I’m new to bread-making from scratch. Although I make pizza dough pretty regularly, that has generally been the extent of my yeast-dough endeavors. But last fall I decided to take the leap and try my hand at some “real” homemade bread. Focaccia turned out to be a good choice, as it’s straightforward and not too tricky to get the right texture or crust. I followed Martha Rose Shulman’s directions over on her NY Times Recipes for Health space — do what she does, and you’ll get a lovely olive-oil scented, rosemary-studded focaccia, great for dipping into soups or munching on its own.
I don’t have a stand mixer so I’m only including directions for how to do this by hand. Head to Shulman’s original recipe for instructions on how to make the focaccia using a stand mixer.
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Whole Wheat Focaccia (adapted from Martha Rose Shulman; makes 1 large focaccia)
- 8g (2 tsp) active dry yeast
- 5g (1 tsp) sugar
- 340g (1.5 cups) lukewarm water
- 25g (2 tbsp) olive oil + 25g for drizzling
- 250g (2 cups) whole wheat flour
- 200-220g (~1.75 cups) all-purpose (plain) flour + more for kneading
- 13g (1.75 tsp) salt
- optional: handful fresh rosemary, roughly chopped; sea salt
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and water and stir until the yeast and sugar dissolve.
- Add 25g olive oil along with the whole wheat flour, 200g of the plain flour, and salt. Mix briefly with a wooden spoon. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface, set a timer for 8-10 minutes and knead continuously with your hands. Add plain flour as needed during the kneading; by the end of 10 minutes, the dough should form a sticky ball. Shape it into a ball.
- Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil. Put the dough ball into it and cover both sides of the ball with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1.5-2 hours (or in the fridge for 4-8 hours), until it has doubled.
- After the first rising, punch down the dough, cover it with oiled plastic wrap, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 215C (425F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Oil the paper generously. Press out (or roll) the dough into the rectangular sheet pan until it reaches all sides and corners. It’s easier to do this by rolling or pressing a bit, then waiting 5 minutes, then rolling or pressing again — repeat until the dough reaches the pan’s edges.
- Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Before baking, dimple the dough with your fingertips, drizzle some olive oil over it, and sprinkle on some rosemary and sea salt.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.