Simple Sourdough Focaccia Bread
If you are wanting to bake up a delicious loaf of focaccia bread that has all of the added benefits and flavor of sourdough, then you will love this simple sourdough focaccia recipe. Learn how to get those billowy air pockets, flaky top layer, and soft middle you look for in a perfect focaccia loaf.
I remember the first time I ate focaccia bread at an Italian restaurant.
I dredged it into the herby olive oil they placed on a plate in the center of the table and I was in heaven.
Focaccia is the epitome of rustic simplicity, which is what I want our family table to represent.
Delicious food that is unfussy and invites you to belly up to the table and enjoy.
What is Focaccia bread?
Focaccia is an Italian flatbread that creates a pillowy bread perfect for soups, for dipping, or for sandwich bread.
It is a great bread for beginners since it uses staple ingredients and doesn’t require much technique.
If you are looking for a great crusty loaf of bread, try my no fail bread.
I also have a terrific sourdough french bread recipe that is a cinch!
Why you’ll love sourdough focaccia bread
- This simple sourdough focaccia recipe is perfect for new sourdough bakers because the bread doesn’t need an extremely strong starter since it is a flatbread.
- You can make this in the bowl of a stand mixer using a dough hook attachment, or you can make it in a large mixing bowl using only a wooden spoon.
- Focaccia dough uses a few simple ingredients, such as sourdough starter, all purpose flour, salt, and water.
- This adaptable recipe can be made sweet or savory.
- This bread takes little effort and the majority of the time spent with this loaf is during the bulk fermentation, which happens while you sleep. It requires very little hands on time, which is great for a busy home cook.
- It requires no special gadgets or skills. This bread is made in a large bowl and finished on a normal baking sheet. No dutch oven is required.
Tell me about this recipe
- Taste– Even though this bread has no butter in the recipe, it has a buttery color and flavor mainly because the air pockets hold all of the tasty goodness from the oil and herbs in them.
- Texture– Focaccia gives you a pillowy texture with minimal effort. You have the flaky top that gets golden brown in the oven and the soft inside that soaks up all of the yummy flavor.
- Ease– This recipe requires you to mix the dough ingredients in a bowl, let it rise, and then dump it on a baking sheet. It is the easiest bread ever.
- Time– You need to plan ahead with any bread recipe, especially sourdough. Almost the entire time this recipe takes is rise time, so it’s not hands-on time which is great for a busy homemaker.
Can you make sourdough focaccia with discard?
Yes, you can make this easy sourdough focaccia recipe with discard, but be aware that it might not produce the billowy holes you’re used to seeing in focaccia.
Those bubbles and holes are dependent upon the strength of your starter, so be aware that if you have an immature starter your bread will turn out better next time.
It will still taste amazing and is a great way to use up sourdough discard, so this is a great recipe no matter where you are on your sourdough journey.
If you are needing to make your own starter, I have a great sourdough starter recipe that will have you baking sourdough recipes within a week!
Ingredients for a Basic Focaccia Recipe
- Active Starter- While a mature starter will create the best result, you can use sourdough discard for this recipe, too.
- Salt– Coarse sea salt is the best part about this bread, besides the chewy crumb and soft dough. If you don’t have a flaky sea salt, use what you have and add it to your next grocery order!
- Water– Warm water encourages this dough to rise will during that first rise. It also makes for a super moist dough.
- All-purpose flour- Many recipes call for bread flour, which has a high gluten content. Use whatever you have on hand- white flour, whole wheat flour, or bread flour. No matter what, the result will be amazing. My only tip would be to use unbleached flour so the wild yeast in the sourdough aren’t diminished by the use of a bleached flour.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- I actually use avocado oil, but many people don’t have that on hand. A high quality olive oil will be perfect for this simple bread recipe.
How to make Fluffy Sourdough Focaccia
- Feed Active Starter– Feed your starter a few hours before you make your focaccia dough. The day before I need my focaccia, I like to feed my starter around noon. This gives it time to wake up and grab whatever wild yeast we have in our kitchen. By that evening, I will have an active sourdough starter that is ready to make my dough rise.
- Make the dough and First Rise– That evening, I make my dough in a large bowl and let it do its long rise on the kitchen counter at room temperature. The dough will be a shaggy dough, but it will be perfect at creating that moist focaccia you’re used to. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
- Dump and Second Rise- Oil a baking tray with extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil. I like to tilt the pan to make sure the oil makes its way into the corners of the pan. Dump the wet dough on the sheet pan. Do one set of stretches and folds on all four corners of the dough. Turn the dough over so the seam side is down on the pan and drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on the top of the dough. This is one of the best ways to keep it moist while it rises a second time. This second rise will be for 2 hours, depending upon the temperature of your kitchen.
