Wholemeal Focaccia

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Cuts up into

    10–12 pieces

Appears in

Apples for Jam

Apples for Jam

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2010

  • About

Here is a wholemeal version of the focaccia overleaf. You can use any proportion of wholemeal flour to white, or you could use another type, too, such as farro (spelt) flour instead of the wholemeal. You could also incorporate this into the pizza rossa, swapping some of the white flour for wholewheat and carrying on with the tomato topping.

Ingredients

  • 375 ml(13 fl oz/ cups) warm (comfortable to your fingers) water
  • 20 g(¾ oz) fresh yeast, crumbled, or 10 g(¼ oz) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 250 g(9 oz) white bread flour
  • 350 g(12 oz) wholemeal (wholewheat) flour
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Method

Put the water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl with 2 fistfuls of the white flour. Mix with electric beaters until smooth. Cover and leave for about 30 minutes, until it all froths up and looks foamy on the top. Add the rest of the plain flour, the wholemeal flour, half the oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix well with your hands: it will be very soft, but try to work it without adding more flour. If it’s too soft to knead, just slap it around in the bowl for 4–5 minutes until it starts to feel elastic. Cover the bowl with a couple of cloths and leave it in a warm and draught-free place for about 1½ hours, or until it has puffed up well.

Lightly oil a 28 × 38 × 4 cm(11 × 15 × 1½ inch) baking tray. Punch down the dough to flatten it. Spread the dough out gently into the tray, right out to the edges. If it won’t stretch easily, leave it to relax for another 5 minutes and then gently stretch it out, starting from the centre. Make sure the dough doesn’t break anywhere and that it is spread more or less evenly. Put in a warm draught-free place. So the dough doesn’t stick to the cloth, arrange four glasses around the tray and drape a couple of tea towels or a towel over them like a tent to completely cover the tray. Leave for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the dough puffs up.

Meanwhile, turn your oven to its highest temperature. In a small bowl, mix the remaining oil with 125 ml(4 fl oz/½ cup) of hot water and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir until the salt dissolves. Make some dimples on the top of the bread with your fingertips and then brush well with the saltwater mixture.

Put in the oven and bake for around 20–30 minutes (depending on the heat of your oven) until the bread is golden, a bit crusty here and there and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and cool for a bit before cutting into pieces. This is best warm but can also be served at room temperature, or reheated.