No-Knead Slow-Rise Parsley-Patterned Focaccia

This is the focaccia of all focaccias, people. It’s chewy, fluffy, salty, and crunchy, and a little bit of a showstopper, too. What defines it is not only its high hydration, but also its very leisurely rise in the fridge overnight. However, it’s the deliciously oily crunchy crust it gets as it sits in a cozy puddle of olive oil in a very hot oven that is possibly the best part. The parsley is merely there for decoration, so by all means, leave it out or replace it with other herbs or thinly sliced vegetables of your choosing (search for “garden focaccia” for a bit of inspo – although you’ll have to take care not to overbrown the crust and veggies to keep the colours popping).

No-Stir Slow-Rise Parsley-Patterned Focaccia

Adapted from the Wednesday Chef.

Makes about one 35x40cm sized focaccia

If you’re feeling like focaccia but aren’t planning a larger gathering, this recipe halves very nicely, too.

750g flour

1 Tablespoon (17g) salt

1 teaspoon (3g) dry yeast

900ml warm water

4 Tablespoons olive oil, plus extra

one big bunch of flat-leafed parsley, leaves picked

flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Pour in the warm water and gently mix with a spoon until the flour is incorporated and you’re left with a wobbly and sticky dough that resembles something like a cross between pudding and porridge in texture. in That’s your first step done, and you didn’t even have to roll up your sleeves! Drizzle the olive oil into another large bowl and give it a good swirl around the sides – this will help it slide out easily later. Plop the dough into that container and scoop a little of the oil over the top of it. Cover it well with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge, where you should let it rise for at least 8 hours, overnight, or up to 2 days.

Once you’re nearly ready to bake, line a high-sided baking tray (approximately 35×40 cm in size – you’ve got a bit of room to play there) with baking paper. Take the dough out of the fridge. Tilting the bowl over the baking tray, try to get some of that oil onto that baking paper first before gently scooping the dough onto that oil puddle – that way, you’ll ensure that nothing sticks while also making certain that the focaccia is oiled – and crunchy – on all sides. Using your hands, gently nudge the dough to spread it out to fit the baking pan. Now it’s time to let it rise at room temperature. I like to keep it covered here, too – a great way to prevent your tea towel from drooping into the focaccia is to top the baking tray with the oven wire rack and then drape one or two moistened tea towels over the top. Place the baking tray in a warm place and let the dough rise until doubled – this can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour depending on the time of year it is.

Preheat the oven to 230°C. As the oven is heating up you can get going with decorating the dough with the parsley. Gently arrange the parsley leaves on top of the dough, making sure they are lying flat and sticking to it. Drizzle with a little of the extra olive oil and sprinkle with the flaky sea salt. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden – the focaccia will have come away from the sides and should have a nice crust on the bottom. If you’re feeling vain, keep an eye on the parsley after the 15-minute mark to make sure the focaccia and the parsley don’t get too dark. If you’re worried, you can gently cover the top with some aluminium foil. Once it’s done, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.