Years ago, I learned to make this wonderfully easy focaccia recipe during an artisan’s bread-baking class at the Natural Gourmet Institute (NYC). There’s no kneading, no punching down, no waiting for dough to double again after you’ve punched it down, and nothing complicated about getting it into the baking pan. All that’s required is a little planning ahead, and very little else! It’s been a favorite of mine ever since, and adventurous toppings can make it a new experience every time.
No-Knead Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Yield: 12 servings
Time: 25 minutes prep; 18 hours rising time
- 3 ¼ cups white bread flour (3.5 cups if using all-purpose)
- ¼ tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt, plus more for the top
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan
- 1 2/3 cups water
- Optional toppings — see below
Method: Put the flour in your largest bowl, add the yeast and salt, then stir in the water and the oil until well-combined. You should end up with a thick, wet, gloppy dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let dough stand at room temperature for eighteen hours or so. I usually stir this up late the night before, since it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare, and then it’s ready to bake by the next afternoon. You can incorporate some time in the fridge to slow things down. For example, last week I made up the dough at about 10am one morning, let it sit out for twelve hours, put it in the fridge overnight, pulled the dough out for another four, then baked it for lunch. If the dough looks like it might climb out of the bowl at any point, just squash it back down—but using a large bowl should prevent this. When you’re ready to bake your focaccia, preheat the oven to 425˚ F, and brush a large rimmed cookie sheet with oil. You’ll want to be quite liberal with your oil–I use at least two tablespoons, and often still wrestle with stuck bread in a few spots.
Then, grab a spatula, pour the dough onto the sheet, and scrape the extra. Let it rest for five minutes, then using oiled hands, stretch your until it fills the pan like a pizza crust. Dimple it generously with your fingers (see photo), like you’re playing the piano, and scatter your toppings over the surface.
- Sea Salt and Fresh Rosemary: Select salt; wash and chop two sprigs of fresh rosemary, and scatter over bread. Simple and delicious! To mix it up, try something funky like our Black Sea Salt or Porcini Mushroom Sea Salt.
- Sweet Grape Halves with Rosemary: Select sugar (any bigger granule sugar works well), wash and slice twenty big red seedless grapes, wash and chop rosemary. Toss grapes in one teaspoon of olive oil and arrange cut-side down, scatter rosemary, and sprinkle very lightly with sugar. Add a spicy kick with Habenero-Infused Organic Cane Sugar.
- Caramelized Red Onions and Rosemary: Heat one teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup slivered red onions and 2 springs chopped rosemary; cook 15 minutes or until browned. Arrange onion mixture over top of dough and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Bake prepared focaccia for 25 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bottom is golden and crisp. Cool 5 minutes, then serve and enjoy! Exceptional with roasted meats or as a nibbler with appetizers and white wine.