With love from Provence: Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia {Easy + No Knead}

Provence in its bounty and splendor is teaching me the beauty of simplicity. Like today’s recipe for Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia, Provence is at its finest when the fuss is at a minimum and the pure flavors of its ingredients are at a max.

Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia-Easy no knead focaccia recipe

I wanted to share a few recipes of my own during Ben and my trip to France, and easy, no-knead focaccia bread seemed like the perfect dish to share while we are in southern France. Yes, the glitz of Monaco seduced me for an afternoon, but the southern France that has stolen my heart is the one of abundance and of celebration of ingredients in their most natural form.

French cooking is often reputed as being unnecessarily complex and heart-stoppingly heavy, but Provencal cuisine flies in the face of this notion. The cooking here focuses on presenting ingredients in the freshest possible way, with as little manipulation as possible. After all, when every tomato you bite is the most gorgeous, sweet, and exploding-with-splendor tomato you’ve ever put into your mouth, why on earth would you do anything to disguise its vibrant flavor?

Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia // Well-Plated

Although focaccia is Italian, the Provencal bake and adore the same bread. (Here, it’s called fougasse and is often cut into the shape of a leaf.)  To me, it is the bread most in keeping with the Provencal dedication to ingredient honesty, because it allows the essential flavor of the olive oil to be the star.

Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia-Easy focaccia recipe with classic provencal toppings

Happily, focaccia is one of the easiest breads to make. My recipe requires only a mixer and absolutely no-kneading. The dough is lightly soft, golden, and airy and the earthy flavor of the olive oil beams in every bite. Be sure you use a good olive oil—you can really taste it, so it’s worth spending a few extra dollars on the bottle. (I’m a big fan of this one.) The French would agree with this principle.

A note on olive oil: I buy two kinds. A higher quality oil for when the taste is very important (salad dressings and this focaccia bread for example), and a lower-priced every day olive oil for sautéing and high-temperature roasting.

This easy no-knead focaccia bread recipe is an excellent base for any number of focaccia toppings (rosemary + sea salt and red pepper flakes + Parmesan are two of my favorites), but for today I chose the classic Provencal combo of caramelized onions and olives. The onions are subtly sweet, the olives are salty, and together they form a beautiful pairing with the tender, olive-oil infused focaccia bread.

To make focaccia bread from scratch, all we need is a sturdy mixer and a few ingredients. Here’s our dough after its first rise (again, no-kneading!), plenty of fruity olive oil, and our caramelized onions and olives for topping. I used 50% white whole wheat flour/50% all purpose flour and thought the texture was brilliant. Feel free to use 100% all-purpose flour if you prefer; more than 50% whole wheat flour will cause the loaf to become increasingly dense.

Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia

Keep it low-fuss and dirty fewer dishes. Drizzle olive oil directly onto the baking sheet, plop the dough in the center, then stretch and dimple the dough. Perfection is not the focus here, and fingers are the best tools. Drizzle with olive oil once more. Be generous! This is the good stuff of the earth.

Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia-Dough drizzled with olive oil

Scatter the caramelized onions and olives over the top. We are painting a focaccia masterpiece.

Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia-Topping the dough

Bake until golden and fluffy, then homemade, robustly-flavored focaccia is ours for the munching! Ben inhaled two slices in about 45 seconds, returned for thirds, then came up for air to exclaim, “this is REALLY good bread.”

Hopefully by the time we are back from France, he’ll say, “C’est vraiment bon pain” instead.

In any language, this wonderfully flavored, yet beautifully simple Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia is easy to make and will be a star at your table. Celebrate the glories of the earth’s bounty and give it a try this weekend!

Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia {Easy + No Knead}

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
An easy no-knead recipe for golden, fluffy focaccia. ANYONE can make this bread! Use this recipe as a base for any of your favorite toppings and impress your guests.

Ingredients

For the Focaccia Dough:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour — (or substitute additional all purpose flour)
  • 3 tablespoon vital wheat gluten — (optional if using whole wheat flour—will create a fluffier dough)
  • 1 tablespoon Red Star Platinum Instant Yeast — (1 packet + 3/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil — (plus about 1/4 cup additional for drizzling)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

For the Caramelized Onion and Olive Topping:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large red onions — thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 12 olive-oil packed pitted olives — drained and sliced in half

