The Fresh Loaf

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Whole Wheat Sourdough Focaccia

wassisname's picture

Whole Wheat Sourdough Focaccia


That fits into my after-work-weeknight schedule?  And is almost impossible to mess-up?  Sure, why not?

My daughter of nine calls this, "The best bread in the whole world... mmmm!"  That's compared, I should note, to the crusty whole grain hearth loaves I usually try to force on her.  She is not a fan of the crusty bread.  Maybe someday. 

 Until then, this is the opposite of that... but still in keeping with my fascination with whole grains and sourdough. 

 Anyway, here's a pic:


And here's a recipe:

Based on the Focaccia recipe in Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads that I originally only used for pizza.

Day 1 - make the dough

350g WW Flour

200g WW starter (mine is 75% hydration)

300g water

1 tsp salt

Up to 1 tsp instant yeast (Not necessary, but if it makes you feel better...)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil


-Mix everything except the oil, knead for 3-4 min

-Add the oil - knead 15 seconds

-Rest 5 min

-Knead 1 min

-Put in an oiled container, cover and refrigerate.


Day 2 - make the Focaccia

About ¼ cup olive oil

Corn meal (optional)



-Generously oil a 8x12 Pyrex pan with about half the olive oil.  Sprinkle a little corn meal in the pan.

-Take dough out of refrigerator and put it in the pan.

-With oiled fingertips slowly press the dough out to fill the pan (it will be slack so this is usually pretty easy).

-Pour remaining oil over dough, or don't if you're not as big a fan of olive oil as I am.

-Let rise 45 min. if pressed for time, or longer if you can (90 min. is the most time I've ever had).

-Add toppings (I like fresh rosemary, a few shreds of parmesan and mozzarella, and a bit of coarse salt.  The one in the pic has cheese, oregano, corn, coarse salt)

-Place pan on middle rack of cold oven.  Start oven for 500 F.  Bake about 15 min. (depending on how fast your oven heats up).

-Reduce heat to 350 F and bake another 10 min.

-Remove from oven, let cool on rack for a few minutes.  I like to throw a little extra mozzarella on to melt as it cools.


The best part?  Change almost anything in this recipe and it still works.

I've tried:

-Substituting half whole spelt flour, half whole white wheat flour, half 85% flour, all WW bread flour.

-Preheating a stone and baking just above it at 425 F for 15-20 min.

-Various amounts of instant yeast.

-Various rising times

-Recently refreshed starter, starter that's been in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

-A little sweetener in the dough

It may not come out exactly the same each time, but it's always tasty! 



fishers's picture

Hey all!

I'd never had focaccia before eating at a little restaurant in Aiken, SC a couple of weeks ago.  My husband and I looked at each other in amazement as we devoured the organic WW, flax seed and currant treat.  I've never been interested in focaccia because I linked it to thick, doughy pizza and I'm a thin crust person.  So I did what any other TFL member would do and searched our website for the perfect recipe where I found Marcus.  I've made this twice.  Once, replicating our restaurant experience - I eliminated the corn meal, substituted canola for the olive oil, and worked 2-tbl flax seed and 2-tbl currants into the dough before putting in refrigerator.  Otherwise, follow Marcus' directions.  Today, I again eliminated the corn meal, substituted canola for the olive oil, and worked 1/2 cup dried cherries and 1/2 cup chocolate chips into the dough.  I didn't use quite as much oil by not pouring more over the dough before baking.  About 1/8 of a cup in the bottom of the pan was the only additional oil that I used.  This is a very versatile recipe and I love the crumb.  Not doughy.  Just a nice soft crumb as you see pictured in Marcus' post.  I didn't take any pictures - what you see in Marcus' shot is what you get.  Just work outside the box! 

I agree with your daughter Marcus - this is the best!  And so easy ....

Thanks Marcus,


wassisname's picture

Thanks Sharon, currants sound like a wonderful addition!  I haven't made this in a while (too obsessed with pizza lately) but I think it's going to have to come back into the rotation.


Mebake's picture

This is very tempting, Marcus! I wonder how sour it would be considering the immediate retadation of the dough. But if you say its tasty, then i believe you!


wassisname's picture

Thanks, Khalid, it's been a while since Ive baked this but I don't remember much sourness.  I think the olive oil and toppings overpower any really distinct sourdough flavor, depending on how you make it , of course.  I'll have to try again and refresh my memory. 


fishers's picture


I think it would depend on your starter.  My starter is WW - 100% hydration that I made from dried Northwest Sourdough starter.  It is a nice, very active starter that to me, smells like walking into a beer pub (not that I frequent pubs).  When I made focaccia the first time, I retarded the dough as Marcus does.  My husband liked it, although a little too sour for me when mixed with flax seed and currants.  But I think it had more to do with the starter than the recipe.  When I made focaccia the second time, I did not retard the dough and baked the same day.  No strong sour taste this time and no change in the rise or baking results as I made the dough several hours after feeding and my starter was very active.  With "my" starter I don't need to develop additional flavor and I didn't feel sour (beer), chocolate, and cherries were a good mix.  Additional sour would probably be good for a pizza though.  I think you'll just need to experiment.  But the recipe is super easy and well worth trying ...


wanda Heather's picture
wanda Heather

This was the first time making WW focaccia.  I used generic whole wheat flour and triple checked all the ingredients.  I used a 100% starter in good shape.  The dough was super loose given the measurements.  I had to add more WW flour (teaspoons at a time) until it had the consistency that was acceptable.  After autolysing, some slap and folds (4-5 hours total), I put it in the fridge overnight.  It had gluten structure but still high moisture.  Since it was in a pan, shaping didn't matter.  Garlic slivers and red pepper flakes.  The only change I would have made....use 80% of the water (not in the starter) and add more as needed when mixing the dough in the very beginning.