No-Knead Focaccia Pizza with Pesto and Fontina Recipe

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Artisan Sourdough Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with Minimal KneadingFocaccia pizzas are a home cook’s best kept secret. As long as you’ve got some dough, they are quick to put together any night of the week. For this focaccia pizza, you’ll find fresh basil pesto spread on top, and it’s smothered in creamy fontina cheese to finish. The crust bakes up golden and crunchy, while the inside is light and airy. I guarantee you’ll give your local pizzeria a run for their money. Many napkins are required for this one.

About the Dough: For extra flavor, this focaccia has a generous dollop of basil pesto added to the dough. It will smell incredible as it begins to rise.

  • Yield: 1 Large Focaccia


  • 50 g (¼ cup) bubbly, active starter
  • 400 g (1⅔ cups) cool water
  • 18 g (1 heaped tbsp) basil pesto
  • 500 g (4 cups plus 2 tbsp) all-purpose flour
  • g (1 tsp) fine sea salt
  • 45 g (3 tbsp) olive oil, for coating
Pesto and Cheese Topping
  • 0.66 cup (120 to 160 g) basil pesto
  • 2 2 lightly packed cups (125 g) shredded fontina cheese
  • Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves
How to Make It
  1. A few days before baking, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready to use.
  2. Make the Dough
  3. In the evening, whisk the starter, water, and pesto together in a large bowl with a fork. Add the flour and salt. Mix to combine, then finish by hand until no lumps of flour remain. Replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and store according to preference.
  4. Bulk Rise
  5. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rise overnight at room temperature, 70°F (21°C), about 12 to 18 hours. The dough will double in size (or more) and look stringy when removed from the bowl.
  6. Second Rise
  7. Pour the olive oil onto a rimmed sheet pan, and rub the bottom and sides with your hands. Coax the dough onto the sheet pan, then flip it over so that both sides are coated in the oil. Cover and let rest for about 1½ to 2 hours, or until very puffy.
  8. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
  9. Assemble the Focaccia
  10. Gently dimple the surface of the dough, stretching and rounding the sides into a large, rustic oval shape. The size should be about 14 × 9 inches (36 × 23 cm). Spread the pesto over the dough, smoothing it out with the back of a spoon. Hold off on adding the cheese for now.
  11. Bake
  12. Bake the focaccia for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the fontina cheese over the top. Bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and melted. Before serving, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese, and extra pesto to taste. Scatter the fresh basil leaves on top. Cut into slices and serve warm. This focaccia is best enjoyed on the day it’s made.

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