Sourdough Focaccia with Black Tahini is my bread of the week. Incredibly aromatic due to the black tahini, lending a subtle sesame flavour and the olive oil, giving a lovely crunchy crust and soft crumb.
The Sourdough adds rise and a nice tang, while the wholewheat contributes its characteristic nuttiness. The toppings are your choice. I love it classic with Rosemary and garlic, adding sumac for a pleasant acidity and black sesame, hinting to the black Tahini inside.
Why You Want To Make This
Personally, I find most purely white breads a bit disappointing in flavour these days, but going fully wholewheat often leads to very dense, often dry results. So, I’m aiming for a good compromise here, that gives both flavour of wholewheat and soft structure of white.
The sourdough adds digestibility, nutrients, and gut friendly bacteria, making this Sourdough Focaccia with Black Tahini a really healthy treat. If you can’t find black Tahini, use white. The black one is a bit more intense in flavour and has more nutrients, as it still has the hull.
Now, I know this looks like a lot of olive oil, but apart from being a pretty healthy oil, it’s distributed through a whole sheet pan of bread. And it gives this bread the stunningly crisp crust we love. Plus of course a lot of flavour, so use a good quality extra virgin one here.
And while many people seem to think sourdough is a lot of work, I found the opposite is true for me. Sure, I feed the starter the evening before I want to start the bread. But it all gives me time to plan and have my bread exactly the day and time I want it, as I can let it stand a lot longer than purely yeast if I want to and it’ll just gain flavour.
Plus, sourdough is incredibly forgiving on the handling part. Trust me, no rituals, sacrifices, or demon summons needed, as the belief around it seems to suggest.
I based part of my recipe on Claire Saffitz fantastic Crispy Focaccia version, which explains incredibly well how the dough should look and how she bakes it, to get the best results. But I adapted mine with sourdough, wholewheat and black Tahini, while also adding two of my favourite “secret” ingredients, to give a better rise.
To speed things up a little and get a really fluffy dough, I did add some yeast, though the hard work is really done by the sourdough here, with a bit of kneading at the start and some stretch and fold in between.
In short: You mix all the wet ingredients, then all the dry, then, easiest in a stand mixer, knead for about 5 minutes, let it stand for 30minutes for the autolyse. Knead for 10 minutes more, to develop the gluten. Move into an oiled bowl and stretch and fold twice every 30 minutes.
If you read some of my other bread recipes (Like my German Sourdough Rye Beer Bread), you might notice a recurring theme here, as I use again my beloved Malt extract (you can substitute with honey but won’t get the malty hints) and Vitamin C powder (again, optional), as it will help with the rise. Since I use wholewheat, which generally would make a bread denser, I tend to add it to help with the structure and lightness. It also adds more crunch to the crust, basically the whole point of this bread.
The one important equipment part here is a standard half-sheet pan (18×13 inches), as it fits the dough exactly and you want it just that thickness and filling said pan.
Be generous with the olive oil when covering the pan, so the dough won’t stick and develops the crispy crust underneath.
This sheet comes into play after the second stretch and fold, when you pour more olive oil into it (make sure it’s well covered), then gently stretch the dough into it. It won’t get into all the corners yet. Cover with oiled clingfilm for another 30 minutes or so, then stretch into the corners. Cover again, put into the fridge overnight, so the fantastic sourdough can do its work and develop all the flavour. 2h before baking, take it out and let it come to room temperature.
Add the classic dimples by pushing your fingers (oiled) into the dough. Then sprinkle with whatever topping you desire. Cherry tomatoes are fantastic too! Or Grapes!
For best results, bake 20-25min on the lower rack, turn after about 10 minutes, then for the last 5 minutes on the highest rack of your oven. Possible turn after 2, but take a peek first, to see if the browning is even.
And here you have it: Your perfectly deep golden brown Sourdough Focaccia with Black Tahini and Wholewheat.
You can plan this bread very easily by feeding your sourdough 2 days before you want to eat it, preparing the dough during the second day, then leaving it in the fridge until about 2h before you want to make it, to let it come to room temperature and give it a final rise before baking it.
The bakes bread will freeze well and also keep in an airtight container for a few days. I love to sprinkle it with a bit of water and then re-heat in the oven or, even better, the air fryer for a few minutes, to crisp up again. Due to the toppings, I wouldn’t necessarily put it in the toaster, as I’d rather not risk burning herbs.
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?
If you enjoyed this recipe, please share. It helps me a lot. 🙂
Sourdough Focaccia with Black Tahini and Wholewheat
- Standard half-sheet pan (18x13 inches)
- 1.5 cups active sourdough starter
- 2.5 cups lukewarm water
- 4 cups white bread flour
- 2 cups wholewheat bread flour
- 1/2 cup olive oil plus extra for the pan and the top of the focaccia
- 3 tbsp black tahini
- 2 tbsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp malt extract optional
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 tsp vitamin C powder optional
- For sprinkling: flaky salt rosemary, sumac, garlic, black sesame
- Combine the active sourdough starter, lukewarm water, malt extract (or honey), Vitamin C (if using) olive oil, black tahini, and instant yeast. Mix well until everything is well combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the white bread flour, wholewheat bread flour, Kosher salt, and malt extract (if using). Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients while mixing. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.
- Knead the dough in the stand mixer for about 5 minutes until it becomes smoother. Slowly add the olive oil, to allow the dough to absorb it, until you have a very soft dough that will fall off the hook when you lift it out of the bowl. It will be very soft and relatively sticky.
- Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes for an autolyse phase to begin.
- Knead the dough for an additional 10 minutes in the stand mixer to develop gluten. The dough should become more elastic and less sticky.
- Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl. Perform two stretch and fold sessions, with oiled hands, spaced 30 minutes apart. To do this, gently stretch one side of the dough and fold it over the center, then repeat with the other three sides.
- Use a standard half-sheet pan (18x13 inches) and generously coat it with olive oil to prevent sticking and to develop a crispy crust underneath.
- After the second stretch and fold session, transfer the dough into the pan and gently it towards the corners. It won't fill all the corners yet. Cover the pan with oiled clingfilm and let it rest for another 30 minutes.
- After the resting period, gently stretch the dough into the corners of the pan. Cover it again with oiled clingfilm.
- Place the pan in the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight. This allows the sourdough to develop its unique flavour and the dough to rise to the top of the sheet pan.
- About 2 hours before baking, remove the pan from the refrigerator and let the dough come to room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (232°C). Once the dough is at room temperature, use oiled fingers to create classic dimples in the dough. These dimples will hold your chosen toppings.
- Sprinkle your preferred toppings, such as flaky salt, rosemary, sumac, garlic, and black sesame, evenly over the dough. Cherry tomatoes or grapes can also be added for extra flavour.
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes on the lower rack, then 5 minutes more on the top rack, or until the focaccia is golden brown and crispy on the edges.
- Allow the focaccia to cool slightly before slicing and serving
Calories: Approximately 250-280
Fat: Approximately 10-12 grams
Protein: Approximately 6-8 grams
Carbohydrates: Approximately 35-40 grams
Sugar: Approximately 0-1 gram