no fuss focaccia

We've been to the King Arthur store in Norwich VT a few times, filled with kitchen, cooking and baking stuff. dr bob's little brother lives there with his family, now almost at the empty nester stage. So not only do we have a natural affinity for its wholesome products, we feel a bit of a connection to the company from our too infrequent visits. And we've had the focaccia bug since our visit to Genoa and Cinque Terre in 2005, so it was natural to turn to the expert bakers at King Arthur for their advice on finally taking on this flat bread challenge. Natural for ani who quickly discovered this no fuss recipe on-line, the no fuss part being the key word that grabbed her attention.

For some reason we thought this focaccia thing was a challenge, but really, this is so easy. And so good. Especially the smell of fresh bread in the kitchen, warm to the touch when you finally get to chow down some. This is a two part recipe. You start with a few minutes stage of throwing in the ingredients and turning on the machine. Then you stretch it out into the pan and let sit an hour.  You finish by popping it into the preheated oven for 40 minutes and then pull it out onto a rack to begin cooling. And if you upgrade the white flour to a whole wheat mix, you can eat it with a clear conscience.

Focaccia is a "flat" Italian bread sort of like puffed up soft white pizza. Not as flat as Middle Eastern breads like pita or lavash that we are used to eating, but flat compared to traditional Italian breads. Alhough you can find focaccia in various regions of Italy, its true home is Liguria, a province along the northwest coast containing Genoa and Cinque Terre, an area we were lucky to visit a few years ago. No need to visit the place to have the focaccia seed planted in your imagination. Just go ahead and do it! You won't regret it.


1 1/2 c warm water
3 T olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
1 1/4 t salt
3 1/2 c King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
         [we substituted 2 c whole wheat flour
          plus 1 T wheat gluten plus 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
          or 2 c white whole wheat flour plus 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour]
1 T instant yeast
optional seasoning topping (e.g., garlic parmesan bread dipping seasoning, etc)


  1. Drizzle a 9"x13" pan with some olive oil and brush it around evenly to coat the bottom with a paper towel or brush.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the topping in an electric mixer and beat at high speed for 60 seconds.
  3. Here you can optionally mix in some cheese, see notes.
  4. Put some olive oil on your hands and use them to convince the perhaps sticky dough into the pan and pull it out and stretch evenly to the corners. If you are not a hands on person, use kitchen implements to force the dough out.
  5.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit one hour at room temperature.
  6. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375� as long ahead as your oven needs to be ready.
  7. After the hour is up, unwrap the dough and gently poke the dough all over with your index finger or multiple fingers if you so desire.
  8. Drizzle lightly or brush with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and apply optional topping.
  9.  Bake about 35 to 40 minutes until it is golden brown (check as the time expires).
  10. Remove from the oven to a rack still in the pan for cooling 5 minutes. Then remove from the pan onto the rack to continue cooling. But don't wait till it's too cool to sample! It is best eaten warm.


  1. Wikipedia: focaccia.
  2. King Arthur Flour, Norwich VT.
  3. King Arthur recipe: blitz bread: no fuss focaccia. The original recipe lists 2 optional but uncommon mix-ins so we went the back to basics route instead. A suggested variation is to mix in a cup of grated, crumbled or shredded cheese after 60 seconds of the dough kneeding. Maybe we'll try this next.
  4. Bread dipping seasonings: Parmesan Blend roasted garlic and cheese, left as a gift by our favorite Norwich family passing through on a college fishing expedition, a four separate blend bottle. You mix about a teaspoon of seasoning with about 2 T of extra virgin olive oil and let sit a bit before using as a bread dipping sauce like in the restaurants. So far it has only seen the repeated focaccia application.
  5. 2016 update. The NYTimes has a very similar recipe (2 t yeast, 1 t sugar, 2T EVOO plus 1-2 drizzle, 2 c ww flour, 1 2/3- 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour, 1 3/4 t salt) and Anne Burrell suggests lots of olive oil in the pan, and flipping the dough to coat both sides generously with it when stretching out in the pan, and poking the fingers through to rough up the surface.
  6. Illustrations available.
focaccia.htm: 24-jan-2016 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]