Big Bubble No-Knead Focaccia Recipe (2024)

About my Big Bubble Focaccia

This focaccia recipe is a no-knead recipe, so it’s super easy to make and delivers next-level results. It requires no special equipment such as a stand mixer.

I know many of you like big bubbles in bread as much as I do. So, I wanted to give you a fool-proof, no-knead method for making focaccia with my signature big airy bubbles, a super soft inside texture, and a delicious crispy crust. This makes for an incredibly versatile bread.

In this recipe, I’m using simple toppings—olives, fresh rosemary and salt. You can use whatever toppings you like, though, e.g., tomatoes, garlic, onions, or cheese. You’ll find all these toppings and more used on the many different styles of focaccia found throughout Italy.

This particular focaccia makes an amazing sandwich bread. Simply split it open horizontally, optionally remove some of the insides of the bread, and add the fillings of your choice. I like to keep it simple with prosciutto di Parma and fresh buffalo mozzarella torn into pieces. That’s my perfect focaccia sandwich, but please feel free to use whatever fillings you like!

What kind of olive oil should I use for this focaccia?

Like many kinds of focaccia, this version contains a lot of olive oil. The flavor of the olive oil you use will end up as an important flavor component in the finished bread. My personal recommendation would be to use a good Ligurian extra virgin olive oil made with Taggiasca olives. However, any extra virgin olive oil that you like the taste of will work perfectly.

What kind of flour should I use for this focaccia?

For this recipe I used an Italian 00 flour with 12% protein, designed for pizza and bread making. This flour is made with an Italian soft wheat. The 00 designation means the flour has a low ash content, and the starch granules will mostly be left intact in the milling process. Please be careful not to mistakenly use a low protein 00 flour designed for pasta or cake making.

You don’t have to use this kind of Italian flour. You can use a bread flour and get spectacular results. A typical US bread flour will be made with a hard US wheat. Both the nature of the protein and the amount will be different to the Italian 00 flour, though; and the ash content may be higher. Also, importantly, when hard wheats are milled, many of the starch granules will be damaged.

Why does this matter to you? Well, all these factors will affect the amount of water you’ll need to use in the recipe. Specifically, if you use a bread flour, especially one with higher protein content (say 13% or 14%), you may need to add more water to get the right “wet consistency” of dough.

Why does the type of flour affect how much water the dough needs?

How does the type of flour affect how “thirsty” a flour is for water? The key properties of a flour that affect water absorption are:

  • Protein content. The higher the protein content of flour, the more water it will absorb

  • Protein quality. Protein from hard wheat varieties tends to absorb more water than protein from soft wheat varieties

  • Starch. The more “damaged” the starch, the more water the flour will absorb. Flour made from hard wheat tends to have many more damaged starch granules than flour made from soft wheat.

  • Moisture content. If your flour has already absorbed water from the atmosphere, it will take less water when you’re making dough

  • Additives. Some flours contain additives called pentosans. The higher the amount of pentosans, the more water the flour will absorb.

So, often, a “high protein content US bread flour” will absorb more water than a ”high protein content Italian 00 flour”. Ultimately, that’s because US bread flour is made from hard wheat and Italian 00 flour is made from soft wheat.

Regional focaccia variations in Italy

There are literally thousands upon thousands of different focaccias made across Italy. On the Internet, in cookbooks, and on TV shows, you will often find people saying that a particular region of Italy produces a particular style of focaccia.

However, in my opinion, it’s far too simplistic to say a particular region makes a single style. Even within a single region of Italy, you can find hundreds of variations.

What kind of variations? Well… a fine crumb or an open bubbly crumb; higher hydration or lower hydration; tall with crunchy edges or flat with soft edges; more salt, no salt; the dimples doused with salt water or not, baked with olive oil or baked with lard; or even baked without any oil at all; with toppings or without toppings; made using what kind of flour (or mixtures of flours); the inclusion of other starches such as potato.

I hope you can now see why there are so many variations of this bread! Unsurprisingly, all this variety can be incredibly confusing. Some people will tell you they’ve had only thin focaccia from a particular region, while someone else might tell you they’ve had only 2 inch thick focaccia from the same region! Both can be correct!

Where is this style of focaccia from?

You may be asking yourself—what particular kind of focaccia is this recipe? This focaccia is my own recipe, based closely on one of my mom’s, but using a different kind of flour.

If you wanted to analyse the etymology of it, you could say it’s a cross between some versions of focaccia found in Liguria and some versions of a bread called schiacciata (a close relative of focaccia) found in Tuscany.

I designed this particlar focaccia to be exceptionally versatile because I like to use it for all sorts of things, including making sandwiches… and also because I love big bubbles in bread! In fact, when the dough for this particular focaccia is fermenting, I’m often to be heard exclaiming in excitement, “She’s a bubbler!”

What is focaccia—and why is everyone obsessed with it?

Focaccia is an Italian leavened flatbread. It is popular throughout Italy and comes in many different forms, with different toppings. It has become exceptionally popular outside Italy for one good reason—it’s utterly delicious. It’s great as an appetiser, perhaps be dipped in oil and/or balsamic vinegar. It’s great as an accompaniment to main dishes. The version in this recipe also makes an amazing sandwich bread.

How is focaccia different from regular bread?

The main differences between focaccia and most other types of bread are that focaccia is made with a lot of olive oil, and it has a variety of delicious toppings e.g., garlic, olives, fresh rosemary, cherry tomatoes, cheese, onion etc.

Is a focaccia healthy?

