My Easy No-Knead Spelt Focaccia is a great way to experience the satisfaction of baking your own bread. It is a simple recipe that needs no more than 15 minutes of hands-on time. You just add all the dough ingredients to a bowl, stir with a wooden spoon and then set aside for about 5 hours for the dough to rise. Then, tip the dough into a baking tin and add toppings of your choice. After about 20 minutes of baking in a hot oven, the Spelt Focaccia will emerge, golden, crispy and tantalisingly aromatic.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
One of the great advantages of using spelt flour is that it doesn’t like to be handled too much. The gluten in spelt flour is more fragile than wheat flour, so it is important to take care to not overwork or over-mix the dough.
This characteristic means that the dough does not require kneading. Further, it doesn’t require any special equipment – just a bowl, a wooden spoon, and a baking tin. Bread making truly does not get easier than this!
You will love this recipe for Spelt Focaccia because:
- Spelt is an ancient grain. According to Wikipedia, it has been cultivated since approximately 5,000 BC and has not been genetically modified.
- If you are new to the world of homemade bread, this is a great place to start as this is a no-knead bread recipe that does not require technical knowledge or previous baking experience.
- The focaccia is made from simple ingredients all of which are readily available.
- You can customise the toppings to your taste or to suit what you have on hand.
- By altering the toppings, it can easily be suitable for vegans.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
White Spelt Flour – As with wheat flour, spelt comes in two forms, white and wholegrain. I have used organic white spelt flour which is similar in appearance and texture to regular plain/all-purpose flour.
Instant dry yeast – You can add this yeast directly to the dry ingredients. It does not need to be activated first.
Water – I use filtered water as it is believed that chlorinated water may slow the growth of yeast or even stop it from working altogether.
Sugar – There’s a small amount of sugar to help activate the yeast.
Extra-virgin olive oil – This is an important ingredient in focaccia. It keeps the dough moist and adds to the texture as well as the flavour of the focaccia.
Salt – I use coarse sea salt in the dough and Maldon sea salt flakes to sprinkle on top of the dough just before baking. The salt flakes add flavour and texture.
Cherry or grape tomatoes – Add colour and flavour.
Feta cheese – I have used Greek feta. Use a feta cheese that you enjoy eating.
Chilli flakes – if you like a little spice – optional.
Dried oregano – to complement the Mediterranean flavours.
How to Make No-Knead Spelt Focaccia:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
1 – Add your ingredients to a large bowl:
Combine the flour, yeast, water, sugar, olive oil and salt in a large bowl.
2 – Mix to combine:
Stir the mixture thoroughly with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are just incorporated. The mixture is quite damp.
3 – Ready to prove:
Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set the dough aside to prove for about 5 hours.
4 – The proved dough:
The dough will double in size and appear very bubbly.
5 – Tip the dough into your tin:
After this time, gently turn the dough into the prepared brownie tin and add your toppings.
6 – Prove for 30 minutes:
After proving the dough for 30 minutes, place it in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.
Tips for success and FAQs:
This is one of the easiest recipes for bread. Customise the toppings to your liking – there are so many delicious options!
If you add all your ingredients at the same time and immediately start mixing, the salt will not have time to interfere with the growth of the yeast. However, you don’t want to add salt to the top of the yeast and set it aside for a while or it may kill the yeast.
Yes, you can. However, you will need to activate it first. To do this, dissolve the yeast and the sugar in a little warm water. It must not be hot, or it may destroy the yeast. Set it aside for 10 minutes, or until it bubbles. Then, add it to the flour with the remaining ingredients and follow the rest of the recipe as listed. If it does not bubble, this means the yeast is dead and you will need to start with a new packet.
You can, however, there are some considerations. Whole grain flour absorbs more moisture than white so you will need to add more water than in the recipe. Further, the final bread will lack volume. Whole grain flour is heavier; the dough does not rise as much, and the texture is quite dense. I prefer the texture and flavour of the white flour focaccia. I recommend that you try the recipe first as written and then adjust. If you are keen to try wholegrain, I would recommend that you start with a cup of each flour to lighten the mixture a little.
Yes, you can. I have tried it, but I found that the combination of flours made the bread less crusty. If you decide to use both, you may need to add a small amount of additional water as wholemeal flour absorbs more moisture than white. The mixture needs to be of a pourable consistency.
Spelt bread tends to dry out a little faster than wheat bread so to avoid this, the dough is highly hydrated. It is more like a cake batter that is poured into the baking tin. The high moisture content means that the baked product is better for eating with greater keeping quality. That’s if you don’t eat it all at once!
As with most homemade bread, it is at its best the day it is made. Store it, well covered, in a plastic bag or airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To freeze the focaccia, store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Reheat in a preheated 180 degrees (355 F) oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Thaw frozen focaccia before heating.
