The Italian bread known as focaccia is a flat, leavened loaf that is baked in the oven and resembles pizza in both appearance and texture (“white pizza”).

For rosemary focaccia, a generous amount of crispy flaky sea salt and fresh rosemary are sprinkled on top, and just before serving, more olive oil is drizzled over the dish, which wonderfully soaks into all of the small holes made on the bread.

The method used in the preparation of this focaccia is primarily based on my simple pan pizza recipe. The key ingredient is a very moist, no-knead, no-stretch dough. Yes, you read that right. Absolutely no stretching or kneading. The process of producing it is quite simple. It only requires a little bit of time.

The concept of no-knead dough is nothing new. It’s a method that was created by Sullivan Street Bakery’s Jim Lahey and made well-known by Mark Bittman of the New York Times back in 2007. The fundamental idea is straightforward: simply add all of the ingredients for your dough in a bowl, cover it, and let time take care of the rest. We need flour, salt, yeast, and water to make this focaccia.


How does this method work?

Large proteins can be divided into smaller ones by the enzymes found in flour. Think of those enzymes as teeny, tiny wire cutters that break apart those tangled bundles of protein wire into smaller pieces. The shorter the pieces, the extremely easy it is to detach them and then align and join up the fragments into a good, strong gluten network. Usually, kneading is used to create gluten networks. Those proteins join together due to mechanical activity. With a no-knead dough, those enzymes begin to break down proteins after an overnight rest at room temperature. In the meantime, yeast begins to eat the flour’s sugars, generating carbon dioxide gas in the process. The bubble of gas causes the dough to stretch.

In comparison to a dough that has been hand-kneaded or kneaded in a mixer, simply letting the dough sit overnight will produce a gluten network that is at least as strong (if not stronger!).

High hydration is the sole factor other than time that truly determines the success of a no-knead dough. A minimum of 60% of the weight of the flour you use should be water. Fortunately, increased moisture also produces better-looking holes after baking. My goal is 65%.

After the dough has rested for the required amount of time, I turn it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface, roll it into a ball, and place it immediately into a 12-inch cast iron skillet that has been generously greased with extra-virgin olive oil. I then turn the ball until it is evenly coated with oil.



  • 500g (about 3 1/4 cups) all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 ounces pitted green olives, sliced
  • ¼ cup roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
  • Coarse sea salt



  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, yeast, and water. Mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until there is no dry flour left. To allow for rising, the bowl should be at least 4 to 6 times the volume of the dough.
  2. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, making sure the edges are well-sealed, and set aside for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. The dough should rise significantly and completely fill the bowl.
  3. The dough is placed on a lightly floured work surface after being lightly dusted with flour on the top. Holding the dough in your floured hands, rotate it into a tight ball by tucking the dough under itself.
  4. In a 12-inch cast iron skillet or big cake pan, pour half the oil into the bottom. Position the dough seam-side-down in the pan after transferring it, turning to coat it in oil. Press the dough around the skillet with a flat palm, slightly flattening it and spreading oil around the entire bottom and edges. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and set aside for 2 hours at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 550°F after an hour.
  5. The dough should mostly fill the skillet to the edge after the two hours are finished. To fill every corner, press it with your fingertips while popping any noticeable huge bubbles. When there are no air bubbles left underneath the dough and the dough is equally distributed across the pan, lift up one edge of the dough to allow any trapped air bubbles to escape. Spread the pistachios and olives evenly over the dough’s surface and use your fingertips to lightly press them into place. Add the last of the olive oil. Add some coarse salt and rosemary.
  6. Transfer skillet to oven, and bake for 16 to 24 minutes, or until bottom is golden brown and crisp when lifted with a thin spatula. Loosen the focaccia and peek underneath with a thin spatula. If the bottom is not crisp enough, place the pan on a burner and cook over medium heat, moving the pan around to cook evenly until crisp, 1 to 3 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on a cutting board before slicing and serving. Extra bread can be stored at room temperature in a brown paper bag for up to 2 days. Reheat for about 10 minutes in a 300°F oven before serving.

By Elijah Hughes

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