Don’t you just love focaccia? I hope so, because this is a post about focaccia! All soft and chewy and crispy, flavored with herbs and garlic and smelling of olive oil. And I love it even more when it’s easy no-work, no-knead focaccia. So, pull out your cast iron skillet, because we are making bread!
Recently I shared with you my no-knead rosemary and olive oil bread. Which you should totally go make because it’s awesomely yummy with its thick crust and chewy interior, and couldn’t be easier.
But we cannot live on boules alone. Sometimes we need focaccia! Happily, my same recipe (with just a few alterations) works perfectly as a focaccia. Just as easy. Just as yummy. And that makes me especially happy.
Why, you ask?
Our supermarket changed hands last year and now has a completely different offering of breads in the bakery. Guess what’s missing?
Since previously I could always get tasty focaccia at a moment’s notice, I didn’t feel the need to make it very often. Now, though? I’m on my own, so coming up with a easy no-knead focaccia was at the top of my list.
Switching from a boule to a focaccia was fairly simple, but I did need to make a few changes.
- I use the olive oil on the outside of the focaccia instead of mixing it into the dough. This way the bread gets all crispy.
- I switched out the dutch oven for a cast iron skillet. (Though you could certainly make it on a baking sheet.)
- Focaccia needs a little more moisture, so I added some more water to the mix when I’m making the dough.
Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same idea as my last bread. Stir everything up the night before. Let it sit. Shape the bread and put it in the pan. Bake it. This is truly entry level bread, but it tastes like expert bread.
Aren’t those the best kind of recipes? Easy effort in and impressive results out.
I think so! 🙂
I know if you try this once, and you’ll be sold like I was. Either the boule or this no-knead focaccia. Both are great and will get you into making your own bread more often.
- smells amazing
- full of garlic flavor
- and thyme
What are you waiting for?
If it’s that you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use a baking sheet and spread out the dough there. However, a basic cast iron skillet will only run you 15-20 dollars, and is so much easier to care for than you might think.
- Yes, you can use soap and water. And a scrubby sponge! (I do it all the time.) Some people swear by no soap cleaning for cast iron and the myth that you can’t use soap to wash it kept me away from cast iron for years. If you don’t want to use soap, don’t, but if not scrubbing pans makes you tense (like me), get out the soap.
- No, you shouldn’t leave it wet to air dry. Dry it well. In fact, it’s good practice to put it on a warm burner to finish drying it after you’ve wiped it down.
- Yes, you should rub on a (very thin!) coat of oil after use. Rub it on and then rub as much off as you can. Dry, rub with oil, put on warm burner.
- No, you should not let it soak. Water in the enemy of iron!
- Yes, a little salt and oil works wonders for any stuck on grime that your sponge didn’t get. Pour some salt in and then some oil over it and rub with a cloth.
There you have it. Go forth and make no-knead bread and don’t fear the cast iron.
– Happy Baking, Annemarie
My no-knead focaccia bread with garlic and thyme is made right in a cast iron skillet, giving it a soft and chewy interior and crispy edges. Easy! Great for dinner or for paninis!
- 15 oz (3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 4 tsp kosher salt, 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
- 1 1/3 cup room temperature water
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- coarse salt
In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and stir with a large spoon until the flour is completely incorporated. You may need to get your hands in there to finish mixing in the flour. The dough will be wet and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm spot in the kitchen for 10-12 hours.
As soon as you are done mixing the dough, make the garlic oil. Heat oil on medium heat with the garlic. Once it starts bubbling, reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. The garlic will be soft and lightly golden. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the garlic out of the oil. At this point you can either toss the garlic or reserve it to work into the focaccia. Let the oil cool to room temperature.
Once the dough is covered in bubbles and looks puffy the dough is ready to be shaped.
Take 2 tablespoons of the oil and put it into a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet. Using your fingertips, scrape the dough out of the bowl into the skillet and turn it to coat it with oil. Spread out the dough over the bottom of the skillet. If it doesn't reach the edges, wait about 10 minutes and then gently push it out some more.
Cover the skillet with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 1 hour.
After 30 minutes, set a rack to the lower middle position and turn on the oven to 500F.
When ready, top the dough with more of the garlic oil. Then sprinkle thyme leaves, coarse salt, and the reserved garlic slice (if desired) over the top. Dimple the dough with your fingertips, working some of the toppings down into the bread.
Bake until the middle is cooked through, the top is brown, and the bottom is crispy. 15-20 minutes in a 12-inch skillet. 20-25 in a 10-inch skillet.
- You can use a heavy baking sheet to make this bread. It won't get as crispy as the cast iron version, but it will work just fine.
- I use a 12-inch Lodge cast iron skillet. I gave it a couple extra rounds of seasoning when I started using it. I also pan fry in it fairly frequently and give it a nice thin coat of oil after I've washed it up and I'm done with it. The focaccia just slides right out of my pan when I'm done.
- If your dough is too dry to mix in well when you're adding the water to the flour, add another tablespoon or two of water.
- While I do consider the garlic oil to be essential, feel free to use different herbs over the top if you don't have thyme on hand. Rosemary, sage, parsley, and basil are a few of the herbs I would like on this bread.
- If you want to make the little tomato salad I have in the picture, take one or two large beefsteak tomatoes and chop them in 1/2 dice. Grab a few large basil leaves and slice them. Then toss it with some kosher salt and olive oil (basically a sprinkle and drizzle or two). My daughter highly recommends the focaccia with the salad. She likes to soak it in the juices from the salad and then top bread with the tomato chunks.