Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread Recipe

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This whole wheat focaccia recipe is soft, tasty, and totally customizable to your liking.

It’s hard not to love focaccia bread. This classic Italian bread can be a heady experience. It’s great on its own, with a little butter or any number of toppings you want to put on it.

A side view of Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread in three pieces on a cutting board.

Technically, this could be considered a no knead focaccia because you stir it instead of kneading it. But some folks will still want to get their hands in there to be sure everything is mixed well. It’s totally up to you.

FAQs

Does Whole Wheat Flour Rise The Same As All-Purpose?

No, it doesn’t. Whole wheat flour produces a stiffer dough, which won’t be able to rise as much. That said, this recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour, which is a good middle ground between the two flours.

Can You Make Focaccia With Whole Wheat Flour?

Absolutely! You can use regular whole wheat flour if you don’t mind flatter focaccia. You may have to up the water content just a bit, but it will work. For this recipe, you’ll use whole wheat pastry flour, which will give you a medium rise. Taller than regular whole wheat flour but not as tall as all-purpose flour.

Is Focaccia Healthier Then Regular Bread?

Yes and no. It depends on which breads you are comparing. Nothing beats good, homemade bread. But the ingredients you use also matter, just like they do at the grocery store.

A round Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread torn in half on a cutting board.

Focaccia Bread Topping Ideas

Here are 10 ideas for topping to press into the raw dough before baking:

  1. Cherry Tomato and Fresh Basil: Press halved cherry tomatoes and torn fresh basil leaves into the dough, allowing them to roast and infuse their flavors into the bread.
  2. Caramelized Onion and Thyme: Spread a layer of caramelized onions over the dough and sprinkle it with fresh thyme leaves for a sweet and savory combination.
  3. Rosemary and Sea Salt: Press fresh rosemary sprigs into the dough and sprinkle it generously with coarse sea salt for a simple yet aromatic topping.
  4. Olive and Herbs: Press a variety of olives, such as Kalamata or green olives, into the dough along with your favorite herbs like thyme, oregano, or rosemary.
  5. Roasted Garlic and Parmesan: Press roasted garlic cloves into the dough. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top for a rich and flavorful crust.
  6. Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta: Press chopped sun-dried tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese into the dough for a burst of Mediterranean flavors.
  7. Spinach and Feta: Squeeze out excess moisture from cooked spinach and press it into the dough along with crumbled feta cheese.
  8. Everything Bagel: Purchase or make your own Everything Bagel seasoning. Gently press this mixture onto the top of the dough, giving your focaccia a delightful “everything bagel” flavor.
  9. Pesto and Mozzarella: Spread a thin layer of pesto over the dough and top it with slices of fresh mozzarella, allowing the cheese to melt and meld with the bread as it bakes.
  10. Balsamic Glazed Onion and Gorgonzola: Caramelize onions in balsamic glaze and press them onto the dough, then crumble some creamy gorgonzola cheese over the top before popping it in the oven.
Two halves, one laying partially on the other, of Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread.

About Whole Wheat Focaccia Ingredients

Warm water – This water needs to be between 105 F and 110 F to properly activate the yeast. If the water is hotter than that, it can kill the yeast. If it’s cooler, it may not activate the yeast much. So use a thermometer to make sure your water is at the right temperature.

Active dry yeast – Make sure this is fresher yeast so it actually works. Older yeast that has been in your pantry a long time won’t work as well, if at all, depending on its age.

Honey – Use any type you like. You can also use maple syrup if you want to make this bread vegan.

Whole wheat pastry flour – If you have a hard time locating the pastry variety of whole wheat flour, the next best thing is White Whole Wheat flour, which tends to be more readily available in some areas. Note that this is just slightly coarser than whole wheat pastry flour. So your dough may not rise quite as much as with the pastry flour version. It will still work just fine though.

Salt – I find that choosing your salt carefully here is a good idea. You can use almost any salt to add to the dough, but when it comes to toppings, I find that coarser or flakier salts do best and taste best. The choice, of course, is yours.

Oil – Most folks will opt for extra virgin olive oil here. That is definitely the traditional choice. However, you can use pretty much any light-flavored oil you have on hand.

Toppings – Pick your favorite. See suggestions above.

How To Make Whole Wheat Focaccia

Putting honey in a medium mixing bowl.
Adding yeast to honey in a medium mixing bowl.
Adding warm water to a medium mixing bowl of honey and yeast.

Combine the warm water, yeast, and honey in a small bowl. Stir gently and briefly just to mix everything and then let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until the yeast becomes frothy.

Flour in a mixing bowl.
Adding salt to flour in a mixing bowl.
Whisking salt and flour together in a mixing bowl.

Combine whole wheat pastry flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk well to distribute the salt evenly through the flour.

Oil in flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
Adding a foamy yeast mixture to a flour mixture in a large mixing bowl.
All the dough ingredients for Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread in a large mixing bowl.

When the yeast is ready, make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.

Partially mixed Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread dough in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.
Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread dough in a bowl. The dough is too dry and firm.
Showing the proper consistency of a wetter focaccia bread dough after adding more water.

Mix the ingredients together until a wet dough forms. If you need to add a small amount of extra water to reach the proper consistency, do so. This should be a wet dough that does not mix into a firm dough ball. If you get the center image above, you need to add more water.

A towel placed over a mixing bowl with dough in it for rising.
Setting the covered dough bowl in an unheated oven to rise.
The risen Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread dough after rising for one and a half hours.

Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 1½  hours or until the dough doubles in size. I set mine in my unheated oven. Just remember to pull the bowl out before you turn the oven on for baking.

Greasing a cast iron skillet.

Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Grease a baking sheet or cast iron skillet or line it with parchment paper. In hindsight, I would do both. Despite oiling the pan, the bread did still get stuck. So parchment and oil together are a safe bet for easy loaf removal.

Pouring the dough from the mixing bowl into the greased skillet.
The raw Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread dough in a greased skillet.
Stippling the dough with fingers.

Pour and scrape the dough into the prepared baking dish and gently distribute it over the surface of the dish or pan. This is done easily by stippling the dough with your fingers to move the dough into place. Make sure it’s more or less even so that it bakes evenly. You are using your fingers to also create dimples on the surface of the dough.

The raw dough with oil drizzled over it.
Fresh rosemary sprigs pressed into the raw focaccia dough.
Sprinkling the top of the unbaked focaccia bread with additional salt.

Drizzle some oil over the top and sprinkle your favorite toppings on. Most toppings will need to be gently pressed into the surface of the dough. And don’t forget to finish with a light dusting of salt.

Unbaked Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread dough, ready to go into the oven.

Your dough is now ready to bake. Place the bread into a preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the focaccia turns golden brown on top. In some cases, it may only need 15-20 minutes of baking. So keep an eye on it the first time you make this. Check the bread at the last 10-minute mark. If it’s not as brown as you might want, you can raise the temperature up to 450 F. for the last 10 minutes of baking. On the other hand, if the top is getting too brown, you can cover the dish with a loose piece of foil. Much of this will depend on what you top your bread with.

A just baked loaf of Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread cooling on a cutting board.
A closeup of a broken piece of Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread to show the inside.

Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before slicing and serving. Enjoy it warm or at room temperature as a delicious accompaniment to soups, salads or as a standalone snack.

A finished loaf of Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread, broken in half an laying on a cutting board.

Storage

Store this in an airtight container or wrapped well with plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 4 or 5 days.

Freezing

This will freeze well if wrapped well. It can become freezer-burned very easily, so you may want to wrap it twice, once in plastic wrap and then again by placing it in an airtight container that is freezer-safe. If stored well, this will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheating

If you want to enjoy this bread warm, your best bet is to simply microwave it in 30-second intervals. You can also place it in a low-temperature oven and warm it slowly for about 30 minutes. A 300-degree oven should do the trick.

An overhead view of a loaf of Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread torn into three pieces and laying on a cutting board.

Recipe Supplies

For this recipe, you’ll want measuring cups and spoons, a mixing bowl, and a towel or plastic wrap to cover the bowl with. You’ll also want an oven-safe skillet, dish, or baking pan with edges to bake it in.

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Two halves, one laying partially on the other, of Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread.

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread Recipe

Delicious Focaccia bread made with whole grains.
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rise Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 1 loaf
Calories: 1081kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley

Equipment

  • 1 set of measuring cups and spoons
  • 1 Large mixing bowl
  • 1 medium mixing bowl
  • 1 oven-safe skillet or baking dish
  • parchment

Ingredients

  • cups warm water (105-110℉ – Plus extra if needed)
  • 1 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • toppings (see suggestions above)

Instructions

  • Combine the warm water, yeast, and honey in a small bowl. Stir gently and briefly to mix everything, then let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until the yeast becomes frothy.
    Adding warm water to a medium mixing bowl of honey and yeast.
  • Combine whole wheat pastry flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk well to distribute the salt evenly through the flour.
    Whisking salt and flour together in a mixing bowl.
  • When the yeast is ready, make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil.
    All the dough ingredients for Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix the ingredients together until a wet dough forms. If you need to add a small amount of extra water to reach the proper consistency, do so. This should be a wet dough that does not mix into a firm dough ball.
    Just mixed Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread dough in a mixing bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for about 1½  hours or until the dough doubles in size. I set mine in my unheated oven. Just remember to pull the bowl out before you turn the oven on for baking.
    Setting the covered dough bowl in an unheated oven to rise.
  • Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Grease a baking sheet or cast iron skillet or line it with parchment paper. In hindsight, I would do both. Despite oiling the pan, the bread did still get stuck. So parchment and oil together are a safe bet for easy loaf removal.
    Greasing a cast iron skillet.
  • Pour and scrape the dough into the prepared baking dish and gently distribute it over the surface of the dish or pan. This is done easily by stippling the dough with your fingers to move the dough into place. Make sure it's more or less even so that it bakes evenly. You are using your fingers to also create dimples on the surface of the dough.
    Stippling the dough with fingers.
  • Drizzle some oil over the top and sprinkle your favorite toppings on. Most toppings will need to be gently pressed into the surface of the dough. And don't forget to finish with a light dusting of salt.
    Sprinkling the top of the unbaked focaccia bread with additional salt.
  • Your dough is now ready to bake. Place the bread into a preheated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the focaccia turns golden brown on top. In some cases, it may only need 15-20 minutes of baking. So keep an eye on it the first time you make this. Check the bread at the last 10-minute mark. If it's not as brown as you might want, you can raise the temperature up to 450 F. for the last 10 minutes of baking. On the other hand, if the top is getting too brown, you can cover the dish with a loose piece of foil. Much of this will depend on what you top your bread with.
    Unbaked Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread dough, ready to go into the oven.
  • Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before slicing and serving. Enjoy it warm or at room temperature as a delicious accompaniment to soups, salads or as a standalone snack.
    A just baked loaf of Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread cooling on a cutting board.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1entire recipe | Calories: 1081kcal | Carbohydrates: 180g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 2350mg | Potassium: 905mg | Fiber: 27g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 22IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 9mg

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I'm Tiffany, a writer for MSN and the AP Newswire, a cookbook author, digital publisher, food lover, and mom. I create healthy, clean eating recipes for everyday living.

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