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No knead focaccia

No knead focaccia - easy and delicious

This is by far the easiest way to make a focaccia and it makes one for a crowd.  To prepare it, you start the night before and put the dough in the fridge, taking it out up to 3 hours before you want to bake, OR you start that morning and put the dough on the counter all day. 

You can scrape it right from the bowl to your prepared pan.  If you want your focaccia to be *even* better you can do the following:

1.  Measure the water into the bowl and add the yeast.  Let it sit for 10 minutes before adding the flour and the salt. You do not need to do this but if you have an extra 10 minutes, you can.  It always helps when the yeast is dissolved.  Any kind of yeast.
2.  You can do a stretch and fold about one hour before you want to bake.
3.  When you scrape the dough out of the bowl into your prepared tray, you can stretch out the top edge and fold it to the middle, stretch out the bottom edge and fold it to the middle and then flip the whole thing over.  That way you have layers of oil in your dough and that's VERY NICE. 

But - to be clear - you don't have to do either of those things if you cannot be bothered.

I use a deep roasting tray (at least 2 inches) that is 13 x 9 inches.  The focaccia is about 1.5 inches tall.  I like my focaccia thin, crispy and a bit greasy I have to confess.  If you like it thicker, make it in a smaller tray.  If you don't have a try as big as this and like it thin, but the dough in half (or make two - one after the other).  It take a bit of experimentation to find the right dough:tray ratio that you like.

You can put anything on top of your focaccia, within reason.  Tradition says rosemary and sage, olive oil and coarse sea salt.  If you only have oil and salt that's great.  If you only have dry herbs, that's great.  If you have a bit of onion, slice it up and put it on.  Tomato, peppers, olives, capers, other herbs - all great too.  The one I made most recently had shallot, cubed beetroot, feta cheese, wild garlic pesto and - of course - salt and oil.

Ingredients - for a focaccia about 13 x 9 inches

500 g white wheat flour (strong or plain)
500 g water from the tap
10 g salt
pinch instant yeast OR 5 g dry active yeast OR 10 g fresh yeast


Put all the ingredients into a big bowl and stir them until everything is incorporated.  If you are starting the night before, cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.  Take it out up to three hours (or so) before you want to bake, and leave it on the counter until you are ready to use it.  If you are starting the day of and you have at least 6 hours, you can cover your bowl and leave it on the counter until you are ready to use it.

When you are ready to use your dough:

Prepare your tray.  If you trust your tray is non stick you do not need to line it.  If you do not trust your tray, line it with non stick parchment paper.  Pour in A LOT of olive oil so that the whole bottom of the tray is covered in a thin layer of oil.  You should be able to see the oil move around if you tilt your tray.  Now is not the time to be stingy or think of your waistline.  This is not a thin coating of oil.  This is a thick coating of oil.

Scrape the dough into the prepared tray.  Put some oil on your hands and get UNDER the dough and gently stretch it to fill the tray.  Don't push it down - stretch it out.  If you want to do the stretch and fold, as explained up top - you can do it and then you gently stretch it out and press it out with your fingertips.

Preheat the oven to as high as you can get it - 230 C or 450 C if you can.

Prepare the toppings - get it all ready - chop the vegetables you need, get the salt or anything else ready.  

Once the oven is ready, top your focaccia with your toppings and - lastly - scatter on salt and dribble some more oil all over the top.

Wet your hands with water and, using all 10 fingers, press rapidly into the dough as if you were playing cords on the piano.  This makes little indents to trap the salt and the oil (yum.)

Put it in the oven and bake it for 20-25 minutes.  It should be a dark golden colour.  Remove from the oven and immediately remove from the pan and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Focaccia ready to go into the oven Focaccia ready to go into the oven

Delicious focaccia with beets, feta, shallot and wild garlic pesto Delicious focaccia with beets, feta, shallot and wild garlic pesto

Cross section of focaccia - lovely bubbly! Cross section of focaccia - lovely bubbly!

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