If you have a fear of working with yeast, you’ve just found your ideal first project. Consider it the training wheels of bread making, it really doesn’t get any easier than this. There’s nothing fancy about it, just a good hearty, quick bread to go with soups, stews, or pastas, and there is almost no work involved. I use my stand mixer, but since you don’t knead this dough, and it’s super soft, you can use a wooden spoon if you want to.
Normally I spread my focaccia dough out on a baking sheet in one big rectangle, but today I divided it into two skillets. The nuts brown up in the oven, and if you aren’t familiar with toasted pine nuts, you’re in for a treat. The only other flavor is the fruity extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.
The distinguishing characteristic of focaccia bread is its dimpled surface, made by dipping your fingers in olive oil and poking them all over the surface of the risen dough. The oil pools in the dimples and bakes into the bread. Whole wheat gives this particular focaccia a little more chewy whole grain texture. It’s best eaten warm right from the oven.
What You Will Need
- 2 cups warm water (110F)
- 2 tsp dry yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cup whole wheat flour
- olive oil
- 1 cup pine nuts
- Set oven to 400F
- Pour the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a regular bowl if you want to beat it yourself. Add the yeast, salt and two cups of all purpose flour. Mix until a sticky dough forms.
- Add the whole wheat flour and mix until the dough comes together. It will still be sticky.
- Cover with plastic wrap and set the dough in a warm place for 45 minutes.
- Coat two cast iron skillets liberally with olive oil, including the sides. Take half the dough and press out into each pan, nudging the dough with your fingers to fit the surface of the pan.
- Dip your fingers in olive oil and dot the entire surface with oil. Be generous.
- Sprinkle with pine nuts, and then with sea salt.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and lightly browned. Watch carefully towards the end so the pine nuts don't burn.
- Cut in the pan or lift out for cutting.
Tips for success ~
- Your water must be between 110-115F or the yeast will not become active and the bread will not rise. Use an instant read thermometer.
- Liberally oil your skillet before putting the dough in. Don’t forget the sides.
- Don’t be shy with the olive oil. Dip your fingers in the oil and then poke lots of little holes all over the dough and let the oil pool in the dimples. The oil will give the finished bread lots of flavor.
- Make sure your oven is at temperature before baking.
- Watch carefully toward the end of baking to make sure the pine nuts don’t burn. They can go from golden brown to burnt in a short time.
Enjoy the weekend!