Sourdough Focaccia

  Sourdough Focaccia |

Sourdough Surprises challenged us this month to use our starters in homemade focaccia.  We love focaccia, so this was no hardship!  After all the holiday baking, it was nice to have something simple to make and low-sugar too.  We were provided with three recipes for inspiration and I chose to use the one by The Bojon Gourmet because it was quick and easy and also whole grain.   I topped my focaccia with stuffed green olives, whole garlic cloves and smoked Maldon sea salt.  I slightly over-baked it, but the bread was still nice and moist with a great texture.   As is often the case with fresh baked bread, we could have easily eaten the entire focaccia but we managed to show some restraint.  Although this recipe doesn’t really showcase the flavor of my starter, it will stay in my rotation for sure.

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Sourdough Surprises: Focaccia
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf
Whole wheat sourdough focaccia studded with olives and garlic cloves and finished with smoked salt.
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup flat, 1½ cups or more bubbly) liquid sourdough starter
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (4¼ oz.) whole wheat flour
  • 1¾ cups (8 oz.) all purpose or bread flour
  • 1¼ cups (10 oz.) water, lukewarm
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ¼ cup good olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, halved
  • ½ cup drained green olives
  • ¼ teaspoon or so smoked Maldon sea salt
  1. Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup of the water for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the starter, yeast mixture, remaining water and flours in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low a couple of minutes until combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then increase to speed 3 and beat for 8 minutes. The dough should be very wet and sticky, almost batter-like, but not liquid. Add more flour or water as you knead if the dough seems overly wet or dry.
  3. Sprinkle on the salt, and beat on 3 for another five minutes. The dough should still be sticky, but should pull away from the sides of the bowl while it's mixing. Leave the dough in the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise 1-2 hours until doubled or tripled in bulk.
  4. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Set a broiler pan on the bottom rack.
  5. Line a 9x13" pan with a sling of parchment paper (the paper should lay flat in the bottom with the long ends sticking out.) Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil all over the bottom and sides of the paper.
  6. With a plastic scraper, turn the dough over in the bowl a few times, tamping out some of the air bubbles, then blob it onto the center of the oiled parchment.
  7. Drizzle the remaining oil on top and use your fingers to dimple the dough outwards towards the sides and corners.
  8. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour, until it mostly fills in the pan, dimpling out the dough a few more times to fill in the corners. The olive oil will pool in the corners, so use a teaspoon to "baste" the top of the focaccia with that oil.
  9. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 500ºF.
  10. Sprinkle the olives and garlic cloves over the dough and gently press them partly into the dough, sprinkle with the smoked salt and give the dough a last dimpling.
  11. Fill a 1 cup measure with ice cubes. Quickly place the focaccia pan on the baking stone and toss the ice cube into the broiler pan underneath. Close the door and don't open it again for the next 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, rotate the focaccia, turn the oven down to 450ºF and bake for another 15 minutes or so, until golden on top. Set the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then lift the focaccia out of the pan and cool completely before serving.

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Sourdough Focaccia — 11 Comments

  1. I’m so annoyed. Every recipe I find for sourdough focaccia has conventional yeast in it as well!! For me, the whole point of wild yeast (good for us)is avoiding conventional yeast (not good for us!)

    • You can convert any yeasted recipe to sourdough leavening only by creating a sponge the day before. Take all of the liquid from the recipe, mix in the same weight in flour as the liquid and then stir in 2 Tbsp. of sourdough starter. Cover it and let it sit for 12 hours until it’s bubbly. Then continue on with the recipe, omitting the commercial yeast.

  2. Thank you so much for giving my recipe a go! Your version looks fantastic! I made this with commercial yeast so that it could be made with weak starter, but I’m glad to know how it can be converted to a fully sourdough bread. Cheers.

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