Sliced focaccia bread

No Need to Knead This Simple and Tasty Focaccia Bread

Focaccia Bread is a newly discovered love of mine. The corny title of this post notwithstanding, focaccia is one of those rare classics that is effortlessly rustic and elegant. As someone who has a love-hate relationship with bread (love to eat it, have had mixed results making it), I was pretty nervous to try my hand at focaccia for the first time. So, naturally, I thought the best time to experiment would be for Thanksgiving dinner. No pressure, right? 

Now, having failed miserably with homemade yeast rolls for the exact same occasion several years prior, I armed myself with some store-bought brown-and-go rolls as a backup. Happily, Plan B proved unnecessary as the focaccia came out perfectly! I would’ve been pleased if it had been at all edible, but to my great delight, it was luscious and delicious and a strong contender as the best part of the holiday meal. 

Trust me, this focaccia recipe will not disappoint.

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Focaccia Dough in Baking Dishes

Focaccia is the Artisan Bread for Beginners

I get it; bread-making is intimidating. The nice thing about focaccia is that the process is so simple that it is tailor-made for novice bread makers. It doesn’t require much investment from you. It does most of the work on its own. Who doesn’t love food that does its own heavy lifting? Now if only the laundry would put itself away…

Variations To Amp Up Your Focaccia Bread

My favorite dishes are the ones that can be customized, adjusted and tweaked to cater to any taste and to allow flexibility to whatever ingredients are on hand. Focaccia bread is no exception. Quite honestly, I’m partial to simply olive oil and flaky sea salt for the top of my focaccia bread. But, it is nice to shake things up from time to time. Below are some suggestions to amp up your focaccia bread:

  • Herbs: Rosemary is a traditional option, but thyme, oregano, chive and basil would all yield a fragrantly delightful bread.
  • Cheese: Try grated parmesan, pecorino or cheddar.
  • Veggies: I’m looking at you tomatoes, onions (especially caramelized) and olives.
  • Seeds: Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, pine nuts and sunflower seeds would all add nice flavor and a little extra crunch factor.  

Ways to Enjoy Your Focaccia Bread

Honestly, my love of focaccia has grown to the point that I search for reasons and ways to eat it. 

My very favorite way to nosh on focaccia bread is dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Focaccia boasts richness and depth of flavor all on its own so it doesn’t need much to make it the perfect snack for me. Pair it with some fruit, cheese wedges and salami, and you have just described my ideal lunch. 

Focaccia also makes a great side for a simple salad served with a light vinaigrette. This bread toasts up nicely for a gooey and decadent grilled cheese sandwich or a panini. 

As an Italian flatbread, you could even treat the dough as the base for pizza toppings of your choice and make the focaccia the main component for a fun supper night. 

And, so breakfast doesn’t feel left out, focaccia would make a lovely base for an eggy-in-a-basket or toasted with some compound butter and served with some Greek yogurt. 

Dipping Focaccia Bread in Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

How To Store Your Leftover Focaccia

If, and I mean if, you have leftover focaccia, you should know that it does not keep as well as your run-of-the-mill store-bought bread. I discovered this the hard way. As much as my taste buds encourage me to, “go ahead, eat the entire pan of bread in one sitting,” my brain and my stomach inevitably send me tell-tale signals that it is better to retreat and live to fight another day. 

Imagine my horror when I went to eat a midday snack of focaccia bread only to find green fuzzies on my sweet, sweet bread. Why, cruel world, have you cursed me so!? I full-on lamented to the heavens over the injustice of the short life span of my blessed bread. Is there anything worse than having your heart set on something only to find that it cannot be? There may or may not be a Shakespearean sonnet forthcoming over the loss I felt over my moldy focaccia.

So, to save you the pain I felt and carry with me to this day, let me fill you in on the best ways to keep your focaccia safe and sound. 

Focaccia bread is best eaten within 2-3 days of baking. After baking, go ahead and slice your bread however your heart desires. What you don’t eat immediately, store in one of the following ways:

  • Keep at room temperature: Wrap the focaccia bread tightly with plastic wrap in individual pieces. Then wrap in a layer of aluminum foil. Place the wrapped pieces of bread in a Ziploc bag. Note: If you topped your bread with perishable toppings such as cheese or veggies, you should store your leftovers in the fridge. 
  • Freeze: Place the focaccia bread pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flash freeze for a couple of hours. Any longer than a couple of hours and you will run the risk of your precious bread becoming freezer burnt. After that, wrap the frozen pieces of bread individually in plastic wrap, a layer of aluminum foil and then place in a freezer bag. Your bread will keep in the freezer for a month. 
Tower of Sliced Focaccia Bread

How to Reheat Your Leftover Focaccia

You can reheat your leftover focaccia bread in a variety of ways: toaster, microwave, oven, stovetop, air fryer.

  • Air fryer: If I am reheating just a helping or two for myself, I use the bake setting on my air fryer. Remove the aluminum foil and plastic wrap from the bread. Set the temp to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, mist the bread with some warm water, and heat for 2-3 minutes or until the bread reaches your desired heat level. The air fryer is a super-efficient little kitchen tool that is perfect for just this sort of application. Here’s the one that I use.
  • Oven: For a larger batch of bread, I will do everything the same as in the air fryer, but reheat in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 6-8 minutes. 
  • Stovetop: Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Add a splash of olive oil or a pad of butter and heat the bread for a minute on each side. This method is best utilized for toasting the bread or reheating for a sandwich or dipping in soup. 
  • Toaster: Cut bread so that it fits easily within the slot of your toaster. Cook to your liking. This method will give you a toastier, crispier consistency.
  • Microwave: Wrap your bread in a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Depending on the power setting of your microwave and whether you are working with room temperature or still slightly frozen bread, you may need to repeat this process to reach your desired temperature level. This method will yield a chewier texture without the crispy crust. 

