Rye Focaccia with Fennel

This homemade bread will be the star of your fruit and cheese board, especially when complemented by a savory spread
rye focaccia recipe

Chef Robin Bentley prepares a homemade Rye Focaccia with Fennel served with berries, figs, and cheeses.

Rye Focaccia with Fennel

Yields 1 loaf


  • 2 tablespoons dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 3 cups rye flour
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bulb fresh fennel
  • 1 lemon (for zest)
  • 1-2 tablespoons flaky sea salt


  1. Mix yeast and sugar with one cup warm water. Stir vigorously with a fork and set aside. Active yeast will form beer like foam or head. In a large bowl, mix rye flour with bread flour and kosher salt. Using an electric mixer, slowly incorporate the activated yeast, flour and remaining 2½ cups water. Add half of olive oil into dough, and continue to mix thoroughly until the oil is semi-incorporated. Cover dough and allow to rest in a warm spot for 4-6 hours.
  2. Once dough has roughly doubled in size, liberally coat a half sheet tray with some of the remaining olive oil.
  3. Spread dough out evenly onto the sheet pan using a rubber spatula, and allow dough to rise again for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  5. Half fennel bulb and remove core. Thinly slice fennel using a sharp knife or mandoline slicer. Save fennel fronds.
  6. Using your clean fingertips, lightly poke into the focaccia dough to create a textured, irregular crumb. Evenly spread sliced fennel and lemon zest across dough. Top generously with sea salt.
  7. Bake at 450° F for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
rye focaccia topped with tomato confit
Wendy Wurtzburger’s tomato confit tops slices of Robin’s Rye Focaccia.

Photography by Alison Conklin

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