This easy no-knead focaccia bread rises overnight and is baked to crispy, pillowy perfection in a cast iron skillet. Homemade focaccia is topped with flakey sea salt and fragrant rosemary for the perfect accompaniment to any dish!
What is focaccia?
Focaccia is an Italian leavened bread, which means it uses yeast to help it rise, giving it an airier texture. It is a flatbread that has a similar look and texture to pizza crust. In fact, some Italian places call it pizza bianca!
People serve it in a variety of different ways. Some people cut the bread into strips; others serve it round, fresh out of the oven.
What is no-knead focaccia
A trademark step in making bread is kneading the bread. This involves folding the dough on top of itself and smashing it back down.
Bakers repeat this process a few times to incorporate microbubbles into the dough, which inflate during the baking process. If you don’t knead bread, it won’t rise and look like a loaf of bread.
Since focaccia is a flatbread, you don’t have to knead it!
Why this no-knead focaccia recipe works
- It’s easy to customize. I topped it with sea salt and rosemary, but you could drizzle pesto on top or sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top before you bake it!
- You can make cast iron focaccia on busy weeknights. Since you don’t have to knead the bread, this is a really simple side dish to mix, let rise, and then bake!
- It complements other Italian dishes perfectly. Serve this bread with stuffed pasta shells for a family meal that feels extra special and full of love.
Cast iron focaccia ingredients
This Italian focaccia recipe is SO easy to make. I used basic bread ingredients you’ll easily find at your grocery store! Here’s what you need:
- Bread flour
- Active dry yeast
- Kosher salt
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Fresh rosemary
If you don’t like rosemary, you can simply swap it out for another herb such as oregano or thyme!
Which type of flour is best for focaccia
This recipe works with both bread flour and all-purpose flour, but I prefer using bread flour.
Bread flour has a higher percentage of protein (12-14%) compared to all-purpose flour (8-11%). The higher protein allows the bread to rise higher, resulting in thicker focaccia.
If you do decide to use all-purpose flour, it is the same measurement (1:1).
What type of yeast to use for focaccia
The most common types of yeast are active dry yeast and instant (rapid rise) yeast. You can use either one in this recipe (1:1), but if using active dry yeast, you have to dissolve it in water first!
Instant yeast can be mixed straight into the dough. I whisk the active dry yeast in lukewarm water until it begins to bubble.
How to measure bread ingredients
When it comes to baking, precision matters! So, I always use a digital scale to measure my ingredients.
Make sure you place your empty measuring cup on the scale and then ‘tare’ the scale. This will reset the weight and not weigh the cup – just the contents inside it.
How to make no-knead focaccia
Not everyone has a dough mixer, so I made this cast iron focaccia no-knead.
Mix the ingredients until no dry flour remains. You can use your hands or a rubber spatula, so it doesn’t stick.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap so no air escapes.
Allowing it to rise overnight for up to 24 hours eliminates the need to knead (say that 5 times fast…).
Letting focaccia rise overnight
After you have mixed all of the ingredients together and covered it, allow the dough to rest.
I let my dough rise on the countertop – the photo above was after 15 hours, and I didn’t notice any deflation. My house is 70 degrees, so if your house runs warmer, you can put it in the fridge.
Make sure your bowl is big enough to account for rising because the dough should rise exponentially.
Should I refrigerate the dough overnight?
This depends on how warm your house is. It is said if left at room temperature for too long, the dough can begin to deflate after 12 hours. By refrigerating the dough, you slow down the rising process, so the deflating doesn’t happen.
Prepping the dough
After your dough has risen overnight, take a rubber spatula and fold the edges into the middle of the dough to form a tight ball.
In a large cast-iron skillet (I used a 12-inch), add 3 tbsp olive oil and place the dough in, seamed side down.
Allow the dough to sit in the cast iron for another hour.
Dimpling and adding focaccia toppings
After allowing the dough to rest some more in the cast iron skillet, here’s how to finish prepping the focaccia dough:
- Use the palm of your hand and press the dough into the pan to spread it so it reaches all sides of the pan.
- Using your fingertips, press holes all the way down to the skillet bottom to dimple the dough.
- Spread 3 tbsp of olive oil and allow it to go into the dimples.
- For flavor, I topped it with flakey sea salt and fresh rosemary. You can use whatever herbs you would like.
Why dimple focaccia
The dimples don’t just make your bread look good; they have a functional purpose too! They reduce the air in the dough and keep the bread flat by preventing it from rising too quickly.
The dimples are the way you make flatbread without kneading.
Baking the rosemary focaccia
Bake the focaccia at 450 degrees F. The high heat will give you the crunchy blistered exterior and fluffy center.
I baked for about 25 minutes, rotating the skillet halfway through for an even bake.
You want the top to be a deep golden brown. It may take less time depending on the size of the oven, size of the skillet, etc.
When you remove the bread from the oven, using a spatula, peek underneath to make sure it’s fully cooked through. Allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes before cutting the focaccia.
Serving no-knead focaccia
Cast iron focaccia bread is best enjoyed the day of baking. I love dipping it in some Italian olive oil.
You can also split a piece of focaccia in half and use it as sandwich bread. You can also serve it alongside soup for dipping. I love to pair it with this roasted red pepper soup!
How to store rosemary focaccia
To store, you can freeze the sliced rosemary bread and then warm it back up in the oven at 325 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes or until defrosted.
