no-knead tomato basil focaccia bread

no-knead tomato basil focaccia bread |

Are you one of those people who will bookmark a recipe, but never make it?

I have an entire 3 ring binder dedicated to this unfulfilled habit. It dates back 10 years, categorized with colorful tabs and laminated pages. Yes, laminated pages. Plenty of thought and effort went into this creation and I barely even use the darn thing (hi, my name is Emilie and I’m a recipe hoarder). It’s like a show piece.

Anyway, focaccia has been on my to-do list for a while now. After spying some focaccia recipes online and leafing though my stash of crinkly magazine cut-outs, I was summoned.

Time to make focaccia.

no-knead tomato basil focaccia bread |

If you’re new to bread baking, focaccia is an excellent place to start.

You don’t need a bread machine or sourdough starter. My focaccia requires two hands and fast-rising yeast. As much as I enjoy using sourdough in my baking adventures, there is a time and place for certain rising methods and here, commercial yeast suits me just fine. Not to mention, I have yet to dabble in sourdough focaccia so if you have any useful tips/pointers/comments drop me a line below.

To begin, mix all of your ingredients together in a large bowl- I squish everything by hand.

(Alternatively, mix the dough using an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Run the machine for 8-10 minutes on low speed).

no-knead tomato basil focaccia bread |

Cover the dough with a damp kitchen cloth and leave to rise on your cluttered kitchen table.

Quick Tip: if you have to run out or can’t bake for whatever reason, stop here. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The dough will rise in the fridge (yes, even if it’s cold- just at a slower rate). When you’re ready, bake the following day in the morning. Bread baking can be adapted to suit your schedule- take advantage of this tip.

Okay, so moving on…

How long will the dough take to rise?

Rising time will vary. 

If left out at room temperature, expect to wait anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen. The warmer it is, the faster it will rise. If you’ve chosen the overnight fridge rise 8-12+ hours is sufficient. For example: I made my dough at exactly 8 AM, took the kids to school, went grocery shopping, mailed something, and by 11 AM it was ready. Your dough should be 1 1/2- 2x it’s original size. Take a picture with your phone for a ‘before and after’ shot.

Quick Tip: poke a hole (gently) into the dough. If your finger mark stays indented, the dough is ready.

no-knead tomato basil focaccia bread |

Place the dough into an oiled 9×13-inch baking dish. Gently stretch the dough extending all the way to the corners and sides. If there’s any resistance, the gluten is not relaxed; let it rest for about 10-15 minutes and try again. Then, poke holes into the dough and fill each one with a juicy cherry tomato. Really get in there and press it down so the tomatoes don’t pop off when baked.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil…

no-knead tomato basil focaccia bread | theclevercarrot.comno-knead tomato basil focaccia bread | theclevercarrot.comno-knead tomato basil focaccia bread |

Let it rise again (the nerve!).

But only for about 30 minutes or so, this time. The dough should look slightly puffed and less dense before it goes into the oven.

Bake @ 400 F for about 35-45 minutes.

At the halfway mark, add some fresh mozzarella for a cheesy, melty crust.

Your focaccia is ready when beautifully puffed and golden, with blistered tomatoes…

no-knead tomato basil focaccia bread | theclevercarrot.comno-knead tomato basil focaccia bread | theclevercarrot.comno-knead tomato basil focaccia bread |

Allow the focaccia to cool for at least 30 minutes before diving in. If you slice it too soon, the texture will not be light and fluffy (trust me). Right before serving, sprinkle with fresh basil and cut into squares. Take one bite and you’ll be transported to bread bliss… a heavenly pillowy inside with a crispy bottom crust. Enjoy!

What have you been making lately? Any recipe hoarders like me?

Kitchen Notes:

  • The recipe below is (mostly) in grams. I find using grams is more accurate in bread baking. Also for accuracy, my ingredients are weighed using a digital kitchen scale.
  • If using a glass pyrex baking dish decrease the oven temperature to 3375 F to avoid over browning.
  • Recipe adapted from Jamie

