New to cooking and baking, our director of digital marketing, Michaela, surprised us all with her edible art. Inspired by an early spring cardinal that showed up outside our kitchen window, she cut and shaped bits in the refrigerator to top off her no-knead focaccia - an Italian bread with a thick and fluffy interior, crunchy bottom and top exterior, and dimples that soak up olive oil and toppings. The result was a gorgeous, almost but not quite too pretty to eat bread. The smell of the bread baking had us all lingering nearby for a taste of this fresh-from-the-oven staff of life.

Experiment with food art! This bread lends itself to myriads of flower patterns, a vegetable garden, or abstract designs. Design your masterpiece and watch your family and friends oo and ah over your creation. Or, simply sprinkle with a flourish of sea salt and some quality EVOO, and try to keep yourself from eating far too much of this flatbread (that really isn't flat at all.) Over an inch thick, it makes for delicious sandwiches. The very next day, we sliced squares in half, drizzled the interiors with olive oil, and toasted the focaccia in the oven to warm it up and make the exteriors a bit crunchy again. We slathered the warm interiors with goat cheese, and had a hard time deciding not to sneak back to the kitchen for seconds.

cuisine Italian
difficulty Moderate
season Year Round
serves 12


  • 600 grams bread flour
  • 600 grams all-purpose flour
  • 28 grams kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 40 grams extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1070 grams lukewarm water
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, optional
  • Rosemary and thyme sprigs, optional
  • 1 roasted red pepper, optional
  • 1 yellow pepper, optional
  • Black olives, pitted, optional
  • 1 pint tiny tomatoes, optional
  • 1 slice red onion, optional


  1. In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, all-purpose flour, Kosher salt, yeast, and sugar. Add the olive oil and the water, and mix with a spatula until a shaggy, wet and sticky dough forms.
  2. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and the dough rest for 5 minutes. 
  3. Wet your hands, then take a section of the dough and stretch it up and fold it onto itself. Rotate the bowl 90° and repeat the process. Repeat this twice until all of the dough has been stretched and folded. Repeat the process for a total of 8 stretch and folds.
  4. Cover the bowl with the kitchen towel and leave the bread to rest for 2 minutes. 
  5. Repeat the stretch and fold and rest process twice more, for a total of three rounds of stretch and folds, each two minutes apart. 
  6. Drizzle the surface of the dough with olive oil, and turn the dough over in the bowl to coat.
  7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.
  8. Generously drizzle a half sheet baking tray with olive oil.
  9. Turn the dough out into the half sheet baking tray and turn it to fully coat it in the oil. Shape into a rough rectangle shape by pressing it down with your oiled fingers and tucking edges and corners in if needed. Let the bread dough relax for 5 minutes.
  10. Dip your fingers in olive oil and gently spread the dough toward the edges of the pan. It may not reach all the way, this is fine as the bread will spread during the final rise.
  11. Drizzle the surface of the dough with a little more olive oil so that it does not dry out. 
  12. Leave the pan in a warm spot, uncovered, to rise, until doubled in size and puffy, about 2 hours.
  13. It is ready to bake, when you can gently press small indentations that slowly spring back. Trim any dough that has risen and fallen over the side of the baking tray.
  14. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. (without convection).
  15. Oil your fingers and use them to dimple the dough all over, pressing your fingers almost to the bottom of the pan. Bubbles will form in the dough - do not pop them.
  16. At a minimum sprinkle flaky sea salt.
  17. If making the cardinal, cut and arrange the optional roasted peppers for the body, wings and head. Use a fresh yellow pepper slice for the beak, sliced olives for the eye area and feet, and a small piece of red onion to give the upper part of the bird's body depth and definition. The herbs and tomatoes may be arranged in whatever pattern desired.
  18. Immediately transfer to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown on the surface and pulling away from the sides of the pan. 
  19. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to stand for 5 minutes. Transfer the bread to a wire rack to prevent the bottom from getting soggy. 
  20. Leave to cool then slice into pieces using a bread knife. Store leftovers lightly wrapped at room temperature.