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If you’re new to baking with sourdough, then this simple sourdough focaccia recipes is for you! No fancy sourdough equipment required, it’s the perfect starting point for all you newbie sourdough bakers. Topped with fresh herbs, and oil this no knead focaccia is very forgiving (and SO delicious!)
I’m not sure I could be more excited about sharing a recipe than I am about this sourdough focaccia. I mean helloooooo
Look. At. That. Stack. You drooling yet? I am…
I’ve been pretty obsessed with baking with my Sourdough Starter these past few months stuck at home. It’s like part science. Part magic. And 100% holy moly deliciousness.
I’ve been baking up this Sourdough Bread Recipe (From Starter!) about once a week. I’ve ventured out to make some Sourdough Brioche Bread to make crazy good french toast. Some Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread to make amazing sandwiches each day. And let’s not forget about the weekends. Those are reserved for what might be the BEST Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls I have ever eaten.
So this time, I ventured to focaccia. Fluffy and chewy. Perfect for dipping in oil. No knead. I mean it’s just perfection. Ok but let’s back it up a bit. Maybe you’re new to sourdough.
What Is Sourdough?
Sourdough is basically an ancient way of making bread. Sourdough doesn’t rely on commercial yeast, but on wild yeast. By simply combining flour and water, you create a live fermented culture from the wild yeast found on the grains of the wheat that the flour is made from. The more it is “fed”, meaning fresh flour and water, allows the wild yeast to multiply.
Because sourdough relies on wild yeast, the process can take much longer than commercial yeast bread recipes. But the complex flavor and texture is far superior of any other bread you will ever eat.
For more Sourdough 101: What Is Sourdough?<– click here. You can also sign up for my FREE 5-day Sourdough Simplified e-mail series!
Is Sourdough Bread Better For You?
Yes. 1000% yes. Sure at first glance, the nutrition label might look the same to conventional bread. But the long fermentation process is what has sourdough sailing past the conventional bread loaves by a mile for its health benefits. Plus it’s made with just a few simple ingredients compared to store-bought bread that has added chemicals and preservatives.
Whole grains, in general, that bread is made with can contain lots of great minerals. But the body can have a hard time absorbing those minerals due to phytic acid that is present in grains. But the lactic acid created from the fermentation process helps to break down the phytic acid allow your body to be able to absorb more of those minerals than you would be able to with bread made from commercial yeast.
Also, sourdough bread can be much more easily digested and enjoyed, especially those with a gluten sensitivity. The long fermentation process helps to already start the process of breaking down the gluten in the bread making it much easier to digest.
So more vitamins, minerals, and it’s easier to digest. Basically, sourdough is awesome.
Make Your Sourdough Starter…
If you haven’t gotten around yet to making your sourdough starter then let’s get going! What are you waiting for? It will take about 5 days to make your starter before you can attempt this bread. But it will be worth it. Here is the full guide on How To Make Sourdough Starter From Scratch.
Once you have your starter raring to go then you will need to feed and mantain your starter.
Want to jump in to sourdough but don’t want to make your own starter? Totally fine! Just buy a sourdough starter and it will be ready to use in a couple days.
What Goes In This Sourdough Focaccia?
The best part about this sourdough focaccia is that it requires very few ingredients. I think that’s what I love about making sourdough anything! Just simple, real ingredients.
- Sourdough starter
- Olive Oil
Start With An Active Starter
We want to start by making our dough. This is a no knead dough and it couldn’t be simpler to throw together. Basically stir and forget it. You want to make sure to start with an ACTIVE STARTER.
How can you tell when your starter is ready?
I have two ways:
1. The Rubberband trick
Place a rubberband around your starter jar where the height of the starter starts when you feed it. And then when you see it’s doubled in size, it’s ready! Like so…
2. The Float Test
Still not sure? Take a spoonful (just be careful to not deflate the bubbles) and place in a bowl of water. Does it float? If it does, then you’re ready! If it doesn’t let the starter continue to bubble away before using it.
Making The Focaccia Dough
Ok now that your starter is ready time to make that dough! You want to first stir together your active starter, water, and honey. Then go ahead and stir in your flour and salt. It will be quite shaggy at first. I stir with a fork then I just get in there with my hands. Nothing. More. Satisifying.
That’s it. Wait, what?! Yup. That’s it. Time to let it hang out and do it’s thing. Cover with a damp towel and let the dough rise, at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours. I prefer doing this overnight!
The dough should double in size and become very spongy, and stringy. You will also see some bubbles on top. The whole bowl of dough should be a little loose and jiggle.
You want to place the dough into a well oiled 9×13 pan. I like using this pan because it gives me the perfect guide of how much to stretch the dough out too in the end. You could always use a baking sheet if you need to.
Just dump the dough out. Give it a flip so it’s completely covered in oil. No need to stretch it yet. Then cover with a towel and let the rolls rise for another 1 1/2- 2 hours until almost doubled in size and puffy.
Stretch And Top!
After it’s risen and gotten puffy, go ahead and push the dough to the edges of the pan. Then dimple it with your fingertips. And then you want to drizzle on the extra olive oil and top with fresh chopped rosemary. Maybe an extra sprinkle of sea salt if you would like!
