This post explains how to make Italian Focaccia using a sourdough. My wife is an excellent baker with long experience and her sourdough Focaccia is fabulous. This Focaccia sourdough bread recipe creates a slightly more elastic break with a rich flavour.
Focaccia is originally not a sourdough bread but is baked on standard yeast, white flour, olive oil, sea salt, and herbs like rosemary or thyme. Toppings are often cherry tomatoes, basil, cheese, onion, or garlic. This sourdough focaccia recipe is also great for making pizza.
You can make sourdough versions of any bread. To convert a standard bread recipe to a sourdough recipe, try replacing one packet of yeast (or a tablespoon = 6 grams) with less than a cup (around 100-150 gr.) of active sourdough starter. With sourdough starters, there’s usually no need to be too picky about amounts.
How to make Focaccia sourdough bread
Step one: The rise and fall of the sourdough starter
Take the sourdough starter out from the fridge the day before you will bake. Feed it that evening. The next day, the starter should have increased in size, and you should see bubbles.
If you haven’t used the starter for some time, then you might need to take it out from the fridge two days before and feed it once a day for two days. On the third day it will be ready.
How much do you feed the starter? Try adding around 30-50% of the total weight of the starter. So, if you have an 800-gram starter in a jar, add 200-400 grams of flour and enough water so that the starter looks like porridge.
Feeding the starter:
- Mix the flour and water thoroughly with the starter.
- Leave the starter at room temperature overnight.
- The next day, your starter will have risen, and it will eventually collapse on itself; that’s a good sign that it has reached its peak.
- If you will bake only in the evening on the next day, it might be good to feed it just a little also in the morning; 2 table spoons is enough.
Step two: Prepare the sourdough
The Focaccia sourdough needs to be wet and very loose, so be careful when adding flour.
- Use around 150-200 grams of the starter
- 500 grams flour
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1.5-2 teaspoons sea salt
- Mix half of the flour and water in a bowl. The water should be just above room temperature. Stir thoroughly.
- Add the sourdough starter, honey, olive oil, and sea salt. Stir thoroughly. Slowly add more flour until the dough sticks together but is still quite wet.
- If you use a machine to knead, then knead for 5 minutes. Continue by hand until the dough can be stretched really thin. The stretch and fold technique is a gentle process to develop the sourdough and make it lean without lumps. When stretch and folding, pay attention to the dough. After a few minutes, the dough should get smoother and firmer.
- Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel and leave for 2-3 hours to ferment, longer if your room temperature is low. I sometimes let the dough ferment much longer (10-24 hours) to create more taste.
Step three: Bake Focaccia bread
Preheat the oven to 220-230C/450F. Bake on baking paper for 10-20 minutes or until a good crust has formed and the color is light brown.
Some put a few ice cubes or cold water into a baking tin and place it in the bottom of the oven to create steam. I usually don’t do this.
The Focaccia below turned out very nice. This sourdough bread recipe creates a bread that is fairly light and slightly elastic. It can be stored in the freezer and it’s great to toast.