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Back to School Focaccia Bread

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

Getting everyone and everything ready for the "back to school madness" can be daunting.

My boys have already been back to school for 3 weeks and I am feeling the full effects of being back into a routine, filling out forms and writing out all of the checks... Some things never change.

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

However, there is one thing that has to change and that is adding a variety of options to my boys school lunches. When we lived in Japan, I used to make little Bento lunches with little onigiri, cute little eggs dressed up like cartoon characters and even fruit on skewers.

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

However, now that my boys are older and I think they might even get beat up if they try to bring in a little kiddie bento box to school. Sandwiches are a good option but the plain old "Garden Bread" from the Parknshop or from the bakeries in Hong Kong is sweet and is not what I would refer to as proper hearty bread. This calls for a quick divine lunch box intervention.

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

Whole wheat focaccia bread topped with olive oil, fresh basil, rosemary, garlic, sea salt, parmesan cheese and even olives is the perfect bread to make delicious grilled sandwiches in your indoor electric grill. The little dimples on the bread make the perfect little crevasse to hold all of the flavours and toppings. When you sink your teeth into this bread you can feel the little crispness on the outside and the chewy inside and the flavors of the toppings.

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

Last year we bought an off brand indoor electric grill that came with 3 different exchangeable plates. One is for making waffles, one flat-iron and our favorite the grill plate. This whole wheat focaccia recipe by Marta Rose Shulman from the New York Times is brilliant. I think it has the perfect mix of whole wheat to white flour ratio and it makes a slightly thicker focaccia bread which is perfect for making grilled sandwiches. I added some Herbs de Provence directly into the bread mix. This whole wheat focaccia bread is flavourful, not just on the top, but through and through.

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

In the morning before school, I slice the focaccia bread lengthwise in half and add some of their favorite fillings like grilled chicken, or ham and cheese and place in the indoor grill plate for about 2 minutes. The sandwich has beautiful grill marks, the cheese is melted and it is toasty hot. I wrap the sandwiches in aluminium foil and send the lunches off with some fruit, sliced veggies and the boys are good to go.

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

I don't know if the sandwiches actually make it all the way until lunch time before they are devoured, but I know they must love them all that comes back him is an empty lunch sack with a ball of aluminium foil. These little toasted sandwiches are very similar to a panini.

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

In addition to this whole wheat focaccia bread being the perfect size for making grilled sandwiches, it is also delicious straight out of the oven. This whole wheat focaccia bread is a perfect accompaniment to so many different dishes such as salads, Italian dishes, and soups. My youngest boy has already brought home the first cold of the year. I told him to stop kissing all those cute little girls in his class but he must have not listened, so I made a big pot of my http://bamskitchen.com/dietary-restrictions/glutenfree/bams-chicken-and-rice-soup-cures-what-ails-you/ to go along with this delicious focaccia.

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

I made the bread and split into different flavored areas. My boys love the olive oil, sea salt and fresh basil toppings. Mr. Anonymous loves Mediterranean flavours so made a little mini area on the focaccia with some delicious olives and garlic for him to taste as well.

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

This recipe will not be hitting the diabetic friendly section in Bam's Kitchen Archives. You will need to keep this one hidden from plain view, so I want to let you know that this bread also freezes very well. If you happen to have any leftover bread, this whole wheat focaccia makes fantastic croutons. I cut mine up very thin and then brushed with a little olive oil and garlic and then baked for about 8-10 minutes for a delightful topping to any salad or soup.

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

I love dipping my bread into herbed olive oil.  In a small bowl or plate, pour a little olive oil to cover the bottom, chop up some fresh herbs (like rosemary) or throw in a little herbs de Provence, fresh grated pepper and grated parmesan cheese and dip in your bread. I promise you will forget all about that boring butter.

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Back to School Focaccia Bread

By HWC Magazine  

September 4, 2013

Whole wheat focaccia bread topped with olive oil, fresh basil, rosemary, garlic, sea salt, parmesan cheese and even olives is the perfect bread to make delicious grilled sandwiches in your indoor electric grill.

  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Yields: 8 Adults or 1 Hungry Teenager

Ingredients

yeast - 1 package dry ( about 2 1/4 teaspoons)

sugar - 1 teaspoon

water - 1.5 cups warm (about 95-110 degrees F)

olive oil - 2 tablespoons

whole wheat flour - 2 cups

white flour - 1 and 3/4 cups flour -all purpose unbleached (and a little extra for kneading)

salt - 1 and 3/4 teaspoons

herbs de Provence - 1 tablespoon

Toppings

olive oil - 2 tablespoons

sea salt - to taste to sprinkle on top

basil leaves - handful of fresh leaves ( or rosemary, thyme, roasted garlic or any herbs your little heart desires)-optional

olives - kalmata, green with pimentos, or whatever you have on hand-optional

parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup grated-optional

Directions

1In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water. Wait for a bout 5 minutes until the yeast has time to start bubbling away. In a large bowl, combine the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt and Herbs de Provence and mix together. Add olive oil to the flour mixture and slowly add the yeast mixture into the flour mixture a little at a time until the dough comes together. I do not have one of those fancy dough mixers so just used a fork and then my hands to get the dough to come together and it worked just fine.  The dough should eventually form a ball and it will be slightly sticky. If too sticky add a little more all purpose white flour. The dough should not be stiff.

