If you’re a bread lover, you’ve likely heard of sourdough bread, a tangy and delicious bread made with a fermented starter. But have you ever tried sourdough Focaccia?
This delightful Italian flatbread takes the best of both worlds – the chewy texture and flavor of sourdough bread and the savory toppings and olive oil-drenched crust of traditional Focaccia.
Whether you’re a seasoned bread baker or just starting out, sourdough Focaccia is a must-try recipe that will tantalize your taste buds and impress your friends and family.
In this article, we’ll delve into the history of sourdough Focaccia, explore its unique flavor profile, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to make this mouth-watering bread at home. So, please grab a cup of coffee, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get baking!
What Is Focaccia Bread And Why Is It So Delicious?
Focaccia bread is an Italian-style flatbread that people around the world enjoy. A slightly chewy bread topped with herbs, onions, and olives, Focaccia is typically made with wheat flour, olive oil, water, yeast, salt, and time.
Bread lovers will find the balance between a soft interior and caramelized top almost irresistible.
There are many ways to make Focaccia bread – temperature control, rising time – but each baker adds their own special ingredients or methods. The Focaccia bread will be a hit regardless of whether it is served as an appetizer or as a full meal!
Is Sourdough Focaccia Healthy?
The fact that Focaccia isn’t loaded with processed ingredients also makes it a healthy choice. You can also get fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals from it, depending on what toppings you choose.
An example would be olives, which are rich in healthy fats, and rosemary, which contains antioxidants, so if you’re wondering if sourdough Focaccia is healthy – absolutely!
How To Make A Simple Sourdough Focaccia At Home
Sourdough Focaccia is relatively easy to make at home. The first thing you’ll need to do is make a sourdough starter.
Five to fourteen days are usually required to complete this process, and it requires careful maintenance. After the starter is ready, combining the ingredients with patience and hard work is just a matter.
Beginner Sourdough Focaccia Tips:
- Think ahead: Ferment your sourdough starter a few days ahead of making the focaccia dough. By doing so, you’ll make sure that the starter is vibrant and strong enough to raise the dough.
- Pick your pan: Baking sourdough focaccia in a rectangular metal pan (such as a brownie pan) is another option. My recommendation for the latter option would be the Lloyds non-stick pan.
- Use regular olive oil (not extra virgin): The smoke point of this oil is higher, so you run a lesser risk of burning the top and bottom of your Focaccia.
Sourdough Focaccia Ingredients
- 1 2/3 cups water
- 1/4 cup bubbly, active starter
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp fine sea salt
- 3-5 garlic cloves
Prep: 1.5 hours, Rise time: 12+ hours, Cook: 30 minutes Total time: 14+ hours
What it yields:1 large Focaccia
Sourdough Focaccia Recipe
Make The Dough:
- In the evening: Combine sourdough starter, water, and honey in a large bowl (I use a fork). Stir in the flour and salt. Using a mixer, combine the ingredients and hand combine them to form a rough dough. The surface will be wet and sticky.
- Place a cover over the bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour. There is no set schedule here. Then take the dough out of the bowl and work the dough into a ball. The texture at this point will be sticky and wet – nothing unusual.
- Once the dough is finished, transfer it to a lightly oiled, high-sided dough container or continue to mix it in the mixing bowl. The choice is yours. Next, the dough needs to rise.
- Lie the dough out on your countertop overnight to rise to room temperature. Upon completion, the dough should have doubled or tripled in size. The process will take approximately 12+ hours at 68 degrees F (20 degrees C).
- It is important to note that the dough will rise faster at a warmer temperature. The rise time of 12+ would not apply to your environment if, for example, the room temperature is 80 F (27 C). Nowhere close. In this case, the rise time would be shorter, perhaps 3-4 hours. Don’t watch the clock; watch the dough!
- In the morning: Apply oil to a rimmed sheet pan (see tip below). Make sure the bottom and sides are evenly coated. Remove the dough from the bowl using oiled hands. Flip it over so that both sides are coated. You do not need to stretch or pull the dough to fit the pan at this stage. The next step involves letting the dough relax, which happens naturally.
- Cover the dough with an inverted sheet pan instead of plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours to puff up. It would be best if you preheated your oven to 425°F (220°C).
- The dough needs to rest while the oven preheats, usually on top of it. This makes the dough softer and bubblier.
Assemble The Focaccia
- Use oiled fingertips to gently dimple the dough before baking. Dimples will naturally cause the dough to stretch outward. Dimple and stretch (gently!) until you create a rustic shape, approximately 14 x 9 inches (36 x 23 cm) or larger. It’s OK if the dough doesn’t reach all the corners and edges of the pan.
- Make sure the toppings are pressed into the dough if you are using them. During the rise, the dough will puff up a lot, so you need to anchor the toppings well-press them down deeper than you think. It will pop them out otherwise!
Bake The Focaccia:
- Put the dough in the oven on the middle rack. The Focaccia should be baked for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Place the cooled cookies on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes (to avoid steaming on the underside). Serve with dipping oil, if desired, and cut into wedges or squares. Delicious!
Tip: How to Par-Bake Sourdough Focaccia:
It’s easier to prepare Focaccia in advance and have it baked fresh for dinner if you pre-bake the dough.
To do this,
- You should bake the Focaccia at 425 F (220 C) for approximately 15-18 minutes.
- A golden crust with a pale color will be set. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Then wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to six hours.
- Finally, bake the Focaccia for 12-15 minutes.
PS: If you’re hosting a party, par-baking focaccia bread will definitely impress your guests!
Tips For Shaping And Baking Sourdough Focaccia Bread
Don’t let your fear of creating Focaccia intimidate you! Making sourdough Focaccia at home easy with the right ingredients and instructions. You can make perfect sourdough Focaccia by following these five tips:
- Give the dough ample time to rise–at least 12 hours, but ideally 24-36 hours. The texture will be light and airy as a result.
- Shape your Focaccia using the dimpling technique. You get a crispy crust when you create pockets for the olive oil to seep into.
- Bring out the flavor of the Focaccia with fresh herbs and garlic.
- A baking stone or pizza stone can help ensure an even and crunchy crust.
- Finish it off with a flourish! If you want, you can sprinkle your Focaccia with coarse sea salt, herbs, and cheese before baking. It will improve the texture and flavor of the dish.
Topping Ideas and Pairings for Your Sourdough Focaccia
There are many ways to enjoy sourdough Focaccia. You can elevate your sourdough focaccia experience by trying different toppings and combinations:
- Marinated artichokes
- Roasted vegetables
- Cherry tomatoes
- Caramelized onions
- Dried salami
- Goat cheese
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Pesto and more!
Combine any of these tasty toppings with flavorful herbs, including oregano, thyme, basil, or rosemary. Experimenting with your sourdough Focaccia is half the fun – whatever you add is up to you.
Sourdough Focaccia is a unique and delicious bread that combines the best of both worlds: the tangy flavor and chewy texture of sourdough bread and the savory toppings and olive oil-drenched crust of traditional Focaccia.
With its rich history and versatile nature, sourdough Focaccia is a bread that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with your favorite Italian dishes.
Whether you’re an experienced baker or just starting out, this recipe is definitely worth a try. With practice, you can master the art of sourdough Focaccia and impress your friends and family with your bread-making skills.