Sourdough Focaccia

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Sourdough focaccia has the same golden crust as yeasted focaccia and the added sour notes from a long ferment with a sourdough starter. It’s tender and airy, and totally delicious.

I’ve been on a bit of a sourdough tear these past few months. I mean, you might be able to tell by all my sourdough recipes; sourdough pitas, sourdough cinnamon rolls, sourdough chocolate chip cookies, sourdough banana bread, etc…

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At this point, I’ve got sourdough starters in both fridges, some dehydrating, some tucked away in the freezer. Basically, I’ve got sourdough babies. Everywhere.

And they are hungry! I am going through a 10kg bag of flour weekly. That’s 22lbs for my American friends.

My freezer space is dwindling from all the sourdough baking. And while shocking to say, I think I’ve actually had enough sourdough bread for a while.

But those cute little, bubbly babies are so inspiring. I can’t help but look at them and create ideas.

This sourdough focaccia recipe is dedicated to my hungry babies!

Sliced sourdough focaccia on a wire mesh rack.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 —> New to sourdough? Check out my easy, peasy, have you sourdough cooking in 24 hours sourdough starter recipe!

No. 2 –> This is a wet dough, and that’s ok. Don’t be alarmed, it will form into soft, airy focaccia. Promise!

No. 3 –> This recipe takes a long time. Don’t worry, there’s very little actual hands-on time, it just takes a while. Be prepared to give it 2 days.

Showing the focaccia crumb.

Key Ingredients

  • Sourdough Starter: use a fed and active starter. The sourdough starter should be very bubbly and risen at least twice its size since feeding.
  • Olive oil: focaccia needs olive oil. A lot of olive oil. That’s the secret to the beautifully browned and chewy crust. I would avoid extra virgin olive oil, if at all possible, due to its lower smoke point than regular olive oil.
Ingredients for sourdough focaccia.

How To Make Sourdough Focaccia

PREPARE THE DOUGH:

  1. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add starter and water. Stir the starter and water together until loosely combined – this can be difficult if your starter is dense like mine, but it doesn’t need to be completely dissolved, just reasonably dispersed in the water.
  2. Attach the dough hook, add in the flour and salt, and knead the dough for 5- 7 minutes at the lowest speed. It will take a while to come together, and it will be a wet dough, but it should pull away from the sides of the bowl and stick to the dough hook. If it’s too wet, add a bit more flour a tablespoon at a time, being cautious to not add too much flour.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover the bowl and perform a series of stretch and folds, this is stretching the dough from one side of the bowl and folding it over the opposite side of the bowl. Rotate the bowl a quarter turn and repeat for a total of 4 folds. Recover the dough, and repeat twice more; 30-minute rest then stretch and fold.
  5. Recover the bowl and set it aside for bulk fermentation for 12 – 18 hours.
    –> To get the timing just right, you can place the bowl in the fridge until 12-15 hours before desired baking time, then remove it from the fridge and allow it to rise for 12 hours at room temperature before carrying on with steps 4 – 12. This can help fit the baking process into your schedule better.

FINAL RISE:

  1. Once the dough has risen, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a 9 x 13″ baking dish. My baking dish has a textured bottom, so I buttered the base of the bottom before adding oil just to ensure we had no sticking!
  2. Drizzle some more olive oil on top of the focaccia dough, then using oiled hands or an oiled bowl scraper, carefully deflate and turn the dough out of the bowl into the prepared baking dish. I like to use a bowl scraper for this, and just glide it between the sides of the bowl and the dough, it works great.
  3. Once the dough is in the baking dish, fold in all 4 sides, long sides first, then short, to create a rough rectangular envelope. Flip the focaccia dough over so the seam side is down.
  4. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for another 2-4 hours, or until doubled and puffy. It took just over 2 hours to double in my house, at 73f.
  5. Once the dough has doubled, preheat oven to 425f.

