Saturday, July 12, 2008


I have tried many many times to make bread. I can make breads like banana, zucchini, etc. but straight up sandwich bread I have struggled with. I think my problem has been that I have focused too much on it being 100% whole wheat and the result has been thick, dense bread that is unfit for human consumption practically. At one of our garden club meetings my friend Jaime had made a loaf of bread that I could not put down and I asked begged her for the recipe. It is as follows:

2 tsp yeast
2 cups flour
1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt, regular
1 tsp salt, large crystal
2 cups water
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
optional herbs

Begin by mixing the flour, yeast, & (small grain) salt in 4-5-quart bowl. Add the warm water (90-105 degrees F) and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Stir until smooth; about 2 minutes. Can stir by hand or with paddle on mixer. After a few minutes of stirring, the dough will pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a rough, shaggy mass. If the dough is too sticky, add 1-2 tbsp of flour.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30-40 minutes. Additional time in the bowl is just fine. For an early start in the morning, prepare batter to this point in the evening. Leave the covered bowl in a draft-free, warmish place such as the top of the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. with rack in middle of oven.

Line pan with parchment paper (this is necessary) and drizzle 1-2 tbsp on top of the paper. Pour dough into pan and smooth with well-wetted hand. Do not fuss overmuch. Drizzle one or two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on top of dough. Sprinkle with large crystal salt and optional herbs. Place pan on middle shelf in oven. Keep thermostat set for 500 degrees F for two and a half minutes; then reset to complete baking at 450 degrees F. for a total of about 30 minutes more or less depending on how chewy or desired texture (chewy or crunchy). Alternately, keep oven at 500 degrees F for about 23 or 24 minutes..

You can bake two focaccia breads in one domestic oven. Alternate shelves and rotate pans about halfway through the baking. Greater uniformity is likely if batter is mixed in two bowls rather that doubling the recipe in a single bowl. Remove from pan and cool on cutting board or rack. Bread is still baking while it is hot; wait until it is cool before cutting.


saraH said...

for the large crystal salt, would sea salt work?

jenny mae. said...

yup definitely

nikolem2 said...

What size/type of bread pan do you use? And does this recipe make just one loaf?


jenny mae. said...

i believe any size load pan will work, even just throwing it down freeform on a sheet would too! and yes this recipe makes one loaf

Teresa said...

Jenny - Sara G. just directed me to your blog (maybe I'll meet you at church tomorrow). Anyway, I can't wait to try these recipes - I've been trying tons of different sandwhich bread recipes and found one I sort of like, but none that I love. FYI - I just read in a Mollie Katzen (of Moosewood fame) cookbook, that you can substitute whole wheat pastry flour for white flour, so, I'm going to try it. I'll let you know how it goes.

jenny mae. said...

teresa - fantastic tip! let me know how it goes!