Sourdough Focaccia Variations:
Not a fan of rosemary? That’s cool. Here are a few other toppings:
- Sea Salt. Just keep it simple. A little olive oil and salt is all you need.
- Olives. Chopped olives would be delicious.
- Other fresh herbs. Maybe some thyme? Oregano? Combine them!
- Everything bagel seasoning. Because that stuff goes on everythiiiiiing.
- Garlic. Because that also goes on everything. Ok maybe not my cereal. But on focaccia? Oh heck yes.
Tips For Making These Sourdough Focaccia:
- Make sure your starter is active before you start. Drop a small piece in a bowl of water to see if it floats. It it does, then it’s ready! If not, then it may need 1-2 more feedings.
- Measure Your Flour Using A Kitchen Scale . You can use measuring cups but for best accuracy it’s better use a kitchen scale and weigh out your flour. This ensures you don’t overmeasure, which can result in dense rolls. You can read my post on How To Measure Flour here.
- Use A Large Mixing Bowl! This dough will expand quite a bit. So the bigger the better.
- Use a damp towel. You don’t want the dough to dry out on top creating a film that will prevent the dough from rising.
Why Didn’t My Sourdough Focaccia Rise?
- Starter Wasn’t Ready: This could be because your sourdough starter wasn’t quite bubbly and active enough. Be sure to do the “float test” before you begin.
- Cold Kitchen: Another culprit could be a cold kitchen! If your kitchen is cold the bread will take longer to rise. Ideally, your kitchen should be around 70°F.
- Overproofed: Another reason I found as I continue on this sourdough journey, is you overproofed your dough. If you overproof then there will be nothing left for it to do, and you will get no rise. So when you place the risen dough in the pan, make sure to not let the dough rise for more than 2 hours. The only exception is if your kitchen is super cold and it’s still not puffy.
Can I Use All-Purpose Flour?
I made it both with bread flour and all purpose flour. Both were delicious. I prefer using bread flour just because it has more protein content which makes for a bit chewier texture. But yes you can use all purpose flour and it will still be great!
How Do I Store Sourdough Focaccia?
Sourdough focaccia will be fine at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. I think it’s best, however, if eaten within the first two days. You could also freeze it for up to 3 months. Any leftovers, I love turning into croutons! Don’t let any of this go to waste.
More Sourdough Recipes
- Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- Sourdough Brioche Bread
- Sourdough Bread Recipe (From Starter!)
- Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
- Sourdough Sandwich Bread
- Sourdough Rye Bread
Tools To Make This Sourdough Focaccia Recipe
You can check out My Favorite Sourdough Bread Tools and Resources.
- 9×13 pan
- Large mixing bowl
- Sourdough cookbook – ok not necessary but it’s chock full of amazing recipes that once you master this loaf you will want to make next.
- Cooling Rack
And don’t forget to enroll in the Traditional Cooking School complete Sourdough course – it will teach you EVERYTHING!!
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- 100 g (1/2 cup) bubbly, active starter
- 360 g (1 1/2 cups) cool water
- 21 g (1 Tablespoon) honey
- 600 g (6 cups) bread flour
- 9 g 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped
- flaky sea salt optional
- Make The Dough. Whisk the starter, water, and honey in a large bowl. Add the flour and salt. Mix with a fork and then continue to combine with your hands until the flour is absorbed.
- Bulk Rise. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise overnight, at room temperature, about 12-18 hours. The dough is ready when it no longer looks dense and has doubled in size and look stringy. There may also be bubbles on the surface as well.
- Second Rise. In your 9x13 pan pour 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and spread around to coat the bottom. Dump the dough onto the pan. Turn over to coat both sides with oil. No need to stretch or spread the dough out yet. Cover the pan and let rest for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until very puffy.
- Assemble the Focaccia. Gently stretch the dough to reach the corners of the 9x13 pan. Use your fingertips to dimple the dough. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle on 2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary. Gently press the rosemary leaves into the dough. Sprinkle with additional flaky sea salt (optional).
- Bake. Bake the focaccia on the center rack, in a preheated 425oF oven, for 15-20 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool before cutting into wedges using a serrated knife or pizza wheel. Serve warm.
- Make sure your starter is active before you start. Drop a small piece in a bowl of water to see if it floats. It it does, then it's ready! If not, then it may need 1-2 more feedings.
- Use Bread Flour. Yes you can use all purpose flour, but bread flour gives the best texture.
- Use A Kitchen Scale. For best accuracy, it's best that you weigh your ingredients and not rely on volume (measuring cups)
- Damp Towel!! When you let the dough rise overnight, be sure to use a damp towel to cover it so it doesn't dry out and not rise properly.
- Bread Timeline:
- Thursday night: Remove Starter from Fridge and Feed
- Friday: Feed twice (once in the morning, and one at night)
- Saturday morning: Feed again
- Saturday evening: Remove the amount of starter I need to make my dough. Make the dough and let rise. Feed my starter again, and pop back in the fridge until next week.
- Sunday morning: Finish and bake my bread!