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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes one 13x18-inch focaccia

Here’s a fresh use for your idling sourdough starter. Decorating this festive focaccia can be a fun activity for the whole family. Feel free to get creative with the selection and placement of your toppings. I used the following herbs and veggies to create the floral effect, first placing the stems, then the flowers, then the soil and grass:

STEMS Parsley sprigs, scallions (green parts only), asparagus, fresh green peppercorns 

FLOWERS Small bell peppers (any color), cherry tomatoes, small red onions, zucchini and/or yellow squash (cut into star shapes), pickled jalapeño chiles

SOIL, GRASS, AND MISC. FILLERS Capers, olives, okra, sliced jalapeño chiles, king oyster mushroom, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, chopped scallions, corn, enoki mushrooms

Before baking:

Focaccia before baking

After baking:

after baking focaccia

Festive Oil-Free Sourdough Focaccia Bread - An 8x13 focaccia decorated with herbs and vegetables to make a springtime landscape


  • 1 cup fed sourdough starter or discard
  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons Date Paste
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup potato flour
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
  • ⅓ cup brown rice flour (for dusting)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • Assorted fresh herbs and veggies (see recipe intro for suggestions)


  1. To make the sponge: In a stand mixer or a food processor fitted with a dough blade, combine the sourdough starter, tahini, date paste, and 1 cup warm water.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flours, the nutritional yeast, salt, instant yeast, and black pepper. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the sponge. Add 1 cup of the milk. Mix or process to form a smooth dough.
  4. Transfer dough to a bowl; cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let sit for 1 hour.
  5. Transfer dough to a clean surface liberally dusted with brown rice flour. Fold dough a few times; return to bowl. Cover again and let rise for 1 hour more.
  6. Line a 13x18-inch sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Dust liberally with brown rice flour, especially the edges and corners. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet and gently stretch dough to cover the whole sheet. (If dough doesn’t stretch easily, let it rest 10 minutes then try again.)
  7. Cover the sheet with clean towel and let stand for 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 400°F. Uncover the sheet and poke dough with a wooden skewer to form dimples throughout.
  9. In a small bowl combine the remaining ½ cup milk and the garlic; whisk to combine. Brush mixture over dough surface.
  10. Arrange your chosen toppings in any pattern you wish. (See recipe intro for tips.)
  11. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  12. Remove from heat; let cool about 10 minutes. With the help of a large spatula, separate the focaccia from mat and pan and transfer to a large cutting board. Slice into rectangles for serving.

Comments (4)

(5 from 3 votes)
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Bev L.4 weeks ago
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Tried to print the recipe but the site for it was blank. I’ll try copy/paste into a word program and print it from there.

Sarah Lenhart7 months ago
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King Arthur Flour sells a sourdough starter. A couple years ago, I had success witb it. Good instructions and a few recipes come with it plus lots of help on their website.

tim holderness9 months ago
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we did it, we really did it. and by the way, we bought one of these online, premade and it cost about $30. point being this was way cheaper and honestly I liked ours better. great recipe 🙂

vicki rotari8 months ago
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Where does one find sourdough starter? (Barring taking a week to make one from scratch which has a high risk failure rate).
Congratulations on making it!

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about the author

Darshana Thacker

Darshana Thacker is chef and culinary project manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit for more.

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