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.
Recipe by BakeNQuilt at