Bread is one of the most wonderful accompaniments for a hot dish, and the still warm-out-of-the-oven focaccia with it’s oily exterior and salty crunch is just one of the best ones. It’s a true crowd pleaser. This is my recipe for sourdough focaccia.
Focaccia has been baked for thousands of years and are still one of the most popular tablebreads coming out of western Europe. It’s very easy to make, and today I am going to show you how you can make a super simple one, using sourdough starter instead of yeast.
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The origins and history of focaccia
Focaccia has a long and illustrious history dating all the way back to ancient Rome with a bread called panis focacius, meaning something along the lines of bread from the hearth.
The bread was prepared on the hearth on a hot fire, on a heated tile. The basic recipes for the bread is meant to have come from the Etruscans, who were a civilization that resided in the northern Italian peninsula from about 900 BCE to 90 BCE where they joined the Roman empire.
Variations of focaccia
There are countless versions of focaccia. From the hard and crunchy focaccia di Camogli to the focaccia col formaggio that is two thin pieces of dough with a Stracchino cheese in between.
There are even one that is almost cake-like, called focaccia dolce that is sprinkled with sugar, raisins and honey, and maybe more sweet ingredients.
Variations of toppings
The most common modern preparation of focaccia is called focaccia al rosmarino, which is a focaccia topped with salt and sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary.
Other variations may include garlic, basil or sage. The last one is called focaccia alla salvia.
The formula in this sourdough focaccia recipe
|Total weight||1515 grams|
|Yield||1 delicious focaccia|
This dough does not use a levain, but you will need to use an active sourdough starter. If you don’t have one you can follow my simple guide to make your own.
Although most bread is made using bread flour for the added support of the extra gluten in that flour, when you want to achieve a softer crust and crumb, you need a lower protein flour.
That’s why this bread is made with 70% all-purpose flour and 30% bread flour.
A bit of olive oil is also added to the dough to soften the crumb.
The hydration is 80% which also makes for a crumb that’s more moist and a bread that will stay fresh longer.
|143g||starter (100% hydration)||19.0%|
As always, if you want to play around with the formula or tweak it you can do it here in my Bread Calculator.
If you use a different pan size, you can rescale the recipe to the measurements of your pan right here. Just type the numbers and tab out and it will be calculated automatically. Also a rescaled formula will be available.
The conclusion of this sourdough focaccia recipe
Over the years I’ve made many focaccia breads for many dinners. They were always made with yeast though, because that was the way I was taught to prepare breads.
This one with sourdough is just so much more delicious, flavorful and moist. The only difference from the yeasted one is that it takes a bit longer to prepare, but this is not an all day bread by any means.
The crust is soft and wonderfully caramelized. Dotted with delicious cherry tomatoes and gorgeous katamala olives. Full of crunchy Maldon salt.
The crumb is soft as a pillow, full of both tiny and large fermentation bubbles. Great for tearing off a piece and stuffing it in your mouth.
Please share this sourdough focaccia recipe on social media
This is my recipe for sourdough focaccia. If you like the recipe please consider sharing it with like minded bakers on social media.
If you make it and post it on Instagram, please tag me as @foodgeek.dk so I can see it. That would make me very happy.
Ad links! The links in the recipe for ingredients or tools are affiliate links, which means that I get commission if you purchase the product!
- 528 g all-purpose flour
- 226 g bread flour
- 589 g water 539g for initial mix, 50g later
- 14 g salt
- 143 g sourdough starter 100% hydration
- 15 g olive oil
- fresh rosemary
- olive oil
- Maldon salt
- kalamata olives
- cherry tomatoes
- To a bowl add 528g of all-purpose flour, 226g of bread flour and 14g of salt. Mix with your fingers to combine.
- Add 143g of mature sourdough starter (meaning it have been fed within the last 12 hours) on top and pour 539g of water in.
- Mix with your hands until it comes together. Then start folding to dough in over itself then turn the bowl a little bit and repeat.
- When you have a cohesive dough, gauge it. If it's very wet and soupy don't mix in the rest of the water. If it looks like it can take more, put in as much as you think the dough can take.
- Once you're done with that you should start to see the first signs of gluten development.
- Add 15g of good olive oil on top and fold that in.
- Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes under a damp dish towel.
- Now it's time to do three sets of stretch and folds spaced out by 30 minutes.
- If you don't know how to do stretch and folds, have a look how I do it in the companion video.
- Grab your roasting pan and smear it with olive oil.
- After you finish the last set of stretch and folds add the dough to the roasting pan. Press the dough out into the corners and stretch it as far as it goes without tearing it.
- Put a damp towel over top and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
- Over the next hour do two more stretches to get dough as close to the corners you can.
- Then let the dough rest until it's properly fermented, being very bubbly and light. It took about two hours at around 21°C/70°F for me.
- When there's about half an hour left of fermentation turn your oven on to 230°C/450°F. I used fan assist.
Dimple and add toppings
- When the dough is good and fermented grab it and gather all your toppings.
- Dimple the dough with your fingers. Press all the way through down to the pan.
- Then splash one to two tablespoons of olive oil over the dough.
- Add all the toppings. Be sure to push bigger toppings into the dough, so they are seated and won't fall out after the bread is baked.
- Put the pan in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.
- If you oven heats unevenly make sure to invert the pan about half way through the bake.
- When the end of the bake is nearing keep an eye on the dough and take it out when it's sufficiently browned. If at the 30-minute mark isn't brown enough bake it for longer.
- Leave it to cool for a couple of minutes and the remove it from the pan and put on a wire rack.
- Serve right away or let it cool. It's all good.
I am crazy about food, cakes, snacks and everything in between. I love to do tons of experiments to find the best recipe, so that you don’t have to.