Variations and substitutions:
You can customise the toppings to suit your taste; you’re only limited by your imagination.
· A simple topping of extra virgin olive oil and sea salt flakes
· Fresh goat cheese
· Slices of zucchini
· Strips of red/yellow capsicum/peppers
· Black olives
· Strips of prosciutto
· Rosemary leaves
· Basil pesto
· Onion slices
· Marinated artichokes
· Sliced button mushrooms
Does spelt flour contain gluten?
I feel that this question needs clarification. There has been some confusion as to whether spelt flour contains gluten. Some misleading articles have caused many people to believe that it does not. However, this is incorrect; spelt flour does contain gluten.
Spelt flour is sometimes recommended for people who are unable to tolerate wheat or are sensitive to gluten. However, I must emphasise that it is definitely not suitable for people with coeliac disease or many people with gluten intolerance.
The gluten in spelt flour differs from that in wheat in that it has a more delicate structure and is water-soluble. It may be this quality which makes it more easily digested and tolerated by some people who cannot normally consume gluten.
Also, it may be that we have had much less exposure to spelt and therefore are less likely to have developed an allergy or intolerance.
If you are looking for a gluten-free focaccia recipe, try my Olive and Rosemary Focaccia.
The Spelt Focaccia is extremely versatile, you will find many ways to enjoy it. After removing your focaccia from the oven, allow it to cool on a rack for a few minutes or it will not cut well. For maximum enjoyment, serve your bread whilst it is still slightly warm. Whilst slightly warm the crust is crispy and the interior tender.
Serve it warm with our Mediterranean Bread Dipping Oil or with an antipasti platter. It is a perfect accompaniment to a bowl of steaming soup, such as our Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup. Alternatively, you could slice it in half and fill with cheese and tomato.
There’s something very special about making your own bread; it is worthy of a special celebration, but it is also fitting as a special treat for your family and friends. Not only does the bread look and smell fabulous. It has a crispy crust and a tender, airy centre.
I encourage you to try this Easy Spelt Focaccia as I am certain that the result will delight you. And, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have made it yourself.
More delicious recipes for you to try:
Easy Spelt Focaccia
For accuracy, when weights are provided, we recommend weighing your ingredients. This will produce the best results.
For the dough:
- 250 g (1 and ⅔ cups) white spelt flour See Note 1
- 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
- 250 ml (1 cup) water – at room temperature See Note 2
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil See Note 3
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes – halved
- ¼ cup feta cheese – cubed
- ¼ teaspoon red chilli pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Combine the flour, yeast, water, sugar, olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon just until all the ingredients are incorporated. The mixture will be quite damp – more like a cake batter.
- After covering the bowl with cling wrap, set the dough aside to prove for about 5 hours.
- The dough will double in size and appear very bubbly. The dough is now ready to use. (See Note 4)
- Preheat your oven to 220 Degrees C (430 F).
- Line a 27cm x 18cm (11″ x 7″) brownie/slice tin with non-stick baking paper, ensuring that the base and sides are well covered.I have found that the easiest way to do this is to dampen the paper, wring it out thoroughly, and press it into the tin. (See Note 5)
- Starting at one end of the brownie tin and moving the bowl toward the other end of the tin, gently tip the dough into the tin. Be careful to retain as many of the air bubbles as possible. The dough will slowly ease itself into the shape of the tin. If necessary, dampen your fingertips and gently ease the dough into the corners.
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top of the dough and add your toppings.Set the dough aside to prove for a further 30 minutes.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the dough sounds hollow when the base is tapped.
- Cool slightly on a wire rack to keep the focaccia crisp. Serve whilst still warm.
- Spelt flour: You will find spelt flour in supermarkets or health food stores. I have used organic for this recipe.
- Water: I use filtered water as it is believed that chlorinated water may slow the growth of yeast or even stop it from working altogether.
- Tablespoon: we use a standard Australian tablespoon which is 20 ml (4 teaspoons).
- Make-ahead: if you are not ready to use the dough you can place it in the fridge, ONCE it has doubled in size and is bubbly (ie: after the five hours proving). Just bring it to room temperature before putting in the tin. Be sure to allow 30 minutes of proving before baking.
- Baking paper: to get the paper to sit flat, I dampen it slightly, wring it out tight and shake off excess moisture. It will then sit properly in the tin. As the dough is very damp, the brownie/slice tin provides structure for the focaccia.
- Storage: the Focaccia is best on the day it is baked, but can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Warm through leftovers. It can be frozen for up to 2 months.
The nutritional information is an estimate only, and is derived from online calculators. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients and brands you use.
This post was originally published in June 2020. It has been updated with new photos and more information. The recipe remains the same.