no-knead tomato basil focaccia
  • 500 g bread flour (not all-purpose flour)
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
  • 300 ml water
  • 2¼ tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz tub of baby fresh mozzarella, drained and pat dry to remove excess moisture
  • large handful of fresh basil leaves
  1. Lightly oil a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, salt and mix well to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl or glass measuring jug, add the water, yeast and olive oil. Mix with a fork to incorporate.
  4. Add the water mixture to the flour bowl. Get in there with your hands and squish everything together. The dough should come together in rough ball with little to no flour visible. You can't mess this up- just keep going until you've got a good mix. (Alternatively, mix the dough using an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Run the machine for 8-10 minutes on low speed).
  5. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen cloth and leave out at room temperature to rise. Your specific rise time will vary depending on how warm your surrounding temperature is. Expect to wait anywhere between 1-3 hours. Your dough is ready when it looks 1½- 2x it's original size. Take a picture with your phone to compare. (Alternatively, if you have to run out or can't bake for whatever reason, stop here. Cover the bowl of dough with plastic wrap and place into the fridge to rise overnight 8-12+ hours. Bake in the morning).
  6. When your dough has risen sufficiently and you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400 F (if using a glass baking dish, preheat to 375 F).
  7. Place the dough into your oiled baking dish. Gently stretch the dough, extending to fit the corners and sides. If there is resistance or your dough shrinks back when stretched, the gluten is not relaxed; let it rest for 10-15 minutes and try again.
  8. Poke several holes into the dough. Place a cherry tomato into each hole (approximately) pressing down as you go. If the tomatoes fit snuggly they won't pop out when baked. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and drizzle the top with olive oil for a nice, golden crust. Let the dough rise again but only for about 30 minutes or so, this time. It should look slightly puffed and less dense before it goes into the oven.
  9. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes. At the halfway mark, add the fresh mozzarella.
  10. Your focaccia is ready when beautifully puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool for at least 30 minutes- 1 hour for best texture. Don't rush this step- you want the inside to remain light and fluffy.
  11. When ready to serve, tear some fresh basil leaves over the top, cut into squares and enjoy!



  1. Patti says

    Can you start posting at night? Every morning that I read your recipe, I stop everything. I change my dinner plan and include your newest creation. You’re killing me!!!! Everything you post pulls me in! cannot wait to make this focaccia. Xoxo

    • Emilie says

      You are too funny. I can definitely post at night, but not sure if anyone will actually read it (except you… haha). Perhaps I should take a poll?

      If you end up making this focaccia, please let me know how it comes out! I hope you enjoy! xoxo

    • Emilie says

      Great minds ;) Wish I could rip off a chunk and send it on over to you… better yet, wish I was there so that I could dunk this focaccia right into your tomato basil soup! That sounds more like it. xo

  2. says

    I am the same way about recipe hoarding haha!! I have a few 3-ring binders just full of recipes that I’ve never made. But it’s so fun to find a great recipe online and then stockpile it for later!! ;)

    • Emilie says

      The more the merrier? I think the act of stockpiling might be more fun then making the actual recipes… almost ;)

    • Emilie says

      Yes! And it’s not difficult to make either, Linda. You can even switch up the toppings as the wonderful summer produce rolls in- sautéed fennel, caramelized onions, herbs- you name it. Thank you for pinning and have fun with the recipe :)

  3. says

    Absolutely beautiful recipe and photos…as usual Emilie! Recipe hoarders unite! My old 3 ring binder is falling apart and every so often I go through it. I have a conversation with myself and anyone within listening distance as to will I actually ever make said recipe and will they eat it. I recycle a lot of paper:)

    • Emilie says

      Haha… absolutely. i think the act of hoarding is more fun than actually making the recipe (maybe). This is what happens when you love food ;)

  4. Ruby88 says

    You’re so right. Who doesn’t have a folder or binder full of recipes!? And so many forgotten! One of these days I’ll get to some of those gems. This no knead looks simply delicious. Can’t wait to try.

    • Emilie says

      Hello Kalee! Thank you! If you end up making the recipe, do let me know how it comes out. Hope you like it & happy baking :)

    • Emilie says

      Hi Katrina, I barely knead my bread dough anymore… there really is no need to knead (lol). As long as there is enough water in the recipe and the initial rise time is sufficient you are good to go- you’ll get light and fluffy bread every time :)

  5. says

    Yes! I have a three ring binder filled with printed out, hole punched recipes I collected in high school still in the bottom cupboard of my parent’s kitchen. Haha! Glad to know someone else partook in this recipe hoarding activity as well. And this focaccia! Oh my goodness, lady, I’m drooling and craving this so bad right now. I’ll be the first to hop on the sourdough focaccia train too when that happens ;)

    • Emilie says

      Oh yes! I’m right there with you! My binder is busting at the seams ;) I’m definitely gong to try the sourdough version of focaccia, I’m always up for a good baking challenge… maybe with some whole grains? I’ll keep you posted ;) xoxo

  6. says

    You always inspire me, Emilie! It’s been too long since I made focaccia, at least a year and I’ve not made it with tomatoes. This needs to change. One of the best sandwiches of my life was on focaccia. Love how bread works on your time… my problem is I can’t seem to leave it alone while it’s rising; I love watching it, all those air bubbles on the surface, slowing making the bread so tasty. I gotta move on because I get very little done on bread day! Thank you for this, Emilie.

