Simplicity at its Best: No-Knead Focaccia Recipe!

I love baking, it's my passion, and it gives me satisfaction. Just last week, I embarked on a flavorful adventure in the world of dough and ovens - focaccia was the star of the show, and boy, did it steal the spotlight! Imagine a squishy, heavenly creation that turns any gathering into a culinary spectacle, whether it's paired with a cheeseboard, a salad, or transformed into the most glorious sandwiches. 
But here's the kicker: the secret to this focaccia's unrivaled flavor and texture lies in an unexpected element—time. A mere 24 to 48 hours of slow rising in the fridge, and this dough transforms into a masterpiece, teeming with bubbles and rich, irresistible flavors. So, if you're ready to embrace anticipation and infuse your baking with love, join me on this journey as we unlock the magic of homemade focaccia that's bound to captivate taste buds and make every moment in the kitchen truly worthwhile.

Ingredients:
500g white bread flour
420ml water (slightly warm, just a bit warmer than your body temperature)
4g (1 teaspoon) instant yeast – I use Mauripan (If using “dry active”, you must add 1 gram extra and mix it with the warm water and honey and let it bloom/become frothy for 5-10 minutes before adding other ingredients)
5g (1 teaspoon) honey (or sugar or maple syrup)
15ml (1 Tablespoon) extra virgin olive oil
10g (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Flaky sea salt to finish

Topping Ideas:
Olives, Rosemary, Peppers, Cherry tomatoes, Herbs, Cheese, Jalapenos, Onions, Pesto, Chimichurri

Day One - Dough Mixing Day
1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the slightly warm water, instant yeast, honey, extra virgin olive oil, and fine sea salt until evenly combined. Tip your bread flour into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix with a spoon until all dry flour patches have disappeared. Place a cloth over top of the bowl, and let rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.

2. After 10 minutes, you will perform a stretch and fold. This helps to develop the gluten in the dough which will help with the structure of the bread. Wet your hand (this prevents the dough from sticking to you), grab a handful of dough from the 12 o’clock position, pull it up slightly, and then pull it all the way up and over the bulk of the dough to the 6 o’clock position. Repeat this action on all sides of the dough until it feels like you’ve created a bit of tension and you can’t stretch the dough up and over anymore…it should have tightened up into a rough ball. If the dough is wetter/stickier and doesn’t form into a ball, don’t worry too much! It’s just that all bread flours absorb different amounts of water. It should bake up just fine the following day! Let rest for 10 minutes and then repeat the stretch and fold action one more time.

3. After the second set of stretches and folds, wet your hands, gather your dough, and place it seam side down into the bowl so the top is quite smooth (this helps prevent air bubbles from escaping).

4. Top the dough with a good drizzle of olive oil (1 tbsp) and rub it over the dough to make sure the entire top surface has been covered. Cover your bowl with a reusable shower cap, a lid, or plastic wrap, or transfer it into a food container. The dough will rise in the fridge during its rest, so make sure there is room in the bowl for growth. Put in the coldest spot of your fridge and let rest in there for 12 - 48 hours.

Day Two - Baking Day

1. Prepare your 9” x 13” (22cm x 33cm) baking tray. Put a tiny bit of oil on the tray, rub it all around, and then place a sheet of parchment paper on top and press down. The oil helps the parchment to stick in place. Then drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil on the parchment paper and spread it evenly around the base and sides of the paper lining the tray/pan. The parchment prevents the focaccia from sticking to the tray when baking.

2. Remove your dough from the fridge and using a curved dough scraper, gently release the dough from the sides of the bowl and tip the dough into your oiled and lined tray.

3. Now, you are going to oil your hands and fold one side of the dough towards the middle of the blob of dough. Repeat with the other side, a bit like folding a piece of paper into thirds. Then flip the dough so the seams from the folding are at the bottom and the smooth side is at the top.