Dishes to pair with the focaccia bread
- Clams and Chorizo
- Braised Short Ribs
- Slow Cooker Guinness Beef Stew
- Roasted Garlic Chicken
- Penne Alla Vodka
- Baked Chicken Parmesan
Have you tried this recipe and loved it?! Leave a star rating below!
Cast Iron No-Knead Focaccia Bread
- 500 grams bread flour or all purpose flour about 3 ¼ cups
- 4 grams active dry yeast see note #1 (about 1 tsp)
- 325 grams water about 1 ½ cups
- 15 grams Kosher salt about 1 tbsp
- 6 tablespoons olive oil divided
- Coarse flakey sea salt
- Fresh rosemary leaves
- In a large mixing bowl, add the bread flour and kosher salt into the bowl (see note #3 on weighing ingredients)
- In a heat proof measuring cup, microwave the water for 20 seconds. Add the active dry yeast to the water and whisk until it dissolves and begins to bubble. (see note #2 if using instant yeast). Add the water/yeast into the bowl with the flour. Using your hands or a rubber spatula, mix until there is no more dry flour. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise overnight (minimum 8 hours, max 24 hours) (see note #4).
- After the dough has risen overnight, remove the plastic wrap. Take a rubber spatula and tuck the edges of the dough into the center of the dough, creating a ball. In a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet, add 3 tbsp olive oil, then place the ball of dough into the cast iron seam side down. Allow the dough to sit in the cast iron for one hour.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. After the dough has sat in the cast iron for one hour, using the palm of your hand, flatten the dough into the skillet spreading it to meet all sides of the skillet. Using your finger tips, dimple the dough by pressing all the way down to the bottom of the skillet. Brush/spread 3 tbsp olive oil onto the dough, allowing the oil to go into the dimples. Sprinkle flakey sea salt and fresh rosemary over the top.
- Bake the focaccia for about 20-25 minutes (turning skillet halfway through so it bakes evenly) until the top is golden brown. Remove the skillet from the oven using mitts. With a rubber spatula, gently lift the bread and check underneath to make sure it’s fully cooked. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting. Serve with a dish of olive oil for dipping, best enjoyed the day of (see note #5).
- Bread flour vs all purpose flour: This recipe works with both bread flour and all purpose flour. Bread flour has a higher percentage of protein (12-14%) compared to all purpose flour (8-11%). The higher protein allows the bread to rise higher, resulting in a thicker focaccia. If you use all purpose flour, it is the same measurement (1:1).
- If using instant yeast you do not have to dissolve it into the water. You can add the instant yeast straight into the flour, followed by the water into the flour.
- When it comes to baking, precision matters. Use a digital scale to measure ingredients. Make sure you place your empty measuring cup on the scale and then ‘tare’ the scale. This will reset the weight and not weigh the cup, just the contents inside it.
- Should you refrigerate the dough overnight? This depends on how warm your house is. It is said, if left at room temperature for too long dough can begin to deflate after 12 hours. By refrigerating the dough, you slow down the rise process so the deflating doesn’t happen. My house is 70 degrees, if your house runs warmer, you can put it in the fridge.
- The focaccia bread is best enjoyed the day of, you can store in a paper bag for 2 days or you can freeze the sliced bread. Warm back up in the oven at 325 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes or until defrosted.
Can I use a 14 inch skillet?
Hi Fran, you can use a 14 inch skillet, it will just come out slightly thinner. I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you!! I’ll let you know how it comes!! It’s my first attempt!!!
This is the third time I have made this. A huge hit every time.
I made this yesterday and it was amazing! It was exactly what I was looking for. Even my kids loved it! Thank you for this recipe!
I’m so glad you and the kids enjoyed it, thanks for making it!
This recipe makes delicious and perfect focaccia every time.
Made this for the 1st time today, and it turned out great! Thank you for the recipe! What would be a good substitute for rosemary (since I’m not too crazy about it)? Thanks in advance 🙂
I’m so glad you loved it Angie! You can experiment with different herbs such as: basil, oregano, thyme, etc. I’ve also done olives and sun-dried tomatoes too.
Tha sounds delicious!! Thanks again 🙂
So happy to have found your site – all recipes look amazing! I will be trying this one first for sure. Thanks for being so informative with the recipe. Baking can certainly be tricky and your tips and information are helpful.
So glad you found my site Lucy! Baking didn’t come second nature to me like cooking did, so I’m glad you appreciate the tips and tricks I’ve come up with to be successful. I hope you enjoy the focaccia!
I’m making this for my husband this weekend. We have our 6th anniversary this weekend and year 6 symbol is iron so I was looking for a cast iron focaccia recipe. We went to Italy and ate a ton of focaccia during our honeymoon so trying to recreate in our home since our Italian vacation this year was canceled due to covid. Thanks for the recipe!!
Aw Emily this is so special and I’m so honored that you are using my recipe for such a special occasion! I hope you have such a special anniversary and hopefully you can go back to Italy soon. Have such a great weekend!
We have made focaccia bread a few times but I have never made it in a cast iron or let the dough rise overnight as it calls for in this recipe! Turned out absolutely DELICIOUS and it rose a lot! I let mine rise at room temperature for around an hour, refrigerated overnight, and cooked in the AM. Highly recommend this recipe!