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl, stir together the all purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, vital wheat gluten, yeast, and salt. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil. Heat the water to the temperature specified by the yeast manufacturer (125 to 130 degrees F for Red Star Platinum). With a hand mixer or the stand mixer’s paddle attachment, beat dough on low speed while gradually pouring in the water. Slowly increase the speed to high, then beat for 1 minute. The dough will be very sticky. Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, then cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm, draft free plate for 1 hour, until the dough becomes puffy, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. While the dough is rising, prepare the caramelized onion topping. Heat the olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and salt, then sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and let cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until deep brown, sweet, and tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the red pepper flakes.
  3. Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Drizzle a large baking sheet generously with olive oil. Gently turn the risen dough out onto the greased baking sheet. Coax and stretch the dough into to a 1/2-inch thick oblong shape (it may not be uniform), then cover with lightly oiled plastic and let rest 15 minutes. With your fingertips, “dimple” the dough by poking it gently all over. Generously drizzle additional olive oil over the top of the dough, then sprinkle evenly with caramelized onions and olives. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, checking at the 18 minute mark. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Course: Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia {Easy + No Knead}, No Knead Bread Recipe

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

I baked Caramelized Onion and Olive Focaccia with my favorite bread-baking secret weapon, Red Star Platinum Yeast. It’s never failed me and creates super-fluffy, tender breads every time. For baking tips, check out Red Star Yeast’s step-by-step baking guide, and don’t forget to follow Red Star on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, for tasty recipes and inspiration.

More recipes to celebrate abundant flavors:

Red Star Yeast compensated me for my time to create this recipe and post. As always, all opinions are my own.

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

22 comments

  1. I have actually NEVER made my own bread…I am so afraid! But, focaccia bread is actually my fav kind, and I had NO idea it was so easy. Plus, caramelized onions? on ALL THE THINGS! Hope you’re having fun!! Pinned!

  2. Love this Italian classic. This looks super!

  3. My favourite recipes are those that use fewer ingredients BUT really good quality ones, just like in this bread. I don’t need any convincing that it’s good! Hope you’re having a great trip through Provence!

  4. That caramelized onion and olive topping sounds amazing!

  5. Loving that this is no knead!!! And caramelized onions are a totally fave. Yum!

  6. I LOVE caramelized onions! This looks amazing!

  7. This bread is one of my favourites! Hope you are having a great trip!

  8. Your focaccia looks absolutely delicious! Hope you’re having a fabulous trip :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  9. Bon Jour!
    This would be great for right after a calorie-intensive activity, and very zen to boot! I am in Busan with in-laws for the rest of the month, and my CHANGMONIM wants me to teach her to make pizza, so that will be part of our shared food odyssey while we are here. Say, are you staying with relatives or a homestay of some kind? How are you able to make focaccia bread while on vacation? Sorry I missed that part of the story.
    Best,
    Derek the Zen Chef

  10. consuelohoneyandfigs Reply

    Oh mon dieu your trip sounds absolutely nice! The south of France must be out-of-this.world amaaaaaaaaazing! Just like this gorgeous focaccia! MMM YAY FOR CARBS! I need this one in my life as soon as possible! <3

  11. Glad you’re having a wonderful time on your trip! France just sounds heavenly. Focaccia is one of my favorite breads, though I don’t make it nearly enough. I love how you used a mix of white whole wheat and all-purpose flour, too. Justification for stuffing my face with it, I think!

  12. You had me at no-knead! I love focaccia bread, and with the caramelized onions and olives … oh yum! Is it wrong if this is all I prepare for a meal??
    So happy to hear you’re having a fab trip! I’ve always wanted to go to France. For now, I’ll just pretend I’m there while I drool over your descriptions of amazingly fresh and wonderful foods!

  13. I love making my own bread but I have never done focaccia! Which is just plain crazy! haha This looks so so good. Hope you are having one heck of a trip! : )

  14. Wow, this looks so beautiful and amazing! Love that it is no kneed!

  15. Gorgeous work Erin. My hubby LOVES olives so I know this would be at the top of his list! Thank you for sharing!!

  16. Oh yum! I love foccacia of any kind and the idea of caramelized onions and olives together? Delicious. So glad that you guys are having fun gallavanting!! xx

  17. This looks so simple and easy. I’ve been following along on Instagram and am totally jealous. Looks like you’re having the best time.

  18. I totally agree there are certain times where the quality of the olive oil really matters. Same thing with wine :D
    This focaccia with caramelized onions looks absolutely delicious!!

  19. Yep, I’ll take a slab, I mean slice of that little beauty. Delish. :)

  20. Most of the time simple is the best – this looks incredible!!

  21. French chefs love to promote the idea that French cooking is both mysterious and incredibly complicated. Julia Childs debunked that rather thoroughly. I also think your average village grand-mère could beat them all around the village market with an excellent baguette.

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