The Easiest No Knead Focaccia
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The most delicious no knead focaccia bread! This recipe has 5 essential ingredients and you can top it with anything you like. You won’t believe how easy it is to make focaccia bread at home!
Who would’ve thought that no knead focaccia should be this easy!
Every time I take a bite of this crispy, salty focaccia laced with olive oil, I’m transported back to the Ligurian region of Italy. Where shamelessly, I ate my weight in focaccia, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a good three days. Sometimes it was ripened tomatoes with a smear of fresh pesto, other times I’d go for cipolle (onion) petals, and of course, nothing beats focaccia with just olive oil and flaky sea salt.
No knead focaccia is an easy bread recipe anyone can make. It also happens to be the perfect way to enjoy an Italian classic at home that doesn’t require a ton of bread-making experience. Every bite starts with a crunchy, springy dough on the inside, a hint of sea salt there in the back, and a burst of good olive oil out of the little dimples of bread dough. I worked on this recipe for two years before I hit the publish button it. And it’s absolutely perfect.
Seriously. The amount of joy that homemade focaccia bread gives me is outrageous. Focaccia is a staple for us during the holidays – especially Thanksgiving!
This is a long post with TONS of details so if you’ve made focaccia before and aren’t looking to get all the details, feel free to hit the ‘jump to recipe’ button at the top!
Ingredients to make no knead focaccia bread:
- Lukewarm Water: You’ll want to use warm water (about 105ºF) so that the yeast can start blooming immediately.
- Honey: Honey adds a hint of sweetness, helping with the maillard reaction (gives focaccia that noticeable tan color) and acts as food for the yeast when we activate it in the water.
- Active dry yeast: I usually store yeast in the refrigerator to maintain better shelf life. However, you can also use yeast packets from the pantry. Keep in mind that a packet of yeast typically contains closer to 2 ¼ teaspoons. For this recipe you only need 1 ½ teaspoons so be sure to measure it out! Instant yeast can be used interchangeably with active dry yeast for this focaccia bread recipe. Typically, instant yeast doesn’t need to be activated the way active dry yeast does.
- Bread Flour: Bread flour works best for this recipe as it contains a higher protein and gluten content. More on other flours that will also work below. Since focaccia is a ‘chewy’ bread recipe, we need the dough to have more elasticity so it develops those signature air bubbles in the dough. The additional gluten is welcome here!
- Kosher Salt: I use this kosher salt for all the recipes you see on the blog. You’ll want to use about half the amount if you use table salt at home.
- Olive Oil: Is used a few different stages in the focaccia making process. First, olive oil is added to the dough where it provides a subtle olive flavor. Then we’ll use it to grease the baking pan, and finally, on top of the bread for more flavor and it glistens when you pull the bread out of the oven. There’s almost nothing better than fresh focaccia from the oven!
- Seasonings or toppings: How you flavor the focaccia is entirely up to you! Just plain of flaked sea salt is a delicious treat! You can also use red pepper flakes for a little heat. Lots of topping suggestions below.
How to make no knead focaccia:
- Start by mixing the dough. Add the warm water, honey, and yeast to a large bowl and allow the yeast to bloom. Make sure the water is warm and not hot. Hot water will immediately kill the yeast, and unfortunately, you’ll have to start all over! The honey is food for the yeast and within a few minutes, you’ll start to see the water turn cloudy and little bubbles appearing on the surface of the water. If you don’t see any activity after 10-12 minutes, the yeast may have expired. I suggest getting a fresh pack of yeast and trying again as this one won’t yield a nice fluffy focaccia! Once the yeast has been activated, add the flour and kosher salt. Take care to not add the salt directly to the water. You want the flour to go in first, then add the salt. If the salt comes in direct contact with the yeast, there is a chance it will kill it. It’s best to avoid the situation by adding flour first. Then add the olive oil and combine using a dough whisk, rubber spatula, or wooden spoon. Once the dough is mixed. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to another bowl. Add the dough to the bowl and cover the bowl with a cap or plastic wrap. If you use plastic wrap, you might want to brush the side that will touch the dough with a little oil to keep the wrap from sticking. Place the dough in the fridge for 12-18 hours.
- Proof the dough. Remove the dough from the refrigerator 3 hours before you plan on baking focaccia. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 18×13 baking sheet. If your pan is not nonstick, you’ll want to generously butter the pan before adding the oil. Do not skip this step! The focaccia will stick to the pan and you’ll be so sad. Dump the dough out on the baking sheet, then gently stretch the dough using your fingers. Don’t stress if the dough doesn’t stretch all the way to the corners of the pan. Cover for now, and try again in 30 minutes. Preheat the oven and place a rack in the center of the oven while the dough proofs and comes to room temperature. Pour the remaining extra virgin olive oil over the dough and using your fingertips dimple the dough. Then sprinkle on your favorite toppings.
- Bake and make focaccia. When the oven has preheated, bake the bread for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the dough is cooked through. If you use a different (smaller) pan the dough might need a bit more time (30-35 minutes) to cook all the way through. Let the focaccia cool for a few minutes before cutting into slices.
