Focaccia bread, like many hand-crafted breads, is at its very best fresh from the oven, or eaten soon after. Depending on the focaccia bread recipe, these simple loaves can be temperamental, moving quickly from tender, flavorful flexibility to gritty, crumbly waste unless you remember that focaccia responds brilliantly to reheating and refreshing.
Reheated focaccia bread, while not quite as wonderful as fresh, comes in a very close second. Reheating is simple, too, and often makes good use of an already hot oven when you’re cooking other foods.
For the most reliable results, follow these instructions. Do not use the microwave: unless done with extreme attention and care, a microwave more often dries out and overheats day-old bread, rather than refreshing the crust and crumb. Instead prepare a moderate oven: heat the oven to 350 degrees, although there is room for a wider range of temperatures as long as you watch the bread carefully.
Spray the focaccia bread crust lightly with water, then slide into a paper bag or wrap lightly in an inexpensive, but clean old cotton dish towel. Don’t seal the paper bag or wrap the towel too tightly; try to allow air circulation. Place the wrapped bread in the oven on a center rack. In five minutes check the bread. If the crust is too soft, remove the paper bag or towel and replace in the oven for an additional three minutes.
This treatment should usually bring the focaccia bread back to nearly fresh levels. The crust should be crisp and firm. The inner crumb, which often becomes quite crumbly and gritty when anything less than fresh, regains its former supple, tender crumb. This is thanks to the interaction of heat and moisture on the gluten of the bread. The interior is gently moistened with steam, the exterior revived through evaporation, leaving a classic crust. The flavor of incorporated herbs is revived. While various focaccia bread recipes will respond better to this than others, most will be pleasingly close to their original quality.