BAKE THE SOURDOUGH FOCACCIA:

  1. Oil your fingers with a good glug of oil and spread the oil along the surface of the dough. Then, using your fingers start to poke the surface of the sourdough focaccia. Stretch it to fit the pan if it hasn’t spread out completely. Sprinkle generously with flaked salt
  2. Bake the focaccia at 425f for 20-25 minutes or until browned.
  3. Cool focaccia on a cooling rack for at least 15-20 minutes before slicing.
  4. Garnish with fresh thyme and a bit more flaked salt if desired.

Baker’s Schedule:

Day 1:

8 am: feed starter

5 pm: mix dough

8 pm: stretch and fold is complete, set aside to bulk ferment

Day 2:

8 am: transfer the dough to oiled baking dish

11 am: preheat oven, poke dough + bake

12pm: enjoy!

A stack of sourdough focaccia.

Batch + Storage Information

Batch:

This sourdough focaccia recipe makes one 9 x13 inch focaccia loaf. This recipe can be doubled and baked in 2 9×13 pans or halved and baked in an 8×8 pan.

Storage:

Once cooled and cut, the sourdough focaccia can be stored at room temperature in an airtight bag or container for up to 2 days before it starts to get stale.

The focaccia can also be frozen for later. Once completely cooled to room temperature and cut into desired pieces, wrap each piece in a layer of plastic wrap then slide into a freezer-friendly ziplock bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

Thaw the frozen focaccia at room temperature then reheat in a 300f oven until warmed throughout ant the crust is crispy. It can also be reheated in an air fryer set to 250f for 2-3 minutes.

Sliced sourdough focaccia on a wire mesh rack with balsamic oil for dipping.

More Sourdough Recipes To Love

Variations + Substitutions

For this recipe, I just kept the toppings simple. Salt and a sprinkle of fresh thyme once it came out of the oven. But don’t let the simplicity turn you off this recipe, there are tons of topping ideas for focaccia!

  • hard cheeses, like parmesan, asiago,
  • roasted or smoked garlic
  • crumbled bacon
  • fresh herbs, like rosemary or chives
  • halved cherry tomatoes or olives
  • everything bagel seasoning

Really, there’s nothing holding you back except your imagination! Get wild. Try a parmesean, bacon, chive focaccia. Or garlic, cherry tomato, slivered red onion focaccia!

Sourdough focaccia topped with fresh thyme and flaked salt.
  • Stand mixer: I use my KITCHENAID MIXER for so many things. It makes everything much easier – I couldn’t live without it for my baking! I’ve got a bum wrist on my dominant hand, kneading baking kills me, so I love having my mixer.
  • Heavy 9 x 13 baking pan: a heavy gauge baking dish makes a huge difference in the final quality of your baked goods. I absolutely LOVE my Kuraidori bakeware. I’m fortunate enough to have access to these beautiful carbon steel items locally.

If you love this recipe, please give it a star rating or leave a comment below! This helps me to create more content you enjoy!

📖 Printable Recipe

Showing the focaccia crumb.

