Sourdough focaccia is the holy grail of artisan sourdough bread making. This recipe is so easy, that even a beginner baker can make it. All you need is a bowl and a couple of your favorite ingredients.
Levain - 90 grams
Focaccia dough - 75% hydration
90g(⅓cup)Levain made ahead or use starter
1cupCherry tomato halves
2sprigsRosemary cut into small pieces
¼cupExtra virgin olive oil
1tablespoonSea saltI used garlic sea salt
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Levain - In a medium bowl, combine the sourdough starter, water, and flour. Stir well to combine. Cover and leave to rise for 3 hours at room temperature. Pro tip - You can make the levain for up to 5 days in advance and leave it in the fridge.
30 g Sourdough starter, 30 g Bread flour, 30 g Water
Autolyze - In a large bowl, combine the water, levain/starter, olive oil, and flour. Combine well until no dry flour is visible. Cover the bowl and leave it on the counter for an hour.Pro tip - This is a wet dough so don't be tempted to add more flour. A loose dough will give an open crumb.
500 g Bread flour, 90 g Levain, 320 g Water, 1 tablespoon Olive oil
Stretch & Fold - After an hour of resting, sprinkle the salt over the dough and knead the dough using a stretch and fold method for 2 minutes. Rest for 30 minutes, then stretch and fold one more time. Transfer the dough to a clean oiled bowl. Pro tip - You can use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment if you prefer. But I usually just stretch and fold the dough a few times in the bowl.
9 g Kosher salt
Bulk ferment - Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise in a warm place (24C/74F) on the counter for 5 hours or in the fridge for up to 12 up to 24 hours.Pro tip - Transfering the dough to a clean bowl is optional but I do it to avoid any dry bits that are stuck to the bowl from getting into the proofed dough.
Shape - Transfer the dough to an 8-inch oiled cast Iron skillet or 9 x 13-inch oiled rectangle baking dish lined with parchment paper. Using the flat of your fingers, gently spread the dough in the pan. Pro tip - This is a high hydration dough so it will be very loose. Use a flexible bench scraper to work instead of your hands.
Proof - Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. Leave to rise on the counter until it doubles in volume for about 2 to 3 hours. Prop tip - You can also cold proof in the refrigerator overnight but use a lined baking pan or cast iron pan.
Oven - about 30 minutes before baking preheat the oven at 425°F/220°C/ Gas Mark 7
Assemble - Once double in size, create dimples/holes in the dough by poking your fingers into the dough. You can break the big bubbles but leave some to become crisp during baking. Pro tip - Dip your fingers in oil or water to prevent the dough from sticking to them. This will create better holes.
Top - Dot the top with cherry tomato halves, slices of mozzarella, rosemary, thyme, basil leaves, and a sprinkle of garlic sea salt. Drizzle the olive oil all over the bread. Pro tip - Moisten the herbs with olive oil will prevent them from burning during baking.
1 cup Cherry tomato halves, 2 sprigs Rosemary, 100 g Mozarella, ¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil, 10 Basil leaves, 1 tablespoon Sea salt
Bake - Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. When baked, remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack at least 10 minutes before you cut. Garnish with more fresh basil leaves.
The timeline is a guide to use, which is why I have given you the temperatures. A warm room will help the bread rise faster and a cooler temperature will slow the rise. So, adjust accordingly.
And use a kitchen scale when baking with sourdough because that will give you an accurate measure.
Sourdough bread with 75% hydration means the dough is very loose. The bench scraper is your best working tool.
Hydration refers to the ratio of water to flour. More water means a more open crumb. Having said that every flour absorbs liquid differently so make sure to adjust as necessary
Shape the final loaf of bread on a piece of parchment paper if you choose to overnight proofing. Otherwise, the metal in the cast iron pan will react with the dough.
Baking in a cast iron pan will give a nice golden crust on the bottom and top of the bread
Sourdough must be baked in a hot oven. So, make sure to preheat your home oven for no less than 30 minutes up to an hour.
Lastly, baked bread must be properly cooled on a cooling rack for at least an hour before you slice it. Otherwise, the steam from the bread will evaporate leaving it dry.
The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you