Recipe Review

This Impossibly Easy No-Knead Focaccia Recipe Practically Makes Itself

published May 18, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Whenever I make my list of recipe showdown contenders, I always consider the recipe’s popularity and ratings, and read through all the comments. But in the case of our focaccia showdown, I also wanted to find someone who was a bread person through and through. This is where Alexandra from Alexandra’s Kitchen comes in.

While Alexandra is talented in many areas of the kitchen, she really knows bread. Her 2017 cookbook Bread Toast Crumbs is a masterful guide to bread baking for bakers of all levels, and, unsurprisingly, her zucchini bread was the winner our zucchini bread showdown. “It wasn’t trying to be anything new or unexpected — it was simply perfect,” my colleague Jesse said of the winning recipe.

I’m all about no-frills recipes that focus on making the best version possible of a classic, which is exactly what I was hoping her popular focaccia recipe would do.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Brett Regot

How to Make Alexandra’s Overnight Refrigerator Focaccia

Whisk together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a large bowl. Add the water and use a rubber spatula to mix it in until it’s fully absorbed and the dough has formed a sticky ball. Lightly rub the dough with olive oil and cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Immediately refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Select either two 8- or 9-inch pie plates or a single 9×13-inch pan and line them with parchment paper or grease with butter or nonstick cooking spray. If using a pie plate, pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the center of the pan. If using a 9×13-inch pan, pour in 2 tablespoons.

Remove the dough from the fridge, and, using two forks, deflate the dough by pulling it away from the sides of the bowl and towards the center. As you’re deflating the dough, rotate the bowl in quarter turns so it forms a roughly shaped ball. If you’re using pie pans, split the dough down the middle and place the balls into the pans, rolling them to fully coat them in oil. Allow the dough to rest for 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat your oven to 425°F, then pour another tablespoon of olive oil over each round of dough after they’ve risen. Lightly coat your hands in the oil and use all of your fingers to press straight down, creating dimples. Transfer to the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Brett Regot

My Honest Review of Alexandra’s Overnight Refrigerator Focaccia

This focaccia was everything I had hoped it would be, and it didn’t even require any kneading! Alexandra’s recipe was so easy and thoroughly explained that anyone — regardless of skill level — could follow it. It took 10 minutes of hands-on time, max.

I baked mine in two pie pans and they both came out beautifully. One of my favorite moments in the kitchen is tasting something you’ve just made and being shocked that your own two hands could produce something so delicious. Alexandra’s focaccia recipe gave me that feeling. The exterior was beautifully golden-brown and perfectly crispy, while the inside was light and airy. Just like her zucchini bread, this focaccia wasn’t trying to be anything other than a delicious version of a much-loved classic.

I will warn you, however, that this recipe require a fair amount of patience. While the instructions say you can take the dough out of the fridge after 12 hours, Alexandra recommends letting it rest in the refrigerator for 18 to 24 hours. Then, once it’s out of the fridge, it rises a second time for 3 to 4 hours. But trust me when I say the resulting focaccia is well worth it.

Credit: Nicole Rufus

My #1 Tip for Alexandra’s Focaccia

Honestly, I can’t think of anything I would change about this recipe! The only reason it didn’t receive a perfect score is because of a brilliant tip that made the winning focaccia recipe truly exceptional. That, and I wish this recipe came together just a little bit more quickly.

If you plan to make Alexandra’s focaccia, be sure to leave yourself enough time. I recommend thinking about when you want to serve it and working backwards from there.

Rating: 9.5/10

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Have you ever made Alexandra’s Kitchen’s Focaccia? Let us know in the comments!