If you’re new to bread making, this super easy no knead focaccia is the best place to start. Just mix your ingredients, then let it rest and do it’s thing. No fancy ingredients, no special equipment and you’ll be enjoying the most deliciously soft and airy focaccia in no time.
One of the biggest barriers when it comes to baking bread is the kneading, at least, it was for me! I always found it tricky to know if I was doing it properly or long enough. But that’s where this fabulous no-knead recipe comes in. Focaccia really is a great place to start with bread. It’s a really forgiving dough that’s great for beginners. Even my very kitchen-adverse younger brother nailed this one which is a great testimonial.
All we’re doing here is mixing the ingredients in a bowl, doing three sets of ‘stretch and folds’, then leaving the dough to rise and develop strength before baking.
What are stretch and folds?
This isn’t something to be nervous about. While you’re not kneading the dough, you do need to help it along the way and develop some structure to the bread. If you don’t do this you won’t get that lovely airy lightness you’re after in focaccia. All this means is you’re going to wet your hands, then pick up one corner of the dough and fold it back on itself. Then rotate the bowl a quarter, and do the same with the next patch of dough. You’ll do this four times, then cover the dough, and let it relax for a few minutes before doing it again. You’ll then do it one more time before covering the dough and leaving it to rise.
The ingredient list for this recipe is fabulously short and you can find everything at the supermarket.
- Bread flour. If you can’t find any, you can just use plain all-purpose flour.
- Instant yeast. You can use active yeast if you can’t find instant – you’ll need to dissolve the active yeast in 100g of the water for 10 minutes first, before adding it to the bowl with everything else.
- Olive oil. Because you’ll be using a lot in this recipe, I recommend using good quality extra virgin olive oil if you can. The flavour comes through in the finished bread so it does make a difference if you use a good one.
- Chilli oil. I LOVE topping this focaccia with chilli oil, but you can really play around here. Some other combinations I love are sundried tomato and thyme or just plain sea salt and rosemary. I do recommend trying the chilli oil version though – it brings a lovely depth of flavour to the bread and isn’t too spicy. I’m using my homemade chilli oil.
- Cheese. Chilli, cheese and fresh bread is a match made in heaven. I’m using grated mozzarella for her the ultimate melty factor, but just go for whatever cheese you like.
I bake this focaccia in a deep 24cm x 35cm oven tray, but you can use something smaller or larger. Just be mindful that it will affect the thickness of your finished loaf and impact baking time. If you use something larger, your focaccia will be thinner and may take a little less time to cook (check after 25 minutes) and if you use something smaller, your focaccia will be thicker and may take longer to bake through (check after 30 minutes and leave it in the oven for a further 10 minutes if it still looks a little light in colour).
How to make your focaccia
Making this is a lot easier than you might think! Start by gathering your ingredients, then you’ll get everything into a large mixing bowl. This dough is SUPER wet and you might think it’s too wet, but I promise it works so don’t be tempted to add more flour. The longer the dough rests, the more ‘dough-like’ it’ll become.
Mix everything together until a sloppy, shaggy dough starts to form. Then cover it with a tea towel and let it rest for two minutes.
Now we’re moving to our stretch and folds. Start by wetting one of your hands, then with it in a ‘C’ shape, scoop underneath one portion of the dough using the side of the bowl to guide you. Gently lift the dough up, then fold it over itself into the middle of the bowl. Turn the bowl a quarter, then repeat this with another section of dough. Do this twice more, stretching and folding all sides of the dough. Then cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rest for two minutes.
Uncover the dough, and repeat the stretch and fold process. You’ll notice the dough will already have changed and become a little more pillowy! Repeat the same process as above, then cover again, rest for two more minutes and do one more set of stretch and folds.
Here’s what the dough looks like after the three rounds of stretch and folds! You’ll see it’s changed quite a bit from the sloppy, shaggy dough you started out with. That’s because you’ve started the gluten development in the bread. At this point, it’s time for the first rise. You can either cover the bowl in cling film and do this at room temperature or pop it (covered) in the fridge to rise overnight. You want the dough to have doubled in size and be super bubbly. I like to take a photo of my dough as I cover it so I can compare and see if it’s ready! This normally takes me an hour and a half but will be very dependent on the temperature of your kitchen, so judge with your eyes rather than the clock.
