No Need to Knead
I bought this cookbook hoping to find simple no-knead bread recipes. However, the author’s method of “stirring” the dough with a wooden spoon is much harder than throwing it in my Kitchenaid stand mixer with the dough hook for a while. Plus, the latter method creates a superior dough. This is my adaptation.
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups lukewarm water (85 to 95°F)
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 cups unbleached bread flour (all-purpose works fine too)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 to 3 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 – 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Measure 1 1/2 cups water into the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Sprinkle yeast into the water and stir until dissolved. Wait a few minutes for the yeast to proof. Add the flour, salt, olive oil and rosemary, if using, to the bowl. Knead with the mixer on low for 10 minutes or so. If the dough is too dry, add more warm water. Here in Hawaii I only need about 1 1/2 cups because of the humidity. The dough should be a little sticky, but not wet. That said, this dough is very forgiving.
Put the dough in a oiled bowl, turn once, cover and let rise until doubled in volume, 30 – 60 minutes.
Alternative quick method: skip the step above and go right on to:
Preheat the oven to 500°F.
Punch the dough down, divide into two pieces and press each into a 8 or 9 inch round cake pan that has been sprayed with olive oil or other cooking spray. Let rise again for another 30 minutes to 1 hour. Longer yields a lighter dough. If you’re really in a hurry you can bake it almost immediately.
Dip your fingers in water and dimple the tops of the loaves. Spray or drizzle olive oil on the tops of the loaves. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Place the pans in the oven and reduce the heat to 450°F. Bake 15-20 minutes, until the focaccia has a nice golden brown color.
if you want “mile high” focaccia, put the whole recipe into a single cake pan and let rise. Any flavorings you want can be added to the dough: olives, sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, seeds, etc. You can also caramelize onions and put them on top.