2Knead the dough on a floured surface for just about a minute and shape it into a ball. Clean, dry and grease  your bowl and put the dough ball into the bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap for about 1.5-2 hours until doubled in size. (Bread loves to rise in a warm place so I usually turn on my oven and get it to temperature (about 190 degrees Celsius and then crack open the oven just a tad and turn off the oven, your bread might rise a little faster this way)

3Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).

4Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with olive oil. Place the dough ball in the centre of the baking pan and press it out with your fingers until you shape it into a rectangle. Give it some time, because of the gluten in the bread, it wants to constrict. Slowly press down and out and eventually the dough will relax enough and take the shape of the pan. (My boys loved helping out with this part of the bread making process as it is quite fun and they love working dough with their hands) Cover with a damp tea cloth and let rest for 30 minutes.

5Now comes the fun part. Lather your hands with extra olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and rub over the top of the bread. Now using the tip of your fingers press down firmly and dimple the bread so that you get all those lovely nooks and crannies in the bread. Use your favourite toppings such as sea salt, fresh herbs such as basil, olives, parmesan cheese and sprinkle on top of your bread. (As my teenagers as not entirely fond of olives, I made little sections with different toppings to suit the likes of each of my picky teenagers.)

6Bake for about 25 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Serve warm with your favourite meals. Or you can allow the bread to cool completely and cut into large squares and then slice down through the centre of the bread and fill you with your favourite sandwich fixings and make yourself or your kids a great panini sandwich for their school lunches.

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  • Anne ~ Uni Homemaker

    I adore focaccia bread! Love the idea of using green olives with pimento. Delicious! Great recipe Bobbi!

  • Oh it looks very good!
    I too bet your bento boxes looked wonderful 🙂

  • Jo (http://blog-diggidy.com)

    Mmmmm… Sounds delightful BAM! We are just on day 2 of ‘back to school’. We had BLT’s last night for dinner… I bet they would be good on this!!! Blessings… xo

  • This has to be the best focaccia I have seen! Delicious.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  • abby

    i love this foccacia bread! when my son goes to bed I think i will give this a go and try it out that way i can bring it for lunch tomorrow !

  • I’m with you on liking to dip bread into oil (and better yet with herbs). So nice. And this bread looks terrific! We’re making almost all of our own bread these days, but haven’t yet made focaccia. We need to! And with this recipe – it looks great. Thanks so much.

  • Mmmmm the focaccia bread looks delicious Bobbi! Your boys are so lucky to be able to bring such gourmet sandwiches to school! I usually only have plain sandwich bread with strawberry jam… I so wish I’m your neighbour right now so I can bring the sandwiches to work!

  • ivd

    It looks very yummy and healthy too…I am going to bake that definately..! thanx for all good stuff you are sharing with us Bam! be blessed

  • I am so impressed – this looks amazing!! Back to school today, I wish I was home making this instead of at work!!

  • Love that you used wheat flour!

  • I love love love Focaccia Bread! Yours are so wonderful with all the herbs and olive on top. I say these are perfect for back to school. 🙂 I’ve gotta remember to top mine with olives next time as my Little Girl loves olives! Thanks for sharing.

  • I will take the section with the sliced olives and garlic, please.

  • Focaccia bread is one of my favorites, but I’ve never made it. Thank you for the recipe and I love the whole wheat flour 🙂

  • Dipping Focaccia bread in olive oil sounds like a great idea. I will definitely try that next time. Looks delicious. Have a wonderful week, Bobbi! 🙂

  • Fae

    A beautiful bread! I love all the toppings baked on. Yum!

  • I like the one hungry teenager qualifier! 😀 I could still eat that entire delish focaccia in one go, it looks so good!

  • Dawn @ Words Of Deliciousness

    This focaccia bread looks amazing. The toppings look great on this bread.

  • I love foccacia! This sounds great!

  • Yum! Your boys are so lucky to have this for lunch! Looks delicious!

  • What a great idea to make different flavours for everyone 🙂

  • This looks like a wonderful focaccia, BAM, and the toppings are great. I bet your boys love their panini. Who wouldn’t? One of my favorite uses for leftover focaccia is to make sandwiches with it. You really can’t go wrong.
    Buona notte!