Sourdough Focaccia

Allyson Letal
Sourdough focaccia is soft and tender with an airy crumb and the hallmark focaccia chew! You'll love this easy sourdough recipe. Adapted from Bon Appetit.
4.50 from 14 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rest Time 15 hours
Total Time 15 hours 35 minutes
Course Baked
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12
Calories 239 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup 240 g active sourdough starter, stirred down
  • 2 cups 454 g warm water
  • 5 cups 600 g unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour, measured using the scoop + level method (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons 12 g coarse kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • flaked salt + fresh thyme for garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add 1 cup 240 g active sourdough starter, stirred down and 2 cups 454 g warm water. Stir the starter and water together until loosely combined.
  • Attach the dough hook, add in 5 cups 600 g unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour, measured using the scoop + level method (see notes) and 2 teaspoons 12 g coarse kosher salt, and knead the dough for 5- 7 minutes. It will take a while to come together, and it will be a wet dough, but it should slightly pull away from the sides of the bowl and stick to the dough hook. If it's too wet, add a bit more flour.
  • Transfer the dough to a large bowl, with enough room for it to double, and cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover the bowl and perform a series of stretch and folds, recover the dough, and repeat twice more; 30-minute rest then stretch and fold.
  • Recover the bowl and set it aside to rise – 12 – 18 hours.
  • Once the dough has risen, add 3 tablespoons olive oil to a 9 x 13" baking dish (If your dish has a textured bottom, you may want to butter it first).
  • Drizzle some more olive oil on top of the focaccia dough, then using oiled hands or an oiled bowl scraper, carefully deflate and turn the dough out of the bowl into the prepared baking dish.
  • Once the dough is in the baking dish, fold in all 4 sides, long sides first, then short, to create a rough rectangular envelope. Flip the dough over so the seam side is down.
  • Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for another 2-4 hours, or until doubled and puffy.
  • Once the dough has doubled, preheat oven to 425f.
  • Oil your fingers with a good glug of oil and spread the oil along the surface of the dough. Then, using your fingers start to poke the surface of the sourdough focaccia. Stretch it to fit the pan if it hasn’t spread out completely. Sprinkle generously with flaked salt.
  • Bake the focaccia at 425f for 20-25 minutes or until browned.
  • Cool focaccia on a cooling rack for at least 15-20 minutes before slicing.
  • Garnish with flaked salt + fresh thyme for garnish before serving.

Notes

Scoop + level: To scoop and level, stir the flour in your bag or container, then scoop from the container using a spoon into your measuring cup, then level it out. This will prevent over packing the flour in the measuring cup.

Batch:

This sourdough focaccia recipe makes one 9 x13 inch focaccia loaf. This recipe can be doubled and baked in 2 9×13 pans or halved and baked in an 8×8 pan.

Storage:

Once cooled and cut, the sourdough focaccia can be stored at room temperature in an airtight bag or container for up to 2 days before it starts to get stale.
The focaccia can also be frozen for later. Once completely cooled to room temperature and cut into desired pieces, wrap each piece in a layer of plastic wrap then slide into a freezer-friendly ziplock bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
Thaw the frozen focaccia at room temperature then reheat in a 300f oven until warmed throughout ant the crust is crispy. It can also be reheated in an air fryer set to 250f for 2-3 minutes.

variations + substitutions

Here are some ideas for focaccia toppings:
  • hard cheeses, like parmesan, asiago,
  • roasted or SMOKED GARLIC
  • crumbled BACON
  • fresh herbs, like rosemary or chives
  • halved cherry tomatoes or olives
  • everything bagel seasoning

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 239kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 6gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 389mgPotassium: 56mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.1gCalcium: 8mgIron: 2mg
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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is dangerously good. My company couldn’t get enough- and neither could I. I have frozen this focaccia with good results as well!

  2. 5 stars
    I make this weekly, great recipe, I mix it up adding different toppings. I love this bread because it comes out light and airy and has tons of favor. The only thing I do different than the recipe is use cooking spray on my pan before adding olive oil, the bread often sticks without it. Highly recommend this bread.

  3. This turned out great! I did half the recipe, just to try it out, and used about a 7×11 baking dish. I did have to put it in the refrigerator a couple of times for several hours, just due to
    “life’s scheduling”, and it still turned out excellent. It had wonderful sour flavor, light, airy, very tasty. I will definitely be using this recipe again. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Coleen, I love the “life’s scheduling”! I am going to use that from now on. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe <3

  4. When should I add the coarse kosher salt? Does it only go on top of the dough before baking? Or should it be added with the flour to be mixed into the dough?

    1. Hi Rachel, salt should be added with the flour to the water and starter mixture. The flaked or finishing salt should be sprinkled on top of the focaccia just before baking. Hope that helps!

  5. I made sourdough focaccia pizza with your recipe. It was delicious!! I did everything the same, except I took it out of the oven after 15 minutes and put all the pizza toppings on and then returned it to the oven for another 15 minutes. Yummy! Thank you for this recipe!