This is my dough after the first rise (I did this at room temperature). You can see how it’s risen and how bubbly it is on the top. That’s what we want to see!
Get the tray you’re baking your focaccia in, and drizzle it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I’m making mine in a 24cm x 35cm high-sided oven tray so try and use something similarly sized. You can make it in a smaller or larger tray but it will impact the height and baking time so just keep that in mind. Using a wet hand, carefully transfer the dough from the bowl into the tray. It will naturally spread out to fill the sides during the second rise, so don’t worry if it’s not perfectly reaching the corners. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil on top, then let it rise again until very bubbly and wobbly. This takes me 45 minutes at room temperature but again, use the dough and your eyes as the guide rather than the clock.
Once it is VERY wobbly and bubbly and has risen up the sides of the tray, you’ll know it’s ready to bake. I like to get the oven heating to 200C fan about 10 minutes into the second rise.
And now comes my favourite part! When your dough is ready to bake, it’s dough dimpling time. You’re going to drizzle 3 tablespoons of chilli oil all over the top of the dough, then with oiled fingers, press down all over the dough. Pretending you’re playing the piano all over the dough is the best way to describe this! The crevices you’re making will collect all the lovely chilli oil and make for a very puffy, airy finished focaccia.
Once you’ve dimpled the dough all over, sprinkle over the mozzarella if you’re using it, then scatter 1 teaspoon of flaky salt all over the top. You’re ready to cook! Bake for 30 minutes, until golden all over, and the side of the bread is pulling away from the tin. Let cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to stop the bottom from going soggy. Slice and devour!
Got a question?
Yes! This recipe is incredibly flexible and you can definitely put the dough in the fridge overnight and bake it the next day. You can either do this straight after mixing or after the first rise. It will just take a little bit longer to do the second rise the next day (allow another 40 mins) so just keep that in mind. Think of the fridge as putting the breaks on your dough whenever you need it.
No problem – just mix the 2 teaspoons of the active yeast with 200ml of the lukewarm water and let sit for 10 minutes before adding with the rest of the ingredients.
I like to store my focaccia in an airtight container at room temperature – it will last at least 4 days this way. Freshen it up in the toaster after the second day if you like.
This is where you can get creative! I love combinations like sundried tomatoes with thyme, Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes and garlic or simply sea salt and rosemary.
Definitely! It’s best the day you bake it, but I like to slice chunks in half and then freeze them in zip-lock bags. Then you can just pop in the toaster to defrost whenever you’d like a piece.
There are a couple of reasons you might end up with dense focaccia:
– for the best accuracy when doing any kind of baking, use a scale to measure your ingredients by weight, rather than relying on conversion to cups. That’s because in general, measuring by cups isn’t consistent – the way you pack the flour into a cup can have a big impact on the actual weight. Baking is precise so if your measurements are off, you risk getting a different result.
– you may not have let your dough rise long enough (or let it rise for too long). Make sure you’re taking a photo of the dough rising to compare, rather than just relying on time.
– check your yeast. Make sure your yeast is actually active by dissolving 1 teaspoon in a little water (about 1/2 a cup) along with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Give it a stir and let it sit for 10 minutes. If it’s active and thriving, it’ll look bubbly and foamy. If it’s dead, the yeast won’t properly dissolve and it won’t foam up.
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If you make this recipe let me know how you go in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.Print
Easy No Knead Focaccia
- Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
- Yield: One large loaf
- Diet: Vegetarian
If you’re new to bread making, this super easy no knead focaccia is the best place to start. Just mix your ingredients then let it rest and do its thing. No fancy ingredients, no special equipment and you’ll be enjoying the most deliciously soft focaccia in no time.
Remember, if you’re looking for cup measurements, just use the ‘Units’ section below and click on ‘US’.
For the focaccia –
- 600g white bread flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 535g lukewarm water
- 3 tablespoons chilli oil (to top – if you don’t like chilli or don’t have chilli oil, use olive oil here)
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella or cheese of your choice (blue cheese is also delicious)
- Extra olive oil for the pan and to top the rising dough (you’ll need 2 tablespoons for the pan and 1 tablespoon to drizzle over your dough before it rises).