  • I need this delicious focaccia for school but I suppose I will have to eat it home since school is ending forever in 2 weeks 😀
    YUM!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  • I love the color to it and I cant; wait to make it for a weeknight meal

  • This whole wheat foccacia looks really good… a healthy bread for the family.

  • What a great and delicious lunch idea! I’d easily make this for dinner too. The croutons sound perfect for fall soups too. Bummer about the first school cold. I know we’re bound for that soon too.

  • peachkins

    We love focaccia bread over here too! This looks so flavorful, Bam!

    Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen

  • The close ups of your bread are making me drool! Love the texture you showed inside…makes me wanna go back to school so I can have this waiting for me when I come home!

  • Looks delicious! I can imagine how great this is when the bread is warm and dipped with the herbed olive oil.

  • hotlyspiced

    That’s a lovely looking focaccia. I love the olives on the top. I always find it a struggle working out what to put in a lunch box. Every Friday I let my little guy have a lunch order – that gives me one day off per week! xx

  • Oh goodness, that is one good looking focaccia! I need this in my life, definitely pinning! Thanks for sharing!

  • Oh wow! Love the way your dig your fingers into the pastry……… looks like fun! Those shots are making me hungry!

  • Awwwww, bento lunches are the best! How long did you live in Japan ^_^? The foccacia bread looks so gooooood, and perfect for grilled sandwiches or on its own with hummus or any kinds of bean dip!

    • Bams Kitchen

      Thank you for stopping by. We lived in Japan for only one year before the Tsunami, however I miss Yokohama, my dear friends and the culture. Our family quickly adapted to our new way of life in Japan and that meant getting up extra early to compete with all the other Japanese moms on making the coolest bento box lunches for school. Take Care, BAM

  • Unbelievable – do I have to go to school to have some of this? You really had me with all of the wonderful toppings but now you’re killing me with that last picture of the dipping! I didn’t kiss your son but I caught my first cold of the season too. Soup and some of this focaccia bread would certainly make me feel better.

  • Thanks for stopping by blog! I look forward to reading more of your posts! Plus, did you live in Hong Kong- that’s amazing?! Have a great weekend!

  • Your lunchbox intervention is just spot on! I might go back to school… no, not a chance there, lol! I’m grilling a lot indoors and need to try pizza. But focaccia is my first love, and this one is gorgeous!

  • I’d love my sandwich on your lovely focaccia! Lucky boys!

  • BAM, what a great idea. I once bagged up snacks for the class and sent them off with my kids on the first day of school. It was apple inspired so pleased the teacher as well. They were all excited when they came home. Grade school, naturally, in high school they’d have been horrified to have been found standing next to their parents. I will try this. We eat a lot of focaccia.

  • Love them freshly baked dipped in olive oil. Mmmmmm

  • Bams Kitchen

    Looking forward to keeping in touch with you and all of your travels and culinary experiences. We currently live in Hong Kong and have for several years, so if your travels take you to Asia again please give me a jingle. Take Care, BAM

  • Wow, I love that bread, Bobbi! All of my favourite ingredients together – perfect. I’m guessing those boys are the envy of their classmates with a lunch like that.
    Hope you’re having a great weekend.

  • This week I’m trying NOT to eat carbs (for the first time). And all the sudden I’m not too sure about my goal looking at this delicious foccacia bread. 😉 I am such a carb lover, this is irresistible!

  • Nothing beats like homemade bread! I love your foccacia…looks so perfect with those dimples and topped with olive oil, rosemary and olives. Your kids would have been so happy seeing this wonderful, home-baked bread!
    http://www.cosmopolitancurrymania.com

  • Mm, fall food. I love dipping in a good olive oil too.

  • mmmmm! Bobbi! Nice!

  • This looks so,so good!
    Wonderful way to celebrate back to school, and the olive oil dip is such a great idea,so Mediteranian.

  • This old school fokkasia(this is how we called foccaccia in Indonesia) is always win my hearth..
    a little drizzle of truffle oil would make it tasty even more Bam, this is my kinda secret tricks….

  • I love, love love the looks of your focaccia and am wanting to make this myself soon. Wish I had some right now!

  • This looks the prettiest focaccia.

  • Love the sound of this whole wheat foccacia! Sounds like a good and healthy option! I am quite sure your boys lap the sandwiches up even before lunch time! They sound really delicious! I can eat them everyday with olive oil and a touch of sea salt!

  • I love that because you are making it you can make it whole wheat – I love the look of it and can only imagine how delicious that would taste !

  • Ugh your description of this sounds SO GOOD. And you are so fancy with your fancy olive oil dipping sauce!! I hope your boys are having a great time back in school! Let me tell you–I would have been SO excited if my mom baked me fresh bread while I was in school 🙂

  • A terrific focaccia.

  • I love speciality breads – especially when you have something to dip it in! Yummy!!

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