Wheat Belly Focaccia Bread

This recipe provides an unusually sturdy focaccia bread suitable for a variety of dishes. I used it to make a Reuben sandwich, for instance: a thick layer of corned beef topped with sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing sandwiched between two pieces of this focaccia bread. Delicious!

Shape this focaccia dough into whatever shape suits your recipes. I usually make two focaccias, each approximately three inches wide by six inches long and 1/2-3/4 inches deep, to use as the two bread slices to sandwich ingredients between. However, this recipe yields such an incredibly filling bread that the two slices can easily be cut in half to yield two very satisfying sandwiches to serve two.

Spread focaccia bread with pesto or mustard, lay smoked turkey, corned beef, pastrami, or other meat in between, some cheese, and you have a delicious and filling sandwich.

Ingredients:
2 cups almond meal
1 cup shredded mozzarella or other cheese
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1½ teaspoons dried rosemary
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, finely sliced
2 large eggs, separated
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin oil

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In food chopper or food processor, pulse shredded cheese until reduced to small granule-sized consistency, similar to couscous.

In medium bowl, combine almond meal, cheese, xanthan gum, baking soda, sea salt, rosemary, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, and sundried tomatoes and mix together. Set aside.

With electric mixer, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. Blend in egg yolks and 2 tablespoons olive oil at low speed. Pour egg mixture into almond meal mixture and mix together.

Divide dough in two and form into desired shape by hand. Smooth edges with knife or spoon. (You may need to place your knife or spoon under hot running water to help mold the dough.)

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and take blunt handle of spoon or other small rounded instrument and make small depressions in the surface every inch or so. Brush surface with remaining olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt on top. Return to oven additional 15 minutes.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Ruby Mathieu

    Do your recipes always cause weight loss? Since my husband had half of his stomach removed about 20 years ago, his stomach doesn’t absorb the nutrients he needs, so he has the symptoms you describe in your book. However, he should not lose any more weight. If he follows a gluten-free diet, will he lose weight anyway?
    We haven’t tried any of your recipes, but I would like to. I just don’t want to put him on a diet that would cause weight loss.

  2. Jen

    Hey Dr. Davis!! :)

    I’ve just started reading your book and am only on the first few pages of it but have been doing this lifestyle for almost 2 months now. My fiance has been telling me what he’s learned through reading your book since it will take me forever and a day to read it. But, I do have to admit, there are some things that I am unsure of yet that I have still been consuming.

    Anyway, I’ve been looking for a bread recipe to replace regular bread as I’ve been missing having a sandwich and I have been directed to this recipe. It looks delicious, although I do not know if I would like the sun dried tomatoes. I’ve never had them, but don’t like the smell of them. I DO, however, love regular tomatoes. Would there be a suitable substitution for those sun dried tomatoes?? :)

    Thank you!!! :)

    • Dr. Davis

      Just leave them out, Jen. The recipe does fine without them.

      In fact, if you are looking for just a simple flatbread recipe, leave out the sundried tomatoes and the olives and use whatever herbs/spices you like–or none. It is very flexible.

      • Jen

        Thank you Dr. Davis!!! :) I’m all good with the other spices and think they would definitely make the taste outstanding. I’ll be making this bread soon, hopefully early next week. I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out. :)

        Thank you once again. :)

  3. Lena

    Just like to say this recipe is great I divide my mixture into six roll into balls then flatten out. One is enough for me spread with butter great with my healthy soups Yummo!

  4. Jen

    Hey Dr. Davis!!!!! :)

    It’s me again!! ;) I went to look at Xanthan Gum at the only store I can get it in where I live only to discover that it is sooooooo expensive. It’s $17.99 for 250 grams!!! That seems a little outrageous to me. Now there was Guar Gum right beside it for $9.49 for 250 grams, just about half the price. Is Guar Gum a suitable substitution for the Xanthan Gum?? If not, I will splurge and get the Xanthan Gum since I really, really, really want “bread”. Hehehee!!! ;) Since we only need 1 teaspoon per batch, it will go a long way. Thank you in advance. :)

    • Dr. Davis

      Both will work, Jen, and both are very optional.

      Try either, see if you like the slight increase in sturdiness with it. If not, omit.

      I find it useful, however, to know how these polymers work as you learn how to dream up your own recipes in the new wheat-free frontier!

