It’s the end of August and the mornings are colder, quieter, and more still. The 4:30 sunrises have delayed to near 6am sunrises. The songbirds sleep a little longer, thus so does our house. The evenings are cooler, and the warm glow of the falling sun sets the stage for roasting marshmallows on our patio out back. Fall hasn’t quite arrived, but there are small signs that it’s coming, which means that comfort foods are occasionally making their way onto our dining table again. Chili and rice. Pastas dressed in cream based sauces. And a personal favorite: fresh bread. Baguettes, focaccia and pizza dough make an almost nightly appearance in our home when the weather cools off. Focaccia has become much appreciated in our house over the past year- the simplicity of making it and the versatility never cease to amaze me. The kids will eat it regardless of what it is topped with (Amelia will even eat it with tomatoes), and in a pinch, it can make last minute dinner seem not so last minute. While I find kneading dough to be very therapeutic, I truly appreciate the convenience of this no knead focaccia on the days I’m a bit more booked up.
Focaccia doesn’t usually fall under the umbrella of “comfort food”- at least not in America -but with careful consideration, everything about it is deliciously comforting. It’s soft, airy, salty, and filling all in one. The fact that you can top it with a variety of veggies, cheeses, herbs or even some fruits make it all the better. I’ve said this before but, perhaps it bears mentioning again: my mother was a baker when I was growing up. I spent much of my young childhood munching on focaccia for breakfast before we would head out to deliver it all. The focaccia she made was brushed with olive oil and topped with chopped tomatoes and finely grated parmesan. They were round in shape- more like pizza-and she always cut them into wedges for my sister and I to share. The parmesan would always brown slightly around the edges in her industrial sized oven, but it gave a wonderful saltiness to the bread that I haven’t forgotten- even years later.
While I’m not generally a fan of no knead focaccia (or most no knead breads), this recipe is delicious and wonderfully convenient. You really can let time and yeast do all the work, and the hardest part is having the patience to wait. No breaking a sweat to get this bread on the table. With that said it may take a little bit of planning ahead, as this dough is made one day, and baked the next and the majority of your waiting time is overnight while you’re sleeping. I try to get into the habit of making this focaccia dough every other day or so because it’s nice to have on hand and be able to quickly have fresh bread. If you start in the afternoon one day, the next day when you wake up you’ll have fresh dough you can pop right into the oven. If you don’t use the dough, within 24 hours, you can easily toss it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and it will taste fine (actually, the flavor develops more the longer is sits!) Additionally, you can top this no knead focaccia recipe with pretty much anything you like. You can even turn it into a pizza night and go classic sauce, cheese and basil. I have a special fondness for caramalized shallots, feta and parsley, but I’ve included a variety of seasonal focaccia topping ideas/flavor combinations below.
No Knead Focaccia, Steps & Tips
1) Measure the warm water into a large mixing bowl, and sprinkle in the yeast. The yeast should soften and dissolve within a couple minutes when you mix or whisk it. If it doesn’t (this happens sometimes) your yeast might be too old, which means it’s no longer active, so start again with new yeast.
2) Add the flour, olive oil, and then the salt.
3) Use a spoon to mix, until it forms a wet, sticky dough, with no dry spots. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or a clean, dry recycled plastic bag and let it sit at room temperature for about 12 hours, or up to 24 hours.
4) Once the dough has risen (it will have expanded in size, with lots of air bubbles in it), generously oil a large baking sheet.
5) Scoop/pour the dough onto the pan and spread it out to the length and width of the pan. The dough will be sticky, so it helps if your hands also have a little bit of olive oil on them, too.
6) Allow the dough to sit for about one hour. Meanwhile, pre-chop any toppings and about 45 minutes into the hour of rest time preheat the oven to 450˚.
7) Drizzle olive oil all over the surface of the dough, then use your fingertips to dimple though dough. The indentations should go about halfway through the thickness of the dough.
8) Sprinkle on toppings evenly, including salt.
9) Bake for about 30 minutes, until the crust has a nice golden brown.
10) Sprinkle on any fresh herbs while the focaccia is still hot and allow the focaccia to cool for about 20 minutes before cutting into slices.
My Favorite No Knead Focaccia Topping Combinations
Roasted corn, parmesan and pumpkin
Parsley and onion
Pear, blue cheese and caramalized onion
Kale, sausage and parsley
Rosemary and shallots
Butternut squash, ricotta and sage
Asparagus, parmesan and chervil
Kalamata olives, feta and spinach
Scallion and Ricotta
Heirloom tomatoes and parmesan
Roasted peppers, ricotta and parsley
Zucchini, caramalized onion and thyme
A little about me…
Hi! I’m Amber I’m a food photographer and recipe developer, living in Maine.
I also work throughout the New England area, capturing various food stories, products and recipes. Thanks so much for visiting! I started my food blog, Downeats, because I love to inspire others to cook and enjoy delicious, healthy meals with their loved ones. I was raised and currently live in Maine with my (gorgeous, amazing, hardworking) high school sweetheart and our (hilarious, talented and wonderful) children. I believe in living slow and enjoying life and I love capturing shared moments. You can read more about me here. If you are looking for a food photographer or recipe developer please contact me here.