    • Emilie says

      That is so sweet, Traci! Glad to hear that ;)

      Funny how it’s nearly impossible for us to forget an amazing meal, right? I think I can remember every meal I’ve ever had at a good restaurant, feast, or gathering and if we dined together, I’d remember what you ate too. It’s like a curse. I bet that focaccia sandwich of yours was killer.

      Oh, and I’m a dough stalker too, absolutely. That’s why I do the long overnight rises in the fridge; all the work is done while you’re asleep!

  7. says

    yeah, I sometimes feel like the better part of my life ambition is in a dedicated binder ;-) get to it someday…ah, soon enough my boys will be on their way; until then I’m soakin’ it up. For a non-bread maker, you may be surprised (or not) to know that I’ve been making focaccia for some time now… love that no-knead aspect and the versatility… so many options from the same base recipe. Love the beautiful rise you got on your delightful caprese version and I can taste the goodness from your lush photos!

    • Emilie says

      Yeah, and then Pinterest came along… We’ve got binders and pin boards! So little time, so little time…

      One day you shall reveal your pie making and focaccia skills to us all, yes? xoxo

  8. Celia says

    I adore you, you know that right? Even I don’t laminate recipes, you crack me up!! See how much time we had *before* children? ;-) your focaccia looks amazing! I make a hybrid sd/yeast foc, I’ll send you the recipe. xxx

    • Emilie says

      Ha, yes! Life before children… I barely even remember it! Thank you dear friend. Hope you are doing well xoxo

  9. says

    I have a huge leather binder from Williams Sonoma that my husband bought me about 8 years ago, specifically so I would organize all my recipes. It’s even monogramed for goodness sake! I’ve organized about 30% of my recipes and the rest continue to fall out each and every time I reach for the binder!! Grrr!!! I’ve always wanted to make focaccia and never knew how! I may just give this a try! Thanks!

  10. Jocelyn says

    I have made a focaccia several times. It is always amazingly delicious, but it rises while cooking, so it is not as flat as it should be. It comes about triple in height. I can’t figure out why that happens. I can’t wait to try this no-knead version with tomatoes. Thanks Emilie!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Jocelyn,

      There are a couple of things you can do-

      1.) If you are comfortable with this, try adding additional water to the dough. It will spread more as it rises due to the higher water content. You’ll have to experiment with the exact amount of water needed- not too much though.
      2.) Bake at a lower oven temperature. This will decrease its initial ‘spring’ once it goes into the oven.
      3.) Bake your focaccia on a wider, rimmed sheet pan. This recipe uses a shallow pan- however the extra surface area on a sheet pan (cookie sheet) might help as well.

      Good luck and happy baking!

  11. Emma says

    I just wanted to let you know that I made this bread and my boyfriend loved it, and another is in the oven as I type. However, I have been following the saved recipe and just revisited this post to see that there is meant to be a second rising time I have missed both times as it isn’t in the recipe below. It still tasted great, but I wonder what the difference would have been!

    • Emilie says

      Hello Emma!

      Yes, you are correct. I updated the recipe below, thank you for bringing it to my attention! The second rise time helps to lighten the dough, making it less dense when baked (as opposed to skipping this step). It also allows for the gluten to re-build its strength. In comparison to the initial rise, the 2 rise whether in this recipe or other recipes, will always be shorter- roughly 30 minutes or so. The dough should look slightly puffed before baking.

      Hope this helps! x

  12. Swarna says

    Hi Emilie,

    Looks great and mouth watering…:) I am first time bread baker and I want to give this a shot since you said its an easy recipe. I have a quick question…should the water be warm to mix the yeast?

    Please clarify.


    • Emilie says

      Hi there Swarna!

      Thank you for your patience. No, the water doesn’t have to be warm to mix the yeast. It will help speed things up in terms of rising, but is not necessary to make the recipe. The choice is up to you!

  13. Phillip says

    Can I use whole wheat flour in place of the white flour? I realize it might be a bit more dense and require more water….

    • Emilie says

      Hi there! I’m sure you could but I haven’t tested this myself. You will definitely need to increase the water, especially since this is a no knead recipe. No knead recipes require proper hydration or else they won’t work. I would google around for a proper whole wheat focaccia recipe and then follow my instructions for adding the tomato & basil.

  14. G says

    I just came across your blog and love it. I would like to make this focaccia – do you think I could assemble two days before and bake the morning of? Or, if I bake ahead of time, would it last for two days before eating? Should I store it outside or in the fridge? I’d like to take it for a picnic. Thank you!

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