Afraid of doughs? Fear not! I have you covered with this Easy No-Knead Homemade Focaccia. It’s crispy on the outside and very fluffy and bubbly on the inside, and I promise it’s easy. The dough is put together in one bowl! The only thing it will ask of you is patience because the dough takes long periods of fermentation. But hey, you can always take advantage of the resting time and do other things, since you don’t need to keep a close eye on the dough while it ferments.
In Spain, we are lucky to have very good bread, but sometimes, specific varieties from other countries such as focaccia can be difficult to find unless one goes to an Italian restaurant. That’s why I’ve tried to master the art of making focaccia, cause I love it! You’ll see that this focaccia recipe can be made any time, and trust me when I say it’s really no fuss and that anybody can make it, a promise by somebody who’s far from being a dough artist like Bread by Elise.
This homemade focaccia recipe is based on the one from Recetas de Esbieta, another dough artist. But after making it over and over again, I find that some changes, especially in the fermentation part, work better. And this version is the one I am bringing to you today, with all the details, tricks and tips that I’ve seen are key to always succeed.
The result? A no-knead focaccia with a crunchy exterior and a moist and airy interior, bubbly all way round.
Key Factors to Bear in Mind Before Making this Easy No-Knead Homemade Focaccia
Besides the tips and tricks that you’ll find later on, there are some considerations to take into account when you are about to make this homemade focaccia recipe.
- Flour: it has to be strong bread flour (with about 12% protein, which we can easily identify by looking at the label. As the composition is indicated by 100 g of flour, we have to check that the protein is 12 g or more). It’s important that it’s strong and not plain or all purpose so that it can bear the high amount of water the recipe calls for. In addition, strong bread flour gives a softer and fluffier interior.
- Yeast: both fresh and dry yeast can be used. Dry yeast is more concentrated, so you’d need less quantity than the equivalent of fresh yeast. As you’ll see in the recipe, the amount of dry is about a third of the fresh. If you’re using active dry yeast, you’ll need to activate it first as per the package instructions (remove the amount of water from the recipe quantities), with instant yeast, you can use it right away.
- Water: it’s better to use filtered (or bottled) water, since tap water tends to be a bit “heavy” and can affect the taste. These long-fermented doughs have a high percentage of hydration (i.e. lots of water), making it an important ingredient.
- Environment: on rainy days, even if using the same amount of water, the dough may look moister and this is to be expected. But don’t worry, with the long rests and the folds, this dough admits variations like this, always resulting in a perfect focaccia!
- Oven temperature: you can bake the focaccia between 220ºC and 250ºC. The higher the temperature, the sooner the surface will brown and form a crispy crust. If baking at 220ºC, maybe you’ll notice that it’s not so crispy (which could be the way you like it), but the interior is moister. I usually bake it at about 230ºC in the centre of the oven or 250ºC between the lower third and the centre.
You can literally top the focaccia with whatever you want! Simply with salt and good olive oil it’s already delicious, and then you can use it as a regular bread loaf to dip into sauces. Or you can top it with many different ingredients as you’d do with pizza.
Today I opted for a classic topping of sea salt and fresh rosemary because I wanted the dough to shine, but more recipes with other ideas will come, I promise ;). In the meantime, here you have some ideas:
- Caramelised onions
- Cherry tomatoes
- Charcuterie meat such as sobrasada, chorizo or ham
- Cheese (always goes well with bread :P)
- Other spices and herbs: pepper, za’atar, sumac, thyme, your favorite seasoning…
- etc etc etc
Some Ideas & Inspiration to Serve with This Focaccia
You can eat the focaccia alone – at home, we always devour half of it as soon as it comes out of the oven, even if we know that it’s better to allow it to cool down… – or serve it with sauces and dressings for dipping.
Here you can find tons of ideas.
Why Is a Long Fermentation Required?
During my tests making this focaccia recipe, I was sharing some of my findings with Tamara from La Hogazana (she’s a chef and dough queen, she now works at a bakery actually), who gave me a few master classes on the science of long-fermented doughs and its benefits :).
