Whole Wheat Focaccia
Perfect for feeding a crowd or a little brother during his growth spurt, focaccia is a flavorful and easy-to-make Italian flat bread. It is baked in a sheet pan and made with a yeast dough that is allowed to rise twice. The first time, the dough rises in the bowl and the second time, after it is shaped. Be sure to have enough time before getting started. At the end, you will form the indentations with your fingers to allow the tiny pools of olive oil to soak into the bread as it bakes.
- 2 tbsp active dry yeast
- Warm water
- 1 tsp honey
- 4 cups whole wheat flour*
- 1 tbsp coarse salt**
- 1/2 cup olive oil divided
- Provence herbs and rosemary sprigs coarsely chopped
- Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water then add the honey to help it bloom. Set aside until the yeast foams up, 5 to 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and the salt. Form a small hole in the middle and add 4 tbsp of olive oil.
- Using a metal spoon, incorporate the dissolved yeast and then continue with warm water until a soft dough is formed. The dough should remain sticky, but it shouldn’t feel “wet”. Add more water or flour as needed. When working with whole wheat flour, the dough should not become dry and cohesive as with white flour. Most of the time, the dough I obtain is very soft and barely holds itself, but that’s what will give you the best texture in the end.
- No need to knead it, simply cover it with a wet towel and let it rise for 1h in a warm place.
- Oil your hands, punch the dough down and form a smooth ball. Unstick the dough from the sides of the bowl by doing circular movements, from the bowl to the middle of the dough.
- Transfer it on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Stretch it as much as possible using your hands.
- Dip your finger into the dough for a first time to form the small holes. It is normal that the dough regains its shape at this point. You will be doing it again. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and let it rise for another 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven at 425°F.
- Remove the plastic wrap, oil your hands and dip your fingers into the dough one more time. Drizzle about 3-4 tbsp of olive oil over the dough and sprinkle the herbs over it.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the crust becomes golden-brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack before slicing and serving.
*After having baked a lot of breads, I have come to the conclusion that the whole wheat flour by La Milanaise is simply the best. My breads always rise properly and the texture ends up being perfect. If you have access to it (mainly in Canada), I recommend that you use it to make this recipe. **Slightly diminish the quantity of salt in the recipe if you are using fine salt.