Sourdough Garden Focaccia Bread
with Whole Wheat
Fun and really tasty, this delicious Focaccia Bread smells like a pizza while it's baking! Impress your guests or just enjoy getting creative and enjoy the feast.
Decorating a Garden Focaccia is simple and simply beautiful. Start with my favorite Sourdough Focaccia recipe made with some stoned ground whole wheat flour, trust me, you can do this.
After rising the dough the second time, I use fresh produce to decorate my garden. One key element is to use long thin strips of green onion sliced the long way to create stems for lovely blossoms. Red onion, tomatoes, bell peppers, pepperoncinis, radishes and other vegetables can be used to create a tasty mural on top of the bread. The combinations are limitless! I used some thyme for this also and I think fennel would be a spectacular addition. Use your imagination and have fun with it!
I start with my basic focaccia bread recipe. This is a picture of a large focaccia I made a few months earlier. I made it with a double recipe so it would fill my half sheet pan. After making the dough in a stand mixer, I rise it first in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap then I knead it briefly and spread it out evenly on the sheet pan that I've lightly oiled with spray oil.
Spray the top of the dough with spray oil then lay a large piece of plastic wrap loosely over the dough and let it rise again. After it has nearly doubled, carefully pull back the plastic wrap to remove it and the dough is ready to be artfully decorated to your hearts desire!
Start heating up the oven while you decorate, then use the end of a wooden spoon to punch down holes across the focaccia to fill with olive oil just before baking. I lightly sprayed the top again with spray oil to cover the veggies I used to decorate my garden mural.
Here are a few pictures of the larger focaccia so you can see how the crumb of this bread turns out. I didn't poke a lot of wholes in it because it had so many crevices and pockets as it was. The added olive oil already had lots of nooks and crannies to fill in.
After topping the basic focaccia dough with olive oil, I sprinkled it with my favorite My Secret Spice Blend that's just perfect for focaccia or home made croutons.
The Garden Focaccia has so many yummy veggies going on it that I find it needs only a light sprinkling of kosher or course ground sea salt to make the flavors pop.
I always find these decorative focaccia breads delightfully impressive and thought they might be difficult to pull off but now that I'm making them, I see how simple and rewarding they really are. Indulge your creative side and give it a try!
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Sourdough Garden Focaccia Bread with Whole Wheat
3 cups all purpose flour + a few tablespoons for kneading etc.
1/2 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil + 2 or 3 more for drizzling on top
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup warm water
2 green onions, thinly sliced long ways
small veggies or herbs as desired
kosher or coarse sea salt for topping
spray oil as needed
Add all of the dry ingredients to a stand mixer.
Mix for a few seconds to blend.
Add the sourdough starter and 2 tablespoons olive oil then begin to mix on the lowest setting.
Pour the warm water in very slowly until the dough comes together and pulls away from the bowl. If the dough does not come together fully, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it pulls cleanly away from the bowl.
Continue to mix for 7 more minutes to knead and develop the gluten. The dough should be somewhat sticky and very elastic.
Place a few tablespoons of all purpose flour on a board.
Turn the dough out onto the flour and knead 4 to 5 times, folding the dough back over itself and pressing down gently.
Add 2 teaspoons of quality oil to a large bowl. Form the dough into a ball and roll it in the bowl with the oil to cover all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place to rise for about 90 minutes or until it has nearly doubled in size.
Using the floured board, scrape the dough out of the bowl and gently knead 4 or 5 times then form it into a rectangle.
Prepare a sheet pan with spray oil and place the rectangle of dough on it, spreading it gently with your hands or a rolling pin until it's about 1 inch thick. If it shrinks back, let it rest for a few minutes then try again. Eventually it will relax and stay spread out.
Spray the top of the dough with oil and lay a large piece of plastic wrap on top as illustrated above and allow the dough to rise until nearly doubled in size, usually about 60 minutes. The warmer the air the faster the rise.
When the dough has risen, begin preheating the oven to 375 degrees.
Carefully pull back the plastic wrap to remove it from the top of the dough and begin building your garden mural.
When you have completed your design, spray the top lightly with oil and use the handle of a wooden utensil to punch down several holes across the top of the dough as illustrated above.
Drizzle olive oil across the top of the dough filling in the holes you have punched down and sprinkle the whole thing lightly with the kosher or coarse sea salt.
Bake the focaccia at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. For even baking, turn the focaccia around in the oven once half way through baking.
Allow your beautiful focaccia to cool slightly and serve warm or cool completely before covering and storing for later.