Last Updated on August 28, 2020 by Stephanie
This easy no-knead focaccia bread rises overnight and is baked to crispy pillowy perfection in a cast iron skillet. This cast iron foccacia is topped with flakey sea salt and fragrant rosemary for the perfect accompaniment to any dish!
Bread Flour vs. All Purpose Flour
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 a thicker focaccia. If you use all purpose flour, it is the same measurement (1:1).
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.
When it comes to baking, precision matters. 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.
Not everyone has a dough mixer, so I made this focaccia no-knead. By allowing it to rise overnight for up to 24 hours, that eliminates the need to knead (say that 5 times fast…). 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.
Make sure your bowl is big enough to account for rising because the dough should rise exponentially. 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. 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, if your house runs warmer, you can put it in the fridge.
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.
Dimple and add toppings
First you are going to use the palm of your hand and press the dough into the pan to spread it, so it reached all sides of the pan. Then using your finger tips, press holes all the way down to the skillet bottom to dimple the dough. Next spread 3 tbsp of olive oil and allow it to go into the dimples. For flavor, I topped with flakey sea salt and fresh rosemary. You can use whatever herbs you would like.
Baking the 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 depending on size of oven, size of skillet, etc.
When you remove the bread from the oven, using a spatula, peak underneath to make sure its fully cooked through. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting the focaccia.
Cast iron focaccia bread is best enjoyed the day of baking. I love dipping it in olive oil. To store, you can freeze the sliced bread and then warm 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
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- 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.