It makes really nice, earthy bread. This focaccia was inspired by Carol Field’s whole wheat focaccia.
- 1¼ cups warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp granulated dry yeast
- ¼ cup black olive paste (homemade or good-quality store-bought)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2¾ cups stone-ground whole-wheat flour (you might need to add a bit more, up to 1/4-cup; but do it gradually. The dough should clean the mixing bowl’s sides, but not the bottom)
- 1 tsp salt
For the topping:
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp black olive paste
- About 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil for brushing after baking
- About ¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
Pour the water into a bowl of the stand mixer, whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover with plastic and let stand in a warm place until foamy, about 15 minutes. Add the olive paste, oil, flour, and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is combined. Attach the bowl to the mixer base fitted with a dough hook. Knead on medium speed for 4 minutes. Dough should clean the sides of the bowl. Add more flour if needed. Transfer the dough into a large oil-sprayed bowl, cover with oiled plastic and put into a warm place to rise until doubled, for about 40 minutes or so.
Oil a 9×13-inch baking pan. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it or stretch it to fit into the bottom of the prepared pan. Make sure the dough fills the corners of the pan. If it resists, cover the dough with plastic and let it relax for 10 minutes, then stretch it further. Cover with oil-sprayed plastic and let rise in the warm place until doubled, about 45 min to 1 hr.
While the dough is rising, center the oven rack and preheat the oven and a baking stone (if you have one) to 400F.
Once the dough is ready, dimple it all over with your knuckles. In a small bowl, combine 3 tbsp of oil and olive paste for the topping and brush the mixture over the dough, making sure it gets into the dimples. Sprinkle a little bit of salt over the top. Slide the pan into the preheated oven and spray the walls of the oven immediately with water from a spritz-bottle. Bake for 5 minutes, spray the walls again, then bake for another 5 minutes, spray one more time, close the oven and bake for about 15 to 25 minutes until the focaccia is nice golden brown. Remove the focaccia from the oven, take off the pan, brush some olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the fresh parsley. Cool until warm and serve. The bread is best eaten the same day it’s made.