FAQs about no knead focaccia:
- Can you use toppings on this? Yes! One of my favorites is thinly sliced onions or cherry tomatoes placed right on top and then brushed with basil pesto when the focaccia bread is hot out of the oven! You can also use green olives, Za’atar seasoning (I do this often) sesame seeds, fresh rosemary, other herbs, or brush with garlic butter while the focaccia is still warm. The possibilities are truly endless.
- Why do you suggest adding extra flour if you’re using AP flour instead of bread flour? Bread flour contains a higher protein content which allows it to absorb more liquid. The additional protein found in bread flour is because bread flour has more gluten, making it the ideal flour for bread baking. Another smidge of all purpose flour helps create a down that is more similar to focaccia dough made with bread flour.
- Is there a significant difference if you use bread flour vs. all purpose flour? I find the bread flour focaccia bread to be a bit more chewy. The high protein content and gluten formation also make the focaccia rise a bit more than if you were to use all purpose flour. However, either flour will work for this recipe.
- Does the focaccia bread stick to the baking sheet? If you use a standard sheet pan (one that’s not nonstick) you’ll need to use a small knob of butter to grease the sheet pan before pouring the olive oil. Unfortunately, olive oil alone does not keep the focaccia from sticking to the sheet pan. Rub the butter generously in the pan, then pour the olive oil and continue from there. You do not have to use butter if you used a good quality nonstick baking sheet.
- Can I use a smaller baking sheet if I want the bread to be thicker? Yes! If you’re using the bread for say, sandwiches or prefer more soft center, I suggest baking the bread in a smaller pan. You can use this rectangle pan or even a couple of these round pans! If you use either of these pans, you will have to grease with butter first and keep in mind that baking times will vary.
Best tips to make foolproof no knead focaccia recipe:
- If you own a large pizza stone/steel, use it! I have a pizza steel as a permanent structure in my oven. If you own one large enough, you can place your baking sheet on the stone to give the bottom of a crust a bit more heat. This is in no way necessary, the recipe works fine without it but it does help the bread achieve a better crust! I use a rimmed baking sheet (one that isn’t nonstick) when I bake the bread on the pizza stone.
- Serving suggestions: you can serve focaccia with just about anything! It’s great for breakfast alongside Italian eggs, with my homemade tomato soup, or Italian wedding soup, use it for sandwich bread, serve it with an olive oil dip, or with a roasted garlic Italian couscous salad. It’s the perfect side dish with whole roasted chicken, homemade ragu with paddardelle, tomato shrimp pasta, gnocchi all sorrentina, pasta puttanesca, or Calabrian chili pasta!
- This isn’t a quick recipe. But I do have another focaccia recipe that can be done from start to finish within a few hours! I suggest using my other focaccia bread recipe if you want to make this in one day. This dough does require a 12-18 hour refrigeration (this is a high hydration dough) and the resting time can’t be rushed!
If you like this bread recipe, you might also like:
- Homemade Jalapeño Cheddar Bread
- Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread
- Garlic Irish Cheddar Chive Soda Bread
- Homemade Naan (and Garlic Naan too!)
Other no knead dough recipes:
- 2 ½ cups lukewarm water (105ºF)
- 1 ½ teaspoon EACH: honey AND active dry yeast
- 5 cups (695g) bread flour (see notes)
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup olive oil + more
- Extras: Za’atar, pesto, sesame seeds, fresh rosemary, sliced onions, green olives, garlic butter, or flaked sea salt, for topping
- MIX: Combine water, honey, yeast, in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. Stir in flour and kosher salt. Add ¼ cup of olive oil and combine with a dough whisk or rubber spatula. Rub the surface of a large bowl with a teaspoon of oil. Place the dough in the bowl, cover and refrigerate for 12-18 hours.
- PROOF: Remove dough from the fridge 3 hours before baking. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil on an 18x13 baking sheet and spread it out using your hands (see notes.) Dump the dough out onto the baking sheet. With oily hands, stretch the dough using your fingertips towards the edges of the pan. Stop when the dough shrinks back, cover, and try again after another 30 minutes. Allow the dough to rest for a total of 3 hours (your 30-minute stretching intervals count towards the total 3-hour time.)
- PREHEAT: When there are 45 minutes remaining, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Drizzle the top with another 2 tablespoons of olive oil, rub some of your fingers too, and dimple the dough using your fingertips, pressing down on the dough to the bottom of the pan but making sure you don’t rip the dough. At this point, you can top with olives, fresh herbs, or just the flaked sea salt.
- BAKE: for 25-30 minutes or until golden. You can broil the focaccia for a minute to give it a little more color if you’d like. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan and slicing.
- Measuring flour: If you are not weighing out the flour for this recipe (which I highly suggest) you’ll want to use the spoon and level method. Use a spoon to fluff the flour to aerate it. Then use the spoon to fill your 1-cup measuring cup. Run a knife along the top of the measuring cup without applying pressure. Repeat this 5 times to get 5 cups of flour.
- Flour: If you use AP flour for this recipe, I suggest adding 1 additional tablespoon of flour.
- Baking sheet: If you use a standard sheet pan (not nonstick) you’ll need to use a small knob of butter to grease the baking sheet before adding olive oil. Unfortunately, olive oil alone does not keep the bread from sticking. Rub the butter generously on the sheet, then pour olive oil and continue from there.
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