A long cold fermentation adds moisture to the dough and makes the crumb shine, as it entails a gelling effect. In addition, the longer the dough rests, the more flavour is developed, getting a more sourdough-bread-like taste (without the need for sourdough). So, all in all, long times make a homemade focaccia more flavourful and moister, thus lasting longer.
Can I Go for a Shorter Fermentation?
Yes… and no. Could you allow it to rise at room temperature after the folds? Yes. Do I recommend it? No. As we have seen before, it’s precisely this long cold fermentation that gives body and flavour to this focaccia. In addition, while it’s in the fridge you don’t have to worry about anything, there’s no need for supervision. And you can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 72 hours, so you could make the dough today and bake it 3 days from now if you think you won’t have time to prepare it the day you want to eat it.
In a nutshell, if we want a good no-knead focaccia, then the long cold fermentation is a must.
Which Baking Tray Do I Use?
On the one hand, we need to think about the material. I recommend metal, as it transfers heat better and helps crisp the edges and sides of the dough. You can use a cast-iron skillet (but you may have to divide the dough in 2 if the skillet is not a mega large one). Or you can even use a pyrex tray if you don’t have anything else, but keep in mind that if using glass it may take longer to cook and the result could be less crispy.
On the other hand, there’s the size. I’ve used a 23×33 cm rectangular tin because I wanted a rather chubby focaccia. If you want a thinner one where the crust is even more noticeable than the crumb, you can bake it directly in the trays that come in the oven, which are larger (they are usually about 30×40 cm).
Regardless of the tin or tray, oil the bottom very well so that the focaccia doesn’t stick! Alternatively, you can use parchment paper.
How Can I Get a Crispy Focaccia?
For me there are 3 factors during baking and one post-baking that help ensuring we get a crispy focaccia in the end.
During baking, firstly, there’s the oven temperature as we have seen at the beginning – the higher, the crispier the result. Secondly, the position of the focaccia in the oven also influences, baking it in the lower third ensures a crispier base and if we later see that the top isn’t brown enough, we can move the focaccia to the upper half or upper third. Finally, using a baking stone or baking steel works so well – and if we don’t have one, the metallic black tray that generally comes with the oven also works as an alternative. What we’ll have to do is preheat the oven with it inside and then put the tin or tray with the focaccia on top.
As you will see in the recipe, I first preheat the oven at its max temperature only from the bottom and place the stone near the base, and then when I put the focaccia in it, I reduce the temperature down to 230ºC and change the heat source to come from above and below. I place the focaccia in the middle rack.
Once you remove the focaccia from the oven, remove it from the tin or tray and let it cool on a cooling rack. In this way, the heat released from the focaccia base can escape helping keep the bottom crisp. Otherwise it may soften a bit.
You’ll see that if following these tips you will have a crispy focaccia.
Why Isn’t the Dough Rising?
The yeast you used is most likely to be dead. Yeast is a living organism (a fungus), so it only works if it’s active. How to know? Whether it’s dry or fresh yeast, you can mix it first with a glass of water (removing that amount of water from the recipe), two tablespoons of flour (removing that amount from the recipe) and sugar. If after 10 minutes you see bubbles, everything is fine, if nothing appears, it’s probably not active and must be discarded.
Another reason may be the room temperature. If it’s very cold in your kitchen, after the rising times indicated in the recipe, you could experience that the dough has hardly risen at all. In this case, I recommend the following options. Option 1: turn on the oven at minimum temperature (when only the light is on, which would be about 20ºC-30ºC) and put the focaccia inside. Option 2: heat water until it almost boils, pour it into a heatproof bowl that is smaller than the focaccia tin, and place the tin on top.
Looking for More Bread Recipes? Check Out the Below Recipes?