4. Cover using another tray, inverted - this prevents the dough from drying out and forming a crust while it rises. If you don’t have another tray, a plastic storage box can work too. Do not cover the dough with plastic wrap or a tea towel, it will stick.

5. Let sit for about 1.5 - 2.5 hours (the dough should be mostly filling the space in the tray). If it’s not filling the space after this period of time, oil your hands and from the underside of the dough gently pull it toward the edges of the tray. The timing will depend on the temperature of the day. If it’s a very hot day it might only take 1.5 hours to puff up/spread in the tray. On a very cold day, it could take 2.5 hours.

Dimpling, Topping, and Baking Your Focaccia
1. Once you think the dough is ready (it will be fluffy and jiggly when you shake the tray), it’s time to preheat your oven to 220C/430F.

2. Drizzle the top of the dough with a little more extra virgin olive oil and then oil your hands. Using both hands, press your fingers into the dough, gently touching the bottom of the tray. Repeat until the entire tray of dough is dimpled. There is such a thing as too much dimpling though…you can lose some of the nice bubbles you’ve created in the dough if you dimple too much. Just be mindful of air pockets and try not to pop them, these bubbles are what make the crumb of focaccia so interesting and delicious.

3. Top with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Add anything you’d like to the top by gently pressing toppings into the little dimples: olives, rosemary (coat in a bit of oil so it doesn’t burn), cherry tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and cheese. Before dimpling, you could top it with basil pesto or with my chimichurri sauce if using oily toppings like these, then omit the drizzle of olive oil.

4. I always bake my focaccia for about 18-22 minutes in a 220C/430F oven. I bake it on the lowest rack in the oven because I think it helps to crisp the bottom of the focaccia and prevent the top from burning. If you have a pizza setting in your oven, use that; the main heat source will come from the bottom, which I think is ideal for baking focaccia. Check the focaccia after 18-20 minutes (it might still need more time!) and remove from the oven when it’s reached a deep golden-brown color. I've learned that every oven is so different so don't worry about overbaking it if it takes closer to 25-28 (or more) minutes in your oven. The interior will still remain soft! If this is the case and it takes on the longer side, even up to 35 mins, I’d recommend upping your oven temp for the next time (turn up by 10-20 degrees), it could just be your oven runs a little on the cooler side.

5. I let it cool for a couple of minutes in the pan and then I transfer it to a cooling rack so the bottom doesn’t steam while sitting in the tray. I want it to stay nice and crispy.

6. You can top it with more olive oil when it’s come out of the oven if you wish for it to look burnished and glistening. If I’ve topped the focaccia with pesto or chimichurri I don’t tend to do this. With other toppings, I do a little drizzle and it soaks right into the crust when it’s hot out of the oven.

7. Let cool for at least 15-20 minutes before cutting in!

Note: It’s best enjoyed fresh the same day, but if you’d like to save some for the next day, wrap it in foil to store and then pop it into the oven (still in foil) and bake at 180C/355F for about 10-15 minutes. It will bring it back to life. It can also be wrapped in foil and frozen. Bake in foil straight from frozen at 200C/395F for about 15 minutes. Peel back the foil to expose the top of the focaccia and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes to crisp up the top.

So, get ready to embrace the waiting game, let time do its hocus-pocus, and let that oh-so-divine aroma of freshly baked focaccia become your ultimate payoff. And don't forget, even when life's crazy schedule takes center stage, a quick warm-up session works wonders to revive your culinary triumph. Cheers to the magic of mixing, the thrill of creation, and the soul-comforting world of crafting homemade focaccia!

3 comments:

  1. pergh... memerlukan dua kali ganda kerajinan ni...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kakak tak payah risau, ini tak perlu menguli. Kita boleh gelarkan dia "procrastination bread", sebab pegang-pegang, tinggal, pegang-pegang, tinggal.

      Delete
  2. Mak, nie kalau makan ngan mushroom soup sedap giler

    ReplyDelete

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