:
- A few teaspoons of fresh basil pesto and grated Parmesan
- Caramelized onions – cut one small onion into very thin strips and fry in olive oil until soft and golden, then spread over the focaccia
- Thinly sliced and seeded lemon slices and fresh rosemary – this combination is intensely aromatic
- Crushed fennel seeds and Kalamata olives
- Simply sprinkle some coarse sea salt, by itself, or combine with herbs: rosemary, basil and thyme are all good matches for focaccia.
- Can’t decide? Just mix it up. Jamie Oliver even suggests a three flavors focaccia, so you are limited only by your imagination
- And if there are truly NO LIMITS to your imagination… check out focaccia garden art. You can turn your keto focaccia into a beautiful center piece for an special occasion!
Last but not least… and I hope Italian angels don’t drop dead as I type this 🙈 You can just put a pizza topping!
It works… I’m speaking from experience here. The bread might flat down a little as you pile up tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni – or crumbled up sausages. But if you want a truly good keto pizza, with an yeasted dough… Just try. Don’t forget the oregano.
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