      • Jen

        Thank you once again!! :)

        I definitely need the sturdiness as I like building HUGE sandwiches. Tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms, spinach, cheese, pickles, sauteed onions, ham, turkey, beef. MMMMMM, ok, now I really need to make bread. ;)

  5. Miranda

    I’ve found that xanthan gum can be a problem for people with food sensitivities and lean towards guar gum mostly for that reason. The bacteria that creates xantham gum is often grown on a substrate of corn (problem for many people), and sometimes grown on wheat! Not a problem for most people but the really sensitive guts can have an issue with xanthan.

    I think the take home message from this wonderful blog (thank you Dr. Davis) is that we don’t have to “live without”…and to prove it, here are some wonderful recipes to create at home or use as a launching pad for your own gluten-free discovery!

    Psyllium husk is also worth playing with as a binder/thickener/gelatinizer…

  6. Louise

    Wow! Finally got around to making this on Satruday night. It exceeded my expectations! On Sunday morning at half eleven I toasted (half the recipe) and enjoyed it with three slices of bacon and some fried mushrooms. I was satisfied, but not uncomfortably full…and yet I didn’t think about food all day until I prepared dinner at 8pm, then sat down to eat with my partner and realised I wasn’t actually all that hungry! Definitely a good food to take on a mountain hike! :-)
    This recipe has added SO much to my eating experience (which was already pretty good!) :-)
    Thanks, Dr. Davis!

      • I concur–I got around to making this yesterday and was very pleased with the results! I even split one of the finished loaves in half, topped it with tomato sauce & mozzarella cheese and put it under the broiler for a few minutes. It made a pretty tasty pizza!

  7. Lynda

    Dr. Davis, I made this bread today and it turned out very good. I have been completely wheat free for going on 60 days and cannot wait to dig in tonight — Of course, now that I have started baking with almond flour ( I actually used 1 cup almond, 1 cup flax in this recipe today because I was almost out of the almond) I am coming across articles and blog posts that describe the “horrors” of baking with nut flours becuase of oxidization. Here is one such example of something I just read:

    ….Don’t heat your nuts. Never cook with nut meals. You are literally making varnish in your oven. After all, paint thinner is traditionally heated flaxseed oil. You get that wonderfully hard, wood-protective quality with paints and stains because the fats are so fragile, when they get heated they turn into something like a glass coating. Nut and seed oils are fantastic to finish cast iron with while things like animal fats and olive oil yield poor cast iron seasonings. Know why? Because the nut and seed oils oxidize and leave that non-stick, glass-like coating while the stable fats do not oxidize and result in a poor finish. That’s a reason to NOT consume those oils……

    Could you weigh in on this for me? Thanks so much!!

    • Dr. Davis

      I sense a bit of hyperbole, Lynda.

      This is actually true of nearly all foods. Some interpret this to mean that ALL food should be consumed raw, including meats. You can indeed to that, but I believe it is a small and reasonable compromise to heat some foods.

  8. Lynda

    Thank you for responding Doctor. I maybe should have added that the reason cited for not using nut flours is because they are (or are mostly?) comprised of polyunsaturated fats and so unstable when heated. Isn’t this the same reason cited for not cooking with any of the vegetable oils, including canola …because they are polyunsaturates? Thank you for any insight you can provide on this. I’m just trying to come to terms with all this, sometimes, conflicting information. One thing is sure, I feel confident in saying that I will never consume wheat again. I feel too darn good and what I always thought of as an “excessive” food addiction, virtually vanished overnight upon me stopping it. :)

  9. Linda

    WOW! This was soooooooooo good! I cant believe how great it tastes and how easy it is to make. I always have a frozen supply on hand. The other day I make open faced tuna melts and my husband was so excited, he thought he would never be able to have “white bread” again that tasted good. Thanks for the great recipes

    • Dr. Davis

      Wonderful, Linda!

      Yes, I’m quite proud of this simple recipe. I got a kick out of watching Kelly Ripa dive into one of them!

  10. Nicole

    I’m hoping someone could tell me why my bread didn’t rise. This is my first time makin bread so I’m sure I messed something up. I didn’t have cream of tartar but read online that I could use equal parts lemon juice. I also realized I didn’t wait for my egg whites to get stiff I just mixed in the oil and then realized I messed up. Is that why it didn’t rise? I molded the “dough” into logs and put them on a baking sheet. I didn’t see in the recipe/steps what everyone else cooked theirs in. They came out only slightly larger then the raw dough. They taste terrific but would only work for finger sandwiches lol. Any help/advice would be most appreciated. Thank you.

    • Dr. Davis

      Actually, Nicole, the flatbread was not designed to rise. It is meant to be, well, a flatbread!

      You can indeed make it raise, if you want, by whipping the egg whites until stiff.

