Sourdough focaccia was the scariest thing for me to make for a long time. It seemed very complex and time consuming. Every baker I know has baked it many times already and shared it on social with their audience. I was still putting it off for later.
But as soon as I started, I realized how easy the process of making sourdough focaccia was, and how delicious was the result I got.
My family loved it. Light as an air crumb with soft thin crust. What else can you wish for?
Sourdough starter (night before)
I always feed starter with 90% all purpose flour and 10% rye. Which makes it nice and strong.
Please note, summertime ratio for overnight feeding is higher (1:10:10) compared to wintertime (1:7:7), because of the temperature difference. Depending on the strength of the starter, you can change the ratio.
Learn how to make starter from scratch here.
Main Dough (next morning)
- 60g sourdough starter (20%)
- 300g bread flour (100%)
- 210g water (70%)
- 45g extra water will be added during mixing (bassinage)(15%)
- 9g olive oil (3%)
- 6g salt (2%)
- More olive oil for topping
- Herbs, sea salt and any toppings if your choice.
Starter preparation step
- 10 pm add starter to the water and whisk together, add flour, mix well, cover loosely, let sit at room temp 70-75F till next morning until it reaches the peak (10-12 hours), it should at least double (starter isn’t strong enough), or triple in size(strong starter).
Focaccia dough preparation steps
- 8 am mix water with flour, cover, let it rest 1 hour for autolyse (during the autolyse stage flour absorbs water, becoming fully hydrated. This activates gluten development).
- 9 am add sourdough starter. Mix on low speed of your mixing machine for 2-3 min, or KitchenAid on speed 3 for 5-6 min until well incorporated.
- 9.30 am add salt ,mix on low speed of your mixing machine for 2-3 min, or KitchenAid on speed 3 for 2-3 min until well incorporated. Add extra water little by little. Increase the speed of your mixing machine.
Note: The process of adding extra water is called bassinage, it helps to tighten up gluten. The dough has to come up together.
- At the end of mixing add olive oil. Mix until well incorporated. Total mixing time shouldn’t take longer then 10-15 minutes.
- Oil the container with olive oil, transfer the dough into the container, close the lid.
- Leave to rest 30 minutes at 74-78F /23-26C.
- 10:15 am wet your hands and perform 1st stretch and fold.
- 11:00 am 2nd stretch and fold.
- 11:45 am 3rd stretch and fold.
- 12.30 pm 4th stretch and fold.
- Performing stretches and folds will help to continue gluten development.
- After the final stretch let the dough rest for 15 minutes. You should see some bubbles on the surface, the dough has to become lighter. We are looking for 30%-40% rise.
- Close the lid, and put the container in the fridge for cold retard (12-48 hours).
Note: if for some reason the dough didn’t rise enough, add one more stretch and fold.
If the dough seems too proofed, you can shorten the time in between stretches and folds.
Focaccia shaping steps
- Remove the dough from the fridge.
- Find the baking tray you are going to use. Any iron pan or baking tray works. I was using the The Challenger bread pan.
- Cover the baking tray with parchment paper, generously sprinkle it with olive oil.
- Turn your container in to the oiled surface, spread the dough a little on your baking pan with oiled hands, be gentle.
- Cover and let it proof for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven 450F for 30 minutes.
- When the dough reached the room temperature, and seems puffy, oil your hands and sprinkle olive oil on top of the dough.
- Dimple the dough with your fingers, evenly space dimples all over the dough surface.
- Sprinkle with herbs and sea salt, add any toppings of your choice.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes uncovered and without steam until golden brown.
- Let it cool down for about 1 hour.
Enjoy your sourdough focaccia.