Bread seems to be the thing I’ve made the most this lockdown. I’ve really been loving trying out new recipes and improving my skills – plus having the house smell like fresh bread is a truly delightful thing.
The most recent recipe I’ve tried is Bon Appetit’s No-Knead Focaccia. I’d heard so many people raving about this recipe, and after the arm-aching kneading required in almost every bread recipe this was a very welcome break. This recipe does require the dough to prove overnight, but believe me when I say this bread is worth every second of it.
I absolutely adore focaccia, there’s just so much you can do with it. It’s a perfect alternative for garlic bread, great for dipping into olive oil and balsamic, you can use it to make super gourmet-feeling sandwiches, or it’s amazing for just snacking on!
I was a little wary of this recipe because it just seemed too easy, but I honestly think this might be the best bread I’ve made yet. It’s pillowy soft and full of flavour, truly a winner.
I pretty much followed the recipe to a T, but I did at rosemary to the garlic butter to add a little extra flavour. I would also reduce the amount of salt next time I make this because it was a little too much even for my taste, but you can just play around and see what works for you!
What you’ll need:
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 2 tsp honey
- 625g plain flour
- 590ml lukewarm water
- 5 tsp salt (I would probably cut down to 4 tsp)
- 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- flaky sea salt
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- baking dish (I used about a 12×12″ for a super thick focaccia, but use something larger like an 18×13″ for something crispier)
How to make:
- Whisk the yeast, honey, and lukewarm water together in a large bowl until the yeast dissolves, then allow to sit for 5 minutes. It should be creamy and even a little foamy.
- Add the flour and salt to the liquid and use a rubber spatula to combine, mixing until a shaggy dough forms and there are no dry streaks remaining.
- Pour 4 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil into a large bowl. Transfer the dough into the bowl and turn a few times to coat in oil.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and allow to chill in the fridge for 24 hours and doubled in size. If you’re in a rush you can let it sit at room temperature for 3-4 hours, but I would highly recommend leaving overnight if you can for the best flavour and texture.
- Once your dough has risen for the set time, begin to prepare the baking pan. Generously butter the pan to ensure the focaccia won’t stick, then pour 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil into the centre of the pan.
- In the bowl, use a fork in each hand to gather up the edges of the dough furthest from you and lift and fold into the centre of the bowl. Turn the bowl a quarter and repeat the process, until you have done this to each side. The aim of this is to deflate the dough whilst forming it into a rough ball.
- Transfer the dough to the baking pan and pour any remaining oil left in the bowl over the dough. Turn to coat in oil, and then allow to rise, uncovered, in a warm place until doubled in size, between 1 1/2 and 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 230ºC. Test the dough to see if it’s ready by poking it; if it springs back slowly and leaves an indent, you’re good to go.
- Lightly oil your hands, and stretch the dough to fill out the pan if needed (you probably won’t have to do this if you’re using a deeper baking pan). Begin poking the focaccia all over with your fingers, pressing all the way down to the bottom of the pan to dimple the surface.
- Drizzle the dough with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Bake for 20-40 minutes until golden and puffed and a toothpick comes out clean.
- When you’re ready to serve the focaccia, prepare the garlic and rosemary butter. Melt the unsalted butter in a small pan over medium heat, then remove from the heat.
- Use a microplane to grate the garlic into the pan, and add the leaves from the rosemary. Return to the pan to medium heat and cook for a further 30-45 seconds, until fragrant.
- Brush the butter all over the bread, then cut into squares and serve!
I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the way this focaccia turned out. It’s so moreish and a real crowd-pleaser, the perfect thing to serve up if you’re having guests over! The best thing about this focaccia (other than the fact that it requires barely any effort) is that it freezes really well, just allow to defrost, wrap in tin foil and then reheat in a 180ºC oven for 10 minutes.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post, let me know if you try this recipe out and what you think of it! See you next time,