My daughter-in-law Raegan Sales, creative vegetarian home cook and baker, generously offers yet more proof that some great breads just about make themselves.
She started with something called “Ridiculously Easy Focaccia Bread” and—yes—made it even easier. And ridiculously delicious.
With Raegan’s Focaccia, a bubbly wet dough bakes into a delightfully chewy golden-crusted flatbread. It owes its tender crumb and lovely flavor to hours of fermentation in the fridge and oodles of olive oil.
About all we do is stir and stare, except when we get to poke our fingers into the squishy, oily dough. The payoff: warm, aromatic, hole-studded focaccia eager to get dunked into more olive oil or devoured on the spot. It makes a scrumptious gift to yourself.
Time replaces work, so make sure you start early in the day or the day before. Allow enough time to rise in the fridge and at room temperature. Fortunately, this dough likes to cooperate, and doesn’t mind getting ignored for a while. So chances are it will fit into your schedule. And your snack time.
Says Raegan, “Experiment with whatever toppings you want! The first few times I made this I put my coworker’s homemade fresh cheese mixed with a little sour cream in dollops (like pizza) and then sprinkled the herbs and salt. If you use wetter toppings, you will likely need to bake it for longer. When I do the cheesy ones, I leave it at 450 degrees for about 5 minutes to give it a good start, then turn it down and keep an eye on it. Those took over 45 minutes to bake; look for the top to turn golden brown.”
Raegan’s No-Knead Focaccia
Makes one flatbread. Recipe easily doubles to bake in two pans. Bread freezes well.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 heaping teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, for the pan and coating dough
- Herbs de Provence, to taste
- Sea salt, to taste
- Mix flour, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. Add water and mix until all of the flour is incorporated.
- Scrape down the sides and cover with plastic wrap. Let proof about an hour. (You can skip this proofing step if you are short on time, or lengthen it if it is convenient. It gives the dough a little kick-start.)
- Refrigerate for 8-24 hours.
- Remove from the refrigerator.
- Prepare an 8-inch square or 9-inch round metal cake pan by pouring in about a tablespoon of olive oil to coat the bottom and all sides. Do not use a glass dish, as the bread will tend to stick.
- With oiled hands, gently transfer the dough into the pan. Pull the sides up and into the center to form a very loose ball. Turn it over so the seam side is down and all sides have a light oil coating. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 2 hours until the dough spreads almost to the edges of your pan.
- Pour another tablespoon of olive oil over the dough and a little onto your fingertips. Press straight down into the dough all the way to the pan to create holes throughout. Stretch it a little (as needed) to get it to the edges of your pan.
- Sprinkle with Herbs de Provence and sea salt. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 450˚F. Once preheated, put the focaccia in and turn the oven down to 425˚F. Bake for about 22-27 minutes (or longer, depending upon your oven) until golden brown on top and shrunken away from the edges of the pan a little.
- Once out of the oven, transfer to a wire cooling rack so the bottom stays crisp.