- Poke Dough and Last Rise- Gently press the surface of the dough out on the baking sheet. If it doesn’t stretch across the entire pan, that isn’t an issue. The dough shouldn’t be sticky, but if it is use wet hands to poke the surface of the bread. Season your focaccia and let it rise for one hour and preheat your oven to 425°F.
- Bake Focaccia– You will bake your focaccia for about 25 minutes in a preheated oven or until the top of the bread is a deep golden brown.
Add ins for this Simple Sourdough Focaccia
- Fresh Rosemary- This herb tastes incredible with the soft focaccia and salt. Actually, any herbs taste amazing. If you have access to them, use fresh herbs. Their flavor profile is more intense and adds to the bread.
- Garlic cloves- You might want to roast some garlic cloves to press into your focaccia dough. Or, you can use fresh cloves and allow them to simply bake with the bread.
- Cherry tomatoes- Summertime produces fresh tomatoes and the cherry variety add color and a burst of flavor to this bread. Place them on the top of the dough and let them burst as the bread bakes.
- Caramelized onions- This savory add in taste great with focaccia. It adds a bit of sweetness to the side dish.
- Olives- Any kind of olive, sliced in half, and cooked on top of the focaccia is a great idea.
- Dipping Oils- I love this bread dipped in an herb filled olive oil or with a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar.
How to store leftover focaccia
What even is leftover focaccia? 😂
Our family knows of no such thing because we can’t manage to leave a sliver of focaccia leftover.
If you do manage to do that, simply put your leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
I also have an entire post dedicated to how to store your sourdough bread. It’s simple and helpful.
Why do sourdough recipes use grams?
Grams are a much more precise way of measuring bread ingredients.
Baking bread is a sort of art, so the proper technique impacts the final result.
Grab yourself a simple digital scale and you will be set! Happy baking!
Why the Bulk Ferment is important
The bulk ferment is the first long rise you do, usually overnight.
The active starter will begin to create those perfect air pockets in the dough and double in size.
Many bakers put a mark on the side of the bowl so they can see how much the dough has risen.
If you are wanting the delicious tangy sourdough flavor, the bulk ferment is where it’s created.
Bulk fermentation also helps with making the grain more digestible.
It is, needless to say, the most important step with any bread baking.
Tip for making sourdough bread recipes
When you add your dough to a bowl, avoid metal bowls.
My favorite type of bowl to use for all of my sourdough baking is a glass bowl. I can see the rise of my sourdough and I don’t have to worry about my starter reacting to the bowl, like you do with metal bowls, such as copper or aluminum.
The starter can react with it and leach toxins into your dough. If you stick with glass, you will have no issues.
Did you make this recipe? Please RATE THE RECIPE below!
Sourdough Focaccia Bread Recipe
Sourdough Focaccia Bread
- 1 baking sheet
- 100 grams active sourdough starter
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 440 grams water
- 500 grams all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil. or avocado oil
- Feed Active Starter– Feed your starter a few hours before you make your focaccia dough. The day before I need my focaccia, I like to feed my starter around noon.
- Make the dough and First Rise– That evening, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot in your kitchen. Let the dough rise overnight.
- Dump and Second Rise- Oil a baking tray with extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil. I like to tilt the pan to make sure the oil makes its way into the corners of the pan. Dump the wet dough on the sheet pan.
- Do one set of stretches and folds on all four corners of the dough. Turn the dough so the seam is down. Let it rise on the pan for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, gently press the surface of the dough out on the baking sheet. If it doesn’t stretch across the entire pan, that isn’t an issue. The dough shouldn’t be sticky, but if it is use wet hands to poke the surface of the bread.
- Season your focaccia and let it rise for one hour as you preheat your oven to 425°F.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
I should have thought twice about trying to make a 90% hydration bread during our wet winters. The consistency of the dough was much more like batter, pourable vs. a dough like consistency. I tried baking off half of the dough (batter) as instructed to see if the recipe just works despite my misgivings. Applied the science of sourdough to the remaining batter: added another cup or so of flour and set it aside for a ferment/rise (3 hrs at room temp then 21 hrs in the fridge). Second attempt worked beautifully. Maybe the type of flour originally needs more hydration or they live in the dessert and this recipe was developed during summer or her starter was a dry starter and some of the 450 g of water was for creating the levain. I am just getting back into sourdough baking.