Sharing my go to recipe for no-knead focaccia dough. Yes, it's no-knead. I've not had much success with actually kneading a dough. So trust me, if my clumsy hands can make this, anyone can. Once you've got the super simple master dough mastered, you can basically dress it up in any number of ways. Think of it like a staple in your capsule wardrobe, something you can accessorize differently and you'll have created a refreshing new look, just in time for the Holidays, which is when I'm hoping this goes out by! Hopefully, you'll have enough time to plan and test before your parties.
The hardest part of this dough is having to wait overnight - you've got to plan to make this at least one day ahead, as the slow, overnight rise inside your fridge is what contributes to its flavour. Small sacrifice for big flavour, seeing as how we're not baby-ing a starter or making any pre-ferments to add into this. Hell, we're not even kneading it. Told ya, it's that simple!
Oh yes, we're not going for a thin-crust or Neapolitan-style pizza here. This dough makes great sheet pan pizza or as they call it in some parts, Grandma Pie, or it'll also work great for a detroit-style slice too.
Let me guide you through the dough recipe, before giving pointers to make this as a pan pizza. The recipe below is adapted from Peter Reinhart's eponymous bread book, "Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day".
Notes* (Before we begin...)
Even with a baking stone or steel, you're probably not going to get a crispy base in a home oven. The bottom can get golden, but it won't be a crisp enough texture because we're piling on a ton of high-moisture ingredients on top of the dough, which seeps into and makes its bottom soggy! It's a delicate balance between getting everything crisp, but not getting the tops too burnt. And I've found the easiest solution is to.. Twice Bake it! Once your pizza is out of the oven, let it cool. Before eating, just toast the slices again and your base will be crusty and crisp. Good as new but with even better texture.
If you're going to be making focaccia with it, you won't have to worry about the soggy base. Without the sauce and toppings, I managed to get my bread really crispy on the bottom without having to twice-bake it.
If you're making focaccia, at Step 3 under "Baking Day", you just wanna drizzle some Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top, dot it around with your fingertips, and flavour it as you wish. Go traditional with herbs and sea salt, or add some fruits and cheeses. Your capsule wardrobe, your choice.
You want to oil your pan generously. The hallmark of this is that the dough basically sizzles and fries up in the oil when it's inside the blasting hot oven. This is why it's delicious.
This is a really high-hydration dough, which makes it difficult to knead (hence, we're not trying). Always use wet hands to handle the dough. It's also why we use the stretch and fold method to develop gluten, as it's a much easier way of dealing with high-hydration doughs.
In place of starters or pre-ferments, this dough employs a cold fermentation method in the fridge, which delays the activation of the yeast, allowing more sugars for it to feed on when it finally wakes up. I quote Peter Reinhart, "... (this method)... evokes the fullness of flavor from the wheat beyond any other fermentation method I've encountered." Flavour aside, it's also super easy and convenient to make. Have I mentioned... no knead?
300g all-purpose or bread flour
220g cold water
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
First, mix your flour, water, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. It'll form a shaggy mess, it's fine. Let it sit for 5 minutes to fully hydrate. After which, drizzle in your oil and mix.
We're gonna do a series of simple stretch and folds to develop some gluten. All you need to do is imagine your mass of dough with its 4 corners. North, South, East, West. With wet hands, stretch the dough and pull it over itself from each corner. E.g. pulling from the right side over to the centre, left to the centre, top to the centre, bottom to the centre. You're basically folding the dough over itself. Once you've done that, let it rest for 10 minutes.
You wanna do another fold like the above, and let it rest for another 10 minutes. In total, do the folds 4 times, resting 10 minutes between each fold. Okay, now the dough is made. Cling wrap it and leave it in the fridge overnight or up 48 hours.
On baking day, take your dough out of the oven a couple hours before you plan to bake it. Take your pan, oil it generously, then plop your dough on top.
Before you try to fill out your dough, let it rest and relax for about 20 minutes. This will make it easier to press your dough to the edges of the pan.
Once your dough has filled up your pan (or pans), let it rise, covered, until it doubles in volume! This will take awhile, cause remember, the dough is fridge cold. But the plus point is, you're free to do anything you wish while the dough is rising!
While it's rising, pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius for at least 40 minutes. If you have a pizza stone or steel, feel free to use it here. (But please see notes* regarding this)
Slather your pizza sauce gently on the dough, being careful not to deflate the dough. I usually use store bought pizza sauce.
Pile on your toppings - cheese, salami, ham, mushrooms, pineapples (if you wish, but I just do not think it belongs on a pizza. at all.), veggies..
Bake in your pre-heated oven until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. The top should be spotty, the edges caramelized, the cheese bubbly, and you'll smell toasty notes wafting out.
Let it cool. If you're not fussed, you can have it like that. I mean, even cold pizza is good. If you want the entire thing to be crisped up, slice and toast again. Twice-baking it will ensure a crispy bottom. (Refer to Notes* on this!)
If you wish to see a more visual version of this recipe, check out my instagram reels or Tiktok.