8 to 10servings
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...)
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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