Essential equipment –
I’m making my focaccia in this 24cm x 35cm deep sided, non-stick oven tray. But, you can use something that’s a similar size so don’t worry too much. If your tray is smaller, your focaccia will end up thicker and will take a little longer to cook, so just keep an eye on it. Similarly if your tray is larger, your focaccia will end up thinner and may cook a little faster. Shallow sided trays work fine as well, just make sure it has a little bit of a lip or your dough will be spilling everywhere when it’s rising!
- Mix the dough. Add 600g bread flour, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of instant yeast to a bowl then add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 535g lukewarm water. Give it a really good mix with a large wooden spoon until a shaggy dough starts to form, and there’s no dry patches of flour. It’s going to look wet, but don’t worry! Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rest for two minutes.
- Perform three sets of stretch and folds. Now you’re not kneading the dough, but you do need to develop a little strength so you end up with a lovely airy focaccia at the end. But this really is simple. You’re going to give the dough some ‘stretch and folds’. With a wet hand in a ‘C’ shape, pick up a section of the dough and fold it back onto itself. Rotate the bowl and do this 4 more times, going all around the dough. Cover the bowl for another three minutes, then do the stretch and fold process again. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for two more minutes, before repeating the stretch and folds one more time.
- Give the dough its first rise. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top of the dough, then with wet hands, lift it up and turn the dough over to coat it in the oil. This is going to make transferring it from the bowl to your oven pan a lot easier and will stop it drying out. Cover the bowl with cling film and let rise until doubled. This really will depend on the temperature of your kitchen – in summer it can take 45 minutes, but can take a 1.5 hours, or more in winter for me. Watch the dough, rather than the clock. You want it to be puffy, with visible air bubbles on the top. PRO TIP: Take a photo of the dough so you can easily compare and see how much it’s risen!
- Transfer the dough to the pan. Drizzle your large pan with another tablespoon of olive oil then tip the risen dough onto it, carefully using your hands to release it from the bowl if needed. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil on top of the dough, then leave it uncovered to rise again, stretching out the dough gently in the corners to form a rough rectangle. Again, I recommend taking a photo of the dough as you transfer it to the pan so you can easily compare – it will roughly take another 45 minutes. You’re looking for it to have again almost doubled, and be really pressing against the sides of the tin. PRO TIP: You can do the ‘poke test’ to see if your dough is ready to be baked. With an oiled finger, gently press into the dough. If the dough bounces back right away, it needs more time. If it slowly bounces back, it’s ready to go. If it doesn’t bounce back at all, it may be over proofed (focaccia is forgiving though, so don’t worry if this happens, it will still bake well!)
- Top your focaccia. When the dough is rising in the pan, heat your oven to 210C fan. When the dough is super wobbly, jiggly with lots of visible bubbles and doubled in size again, it’s time to bake. Drizzle the 3 tablespoons of chilli oil all over the top of the dough then using oiled fingers, dimple the dough all over. Basically, pretend you’re playing the piano on the dough, pressing right to the bottom of the dough! Finish with scattering the grated mozzarella and 1 teaspoon of flaky salt all over the dough.
- Bake the bread. Bake for 30 mins or until golden, crispy and you can see that the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan. Let sit for 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a large cooling rack.
The best thing about it this recipe is that it’s super flexible – you can make the whole thing in a couple of hours or pop the dough in the fridge for the first rise then finish it later or the next day, do the first rise at room temperature then pop in the fridge for the second, do both rising times in the fridge – it’s great for working around busy schedules.
You can store the focaccia in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days, but it’s best the day it’s baked. It also freezes really well. I like to cut small sections in half (so that they’ll fit in the toaster) then freeze so I have lovely fresh bread ready to be easily defrosted in the toaster whenever you get a focaccia craving.
Switch up your toppings – chilli oil is a real favourite for me but you can let your creative juices fly. Chopped sundried tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, olives, sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning, za’atar – you can really have fun with it!
- Prep Time: 10
- Rising Time: 120
- Cook Time: 30
- Category: bread
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: italian
- Serving Size: 200g
Keywords: foccacia, bread, easy bread, easy foccacia, foccacia recipe, bread recipe
What a wonderful and straightforward recipe!! Thank you for showing us the steps we made it this afternoon and all loved it. not sure how much more there will be for dinner!
I’m so happy you loved it!! And pleased you could follow it easily 🙂 🙂