If reheating frozen bread, let the bread thaw at room temperature for a few hours before reheating. 

Rosemary Focaccia

Method

In an extra-large bowl, combine the water, yeast, flour and salt. Your dough should double in size, so it is important to use a very large bowl to accommodate the rise. 

Using a fork, loosely mix the dough. This does not have to be perfect, you are just trying to bring the ingredients together at this point. 

With a little olive oil on your hands, continue mixing the dough until combined. The dough will be very sticky at this point. This is normal, so resist the urge to add more flour. 

Shaggy Focaccia Dough
Focaccia Before First Proof

Transfer your dough to a lightly oiled work surface and pull the ‘corners’ to the center of the dough repeatedly so that you achieve a ball shape. You’ll be using the same bowl to cold-proof as you used to mix the dough. Yay, fewer dishes!

 Add some oil to the bottom of the mixing bowl and rub some of the oil up the sides of the bowl. Place the dough in the oiled bowl with the stitch side down.

 Add a little more oil on top of your ball of dough and cover the bowl with saran wrap. 

Place your dough in the fridge to proof overnight or up to 2 days. The longer the proof, the more flavorful the bread. 

Remove your proofed dough from the fridge and place it in the lightly oiled baking vessel of your choice. I generally use a 9” x 13” dish such as this. The cooking times and the height of your final product will vary depending on the cooking vessel you use. For the batch show in the pictures, I used 4″ x 8″ mini loaf pans and a totally vintage 1 1/2 quart Pyrex dish. 

Focaccia After First Proof

Flatten your dough so that it covers the bottom of your selected dish. Cover and place in a warm spot to continue the proofing for 1 – 2 ½ hours. Your dough should again double in size. 

Drizzle more olive oil on the dough. 

Now the fun part! With lightly oiled hands, use your fingers to dimple the dough. There’s no rhyme or reason, just dimple away until you’re satisfied with the result. 

Then sprinkle with flaky sea salt. If you are adding herbs, veggies or any of the toppings, add those at this time as well. 

Oiled Focaccia
Baked Focaccia

Bake the bread in a pre-heated 450 degree Fahrenheit oven for 40 – 50 minutes for a 9″ x 13″ dish or until golden brown. The mini loaf pans baked for 25 minutes and the 1 1/2 quart dish took about 35 minutes.  

Serve warm.

Tips and Tricks

  • Remember how I mentioned earlier that I failed miserably when attempting to make homemade yeast rolls for Thanksgiving one year? The culprit behind this failure was old yeast. That’s right, I had utilized a packet of yeast that I acquired many years before when stocking my kitchen with things that I thought every kitchen should have. 

Yeast is a living organism that feeds off of the sugars of whatever it is added to, so like most living things, there is a finite shelf life. Because of this, it is important to avoid using very old or expired yeast.

  • When baking bread, it is best to weigh your ingredients rather than measure them out. I avoided doing this for a long time, but for no good reason that I can think of other than I didn’t own a kitchen scale. When I finally broke down and purchased this scale, I started to weigh my ingredients, and, I must say, I have much more consistent results. Baking is a science, after all, so it makes sense that precision is necessary to achieve the chemical reactions necessary to produce optimal results. Who wants to waste their carb count on sub-optimal bread? 
  • Use a food thermometer like this one to make sure your water is at the correct temperature before combining it with your yeast. It may seem a bit persnickety, but the temp does matter.

Too cold and the yeast won’t properly activate. Too hot and you run the risk of killing your yeast. The ideal range to activate yeast for bread is between 105 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you don’t have a thermometer, pour some water on the inside of your wrist. If it feels warm and comfortable to you, chances are good that it will be comfy for your yeast as well. 

Baked Focaccia

No Knead Focaccia Bread

Easily create rustic and elegant artisan bread in the comfort of your own home with this no-knead focaccia bread.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Proofing Time 2 d
Total Time 2 d 1 hr 5 mins
Course Bread, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12 servings
Calories 278 kcal

Equipment

  • Kitchen Scale
  • Large Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 750 Grams All-purpose flour
  • 555 Grams Lukewarm water
  • 7 Grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry or instant dry yeast
  • 15 Grams Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Other toppings of choice Optional

Instructions
 

  • Combine water, yeast, flour and salt in your large mixing bowl. Roughly mix with fork until you achieve a shaggy dough.
  • With oiled hands, roughly mix the dough until there are no more flour spots.
  • Dump the dough on a lightly oiled work surface. Dough will be sticky.
  • Pull the corners of the dough toward the center until a ball shape is formed.
  • Lightly oil the bowl you used to mix the dough. Place the ball of dough in the mixing bowl, stitch side down.
  • Lightly oil the top of your dough ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Place in the fridge and allow to proof overnight or up to two days.
  • Remove your proofed dough from the fridge and place in the lightly oiled baking dish of your choice. Flatten the dough into your dish and allow to proof in a warm spot for 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours. Your dough should double in size.
  • Heat your oven to 450° F.
  • Lightly drizzle your proofed dough with more olive oil. Dimple the dough with your fingers and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. If adding additional toppings, add at this time.
  • Bake in the oven for 35 - 50 minutes for a 9" x 13" baking dish or until golden brown.
  • Slice and serve warm.
Keyword Focaccia Bread, No Knead Bread

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