      • Nicole

        I thought about that after I posted, probably not supposed to rise. I was just so sure I did something wrong lol. Thanks for responding!

        • Nicole

          One more question: I did the two loaves like u did, do u think I would need to change anything if I flattened the dough on a baking sheet and baked it that way? I’m thinking it would be easier to cut. Thanks!

  11. Crystal

    I tried making the wheat belly basic bread tonight for the first time, but the bread didn’t really rise that much. It taste’s pretty good and the consistency isn’t too bad, but it definitely is not big enough to make a sandwich with, or even to put in the toaster. Does anyone have any tips?

    • Dr. Davis

      Try doubling the recipe and using an 11 x 17 inch shallow baking pan.

      You didn’t try to make it into the shape of a loaf, did you? The recipe was meant to yield a flatbread, not a loaf bread.

      • Sandy

        Hi Dr. Davis,
        I think Crystal is talking about the “Basic Bread” recipe in your cookbook that calls for an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 bread pan. I was looking for tips on the same recipe.

        I am not adept with whipped egg whites. My whites fell the first time I made it, so it didn’t rise much. I seem to have a problem with folding when I use the food processor, the whites fall every time. I have better luck folding the old fashioned way, in a bowl with a spatula. I get a taller loaf this way.

        I learned on Maria Emmerich’s site that if you add a little xanthum gum or guar gum (or cream of tartar if you don’t have those) it stabilizes the whipped whites. Cooks Illustrated suggests that you mix a little of the whipped whites into the dough to lighten it up before you fold in the rest. Also fold very slowly with a large spatula, bringing it from the bottom up and slowly folding it into the center.
        Sandy

  12. Vicky

    I am allergic to certain nuts (pecans, walnuts and almonds) and wonder if there is a substitute for almond flour that I could use? Thanks for your help!

  13. Barb in NC

    I just took some freshly baked focaccia out of the oven. I like to make little individual loaves, and sprinkled these with sesame seeds. I took a picture (tomatoes in background will be tomato soup later on, among other things … yum). I took a picture, not sure we can post links here, but will try. I haven’t used photobucket in a while, and things have changed, I don’t remember which link is used for blogs, but will try the IMG – I guess if it’s not allowed here it won’t post?
    [IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v225/barbarak/Focaccia.jpg[/IMG]

    This bread is absolutely delicious, better than wheat bread in my opinion. Smells heavenly, has a nice crust, and clean up so much quicker, I always hated how wheat batter sticks to bowls, like glue, leaving flakes all over my sponge and sink. ;)

    • Darren

      Works great and looks great Barb!
      I must try some wheat-free alchemy… I used to love baking until I found out about wheat! so far, living it up with non baked goods =)

      • Barb in NC

        Thanks Darren, it doesn’t look like a link to me … but glad you could see it!

        And yes, do start baking, it’s so nice to have a little treat once in a while. I spend my weekends shopping and preparing food now, and enjoy it very much. I’m putting containers of food in the freezer for my rehab time right now, having knee replacement surgery soon, and will avoid all institutionally prepared foods if I can.

        Off to make some peanut butter cookies!

        • Darren

          I just copied the link (between the [IMG] )and pasted in my browser…took me straight to them!

          can’t wait for sunshine and fresh garden herbs to go in =)

  14. Barb in NC

    Might have used the wrong tag. One more try, and feel free to delete this if it doesn’t work.

  15. My first attempt was too salty and rich for me so I modified it, also using Daiya non-dairy cheese I cut the spices and seasonings in half (except for the salt) and eliminated sprinkling the salt on at the end.

    I can’t wait to have an open faced sandwich this afternoon!

    Also, I wasn’t sure about the sundried tomatoes…if they were supposed to be in oil or dry. I used some that I made in the dehydrator that were dry. I pulverized them in my magic bullet blender.

  16. Petra H Wooten

    Hi,
    Iwas wondering if this is gluten free as well and also was wondering about the baking soda,i always thought it was bad for you…

    • Dr. Davis

      It is gluten-free if the ingredients you use are gluten-free.

      And baking soda is just sodium hydroxide, a benign compound.

  17. Glen

    We made the recipe from the Wheat Belly cookbook, which is different from this recipe, but I really enjoyed it and will make it again.

  18. Mick

    I’m a little confused, why is this recipe so different from the one in the Wheat Belly Cookbook I just bought?

  19. Anyone know nutritional info for this recipe? I LOVE it and actually divide it into 3 flats. As much as I’m reducing my calorie/fat worry being wheat-free, old habits die hard.

    TIA.