If you make this Easy No-Knead Homemade Focaccia recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rate it. Hearing from you is everything! Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
Easy No-Knead Homemade Focaccia
- 380 g water - filtered or bottled
- 3 g dry yeast - 10 g fresh yeast
- 10 g extra virgin olive oil
- 470 g strong bread flour
- 9 g salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 sprigs rosemary - leaves removed
- Flaky sea salt
- In a bowl (or deep container) mix the water with the yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the oil, flour and salt. With the help of a spoon or spatula, stir well until you no longer see the flour.
- Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes so that the flour hydrates well.
- Next, it’s time to fold the dough 3 times, with resting periods of 20 minutes between each fold. You will see that the dough becomes less sticky and elastic and gets more structure after each one of them. It is important to let the dough rest in a warm place (20ºC minimum, otherwise you’ll need more time between folds or more folds).
- First fold: wet your hands so the dough doesn’t stick to them, and fold it into an envelope, leaving the seam side down. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
- Second fold: repeat the same process.
- Third fold, repeat the folding process and transfer the dough to a clean oiled bowl (or container), seal side down, and cover.
- Store in the refrigerator for 24 to 72 hours.
On the day you’d like to make the focaccia
- Generously oil a tin or baking tray (see notes). Do not skimp, we do not want the focaccia to stick to the bottom once baked.
- Tilt the bowl and scrape the dough out over the tin. Stretch it gently to the sides of the tin. You will see that it initially shrinks, and this is expected. Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes so that the it relaxes and does not resist, repeat until you can stretch it completely.
- Cover the tin and let the dough rest at room temperature until doubled in size, it can take from 1 to 4 hours depending on the room temperature (at about 18-20ºC it takes from 2 to 4 hours). After this time, you should see some bubbles. In this step, you will have to look after the dough a bit to determine how fast it rises, since preheating the oven depends on this.
- Preheat the oven at 250ºC with heat only from the bottom (see notes) – if your oven doesn’t have this option, use heat from above and below. If you use the black oven tray as a surface, preheat for about 20 minutes, if you use a baking stone or steel, I recommend 30 minutes to 1 hour. In any case, place the surface to be preheated on the lowest level.
- Before placing the focaccia in the oven, drizzle some oil on top and dimple the dough by gently pressing the entire surface with the tips of your fingers. Sprinkle the top with rosemary leaves and flaky sea salt.
- Move the surface where you are going to put the focaccia on to the center or between the center and lower third rack of the oven (see notes).
- Place the focaccia in the oven, decrease the temperature to 230ºC with heat source from above and below, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. If you find that the top is not brown enough after 15 minutes, you can move the focaccia to a higher rack.
- Remove it from the oven, unmold and let it cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
- Baking tin: I recommend a metal one, as it transfers heat better and helps crisp the edges and sides of the dough. You can use a cast-iron skillet (but you may have to divide the dough in 2 if the skillet is not a mega large one) or you can even use a pyrex tray if you don’t have anything else, but keep in mind that if using glass it may take longer to cook and the result will be less crispy. As for the size, I’ve used a 23×33 cm rectangular tin because I wanted a rather chubby focaccia. If you want a thinner one where the crust is even more noticeable than the crumb, you can bake it directly in the trays that come in the oven, which are larger (they are usually about 30×40 cm).
- Oven temperature: you can bake the focaccia between 220ºC and 250ºC. The higher the temperature, the sooner the surface will brown and form a crispy crust. If baking at 220ºC, maybe you’ll notice that it’s not so crispy (which may be the way you like it), but the interior is moister. I usually bake it at about 230ºC in the centre of the oven or 250ºC between the lower third and the centre.
- Position of the focaccia in the oven: baking it in the lower third ensures a crispier base and if we later see that the top isn’t brown enough, we can move the focaccia to the upper half or third.
- You can top the focaccia with so many things! In the blog post you’ll find some ideas. You can also serve it with sauces like marinara or with dressings as a dip.
- It’s better eaten on the same day, but if you have leftovers, store it in an airtight container or plastic bag so it lasts for a couple of extra days.