It depends what you mean by healthy! You won’t lose weight by eating a lot of focaccia! But, if you make it yourself, like you’re doing with this recipe, it’s made with great ingredients. So it’s very healthy when eaten in moderation.

What does focaccia mean in English?

In English, focaccia refers to type of Italian flatbread usually made with olive oil, with a variety of different toppings. The origin of the name goes back to Ancient Rome, where the name refers to the fact that, before modern ovens, focaccia-style breads were made on stone over an open fire.

Is ciabatta the same as focaccia?

No, ciabatta and focaccia are completely different, although both are Italian breads. Focaccia is kind of flat bread, made with lots of olive oil and toppings embedded in dimples on the top surface of the bread. Whereas, ciabatta is a taller loaf of bread with a crispy crust. It contains little or no oil, and has no dimples in the top, and no toppings.

Watch the video for more tips on the technique for making this focaccia

Big Bubble No-Knead Focaccia Recipe (2024)


How do you get more air bubbles in focaccia? ›

Stretching and folding the dough

Take one side of the dough, stretch and fold bringing the dough to the opposite side of the bowl. Rotate the bowl one quarter and repeat another 3 times. (See video for details of the stretch and fold technique.)

How do you make big bubbles in bread? ›

This involves gently stretching the dough to elongate the emerging air bubbles, then neatly folding the dough upon itself to keep the dough shape compact. Between stretches and folds you probably need to leave the dough a minimum of an hour, to allow time for the bubbles to grow bigger and new ones to emerge.

Why didn t my focaccia bubble? ›

Yeast: For a very bubbly focaccia, increase yeast amount by 50%. Extra-virgin olive oil: A super premium olive oil isn't necessary for the dough itself. For dimpling and drizzling, feel free to use a nicer bottle.

Why isn t my focaccia airy? ›

Why is my focaccia not fluffy or chewy? It could be the type of flour you used. The best flour to use to make focaccia bread is bread flour which gives you fluffy baked bread. Or, it could also be because you did not knead the dough enough for the gluten to form a structure which can result in flat or dense bread.

What happens if you don't dimple focaccia? ›

Not just for aesthetic flair, dimpling the dough is a vital step because it expels air from the dough, preventing it from rising too fast, giving it that perfect crumb. That, combined with the weight of the oil, will prevent a puffed-up poolish that more closely resembles a loaf than a tasty crust.

How does the bread dough get the tiny air bubbles? ›

The big thing to know here is that in a dough, there are two pathways for bubbles to form: Larger ones of atmospheric air (mostly nitrogen and oxygen) that are incorporated mechanically when the dough is mixed and kneaded, and miniscule ones of CO2 that are forming at nucleation sites throughout the dough.

What is the best hydration for focaccia? ›

Made with a high-hydration (80% in this case) dough, it comes together quickly in a bowl and doesn't need to be kneaded.

What are the air bubbles in bread called? ›

Alveoli. This is the name for the holes in the crumb. These are really air pockets that are formed during mixing and they expand during fermentation and baking.

What makes the bread puff? ›

What's going on that causes the bread dough to puff up and rise? The answers to these questions all revolve around one key ingredient: yeast. You've probably heard of yeast, but you might not know exactly what yeast is.

Can you over knead focaccia? ›

Tips for the perfect homemade Focaccia.

Don't over-knead your dough– In the first step, make sure the dough has come together enough that it's sticky but not smooth, this will help to make the much desired air bubbles.

Can focaccia be overproofed? ›

You can definitely overproof focaccia, but it is difficult. There is so much oil in the dough, and very little sugar, so the yeast is "sleepy" or slow due to both of those elements and less likely to overproof.

Which flour is best for focaccia? ›

Flour - I used a mixture of bread flour and All-purpose flour (high grade or strong and plain if you're not in the US). Bread flour is slightly higher in protein than All-purpose, so gives the focaccia just a little more chew. I love the mix of both, but just AP flour works just fine too!

Should you stretch and fold focaccia? ›

Focaccia, an Italian baked flatbread, is a yeast-leavened bread that is soft on the inside and crispy, crusty on the outside. This focaccia is a snap to make. In this version, the gluten in the bread is developed by stretching and folding several times throughout the proofing time.

How do you fix Overproofed focaccia? ›

Dump your overproofed dough into a well oiled 9x13 pan. Drizzle with olive oil and press your fingers into the dough leaving dimples all over. Top with seasonings, flaky salt and parmesan cheese. Bake at 425F for 25-30 minutes.

How wet should focaccia dough be? ›

Trust me. This dough will be very, very wet – almost like cake mix. If you can, wet your hands (to stop them sticking) and fold the dough over a little, just to see what a dough of this wetness (or 'hydration') feels like.

How do you add air to dough? ›

We can add air to a dough by using a leavening agent, specifically baking soda or baking powder. The baking soda releases carbon dioxide when it comes in contact with water and acid, foams up and expands inside our dough. You might not think dough is acidic, and you're not mistaken.

Which gas produces most of the bubbles in bread dough? ›

Once reactivated, yeast begins feeding on the sugars in flour, and releases the carbon dioxide that makes bread rise (although at a much slower rate than baking powder or soda).

How do you get air in dough? ›

There are a couple of things you can try to encourage large irregular bubbles.
  1. Let your dough rise longer. A longer proofing period will yield larger bubbles. ...
  2. Handle the dough gently. ...
  3. Develop a better gluten structure. ...
  4. Use the stretch and fold method.
Feb 27, 2015


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