Van Dough Focaccia



Special Videos!

Watch Mystery Writer Diane Kelly and me make our own Van Dough Focaccia!

I made my version (see the video above) gluten free using Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread book. Check out the book here.


Van Dough Focaccia Bread Art is bread art for the eyes and for the stomach. 

I first came across this beautiful bread art on Instagram (follow me!). I was instantly captivated and I knew I needed to incorporate this into one of of my books. In Death Gone a-Rye, the 5th Bread Shop Mystery, Olaya, Ivy, and the Yeast of Eden gang have a booth at the school district’s Spring Fling. This focaccia is featured and it’s a show stopper. Scroll to the bottom of the recipe for information on the genius behind this bread art, the Vineyard Baker.




1 cup bread flour 

3/4 cup cool water 

1/4-teaspoon instant yeast 



Van Dough 

3 cups of bread flour  

1 ¼ cups of warm water  

½ teaspoons instant yeast 

1 ½  teaspoons of salt  

1 tablespoon E.V.Olive oil plus extra for dough shaping.  




Some suggested garnishes/ toppings: 

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*Olive oil  salt, pepper, garlic, parmesan cheese,  

*Little sweet peppers make great flowers 

*Olives provide black and purple color 

*Fresh Chives or scallions for stems, basil or parsley  

for leavesCapers, small grape tomatoes, red onion, nuts cooked beans and  seeds all add Beautiful color to your pallet. You are only limited to your imagination. Look at life through an edible lens. A walk in the woods, visit to a museum or just a walk threw the grocery store or farmer’s market Provide wonderful inspirations. 




Equipment you will Need: 

new image:Users:theresaculletto:Library:Containers:com.apple.mail:Data:Library:Mail Downloads:C21AB1E5-12DF-4986-889F-B00386507CFF:IMG_0090.jpgI would encourage you to make this dough by hand in order to get a full understanding of texture and process of making yeasted bread. For this you will only need: a large mixing bowl 

whisk, measuring utensils, bowl scraper or spatula, kitchen towel or plastic wrap for covering dough as it rises.  Other items are parchment paper, baking pan, a paring knife are used as part of the vegetable prep and baking processes. 


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Step 1: Preferment:  

Prepare a day ahead is best, however you could start this step a 3-4 hours before making the actual dough if you forgot. Mix 1 cup of bread flour with 3/4 cup of water and 1/4 a teaspoon of yeast, mix well, leave covered in a bowl or container at room temp overnight. This long fermentation process evokes the deep nutty sweetness of the grain and lends itself to better textures.  





Step 2 The “Van Dough: 

The Next day: 

Place 1cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of yeast in bowl mix to dissolve. Add all of your prefermented dough and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  “ Squish this up with your fingers , breaking apart the preferment in the water mixture until there are no large chunks, then add the 3 cups of bread flour and a 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. 

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