The Perfect Loaf Sourdough Focaccia

This no-fuss, delicious focaccia comes together all in one day using your already ripe sourdough starter. It’s the perfect canvas for tomatoes, olives, rosemary, and coarse sea salt—or, really, anything you have in the kitchen that's fresh and sounds delicious! Mixed with Edison flour, the crumb has a rich, buttery, wheaty flavor and beautiful golden color.

Prep Time

15 minutes

Bake Time

30 minutes

Total Time

8 hours

Yield

Two 8" round or one 8"x13" rectangular focaccia

Ingredients:

For the focaccia:

5 ¼ cups (622g) Edison flour

One scant tablespoon (12g) extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons (11g) salt

Two scant cups (436g) water, at room temperature

½ cup (118g) ripe sourdough starter, at 100% hydration

For the toppings:

Extra virgin olive oil

Coarse sea salt

Optional: any fresh vegetables and herbs, such as chopped rosemary, halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced onions, chopped kalamata olives, etc.

Baker's Notes:

* This dough can also be easily mixed by hand. The suggested mixing speeds are for a KitchenAid mixer.

** The dough will naturally spread out during this proofing period, so it's not necessary to spread it too aggressively.

Instructions:

  1. If storing your starter in the refrigerator, take it out the morning the day before and let it ripen on the countertop at room temperature. If storing on the countertop, just use it as is.
  2. Next morning, in a bowl of an electric stand mixer* (see Baker's Notes), fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, water, salt, and ripe sourdough starter (hold back the olive oil until later in the mixing process).
  3. Mix on speed 1 for 1-2 minutes until incorporated. Then, mix on speed 2 for 5 minutes until the dough strengthens and clumps around the dough hook. Let the dough rest in the mixing bowl for 10 minutes.
  4. Turn the mixer on to speed 1 and slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl while mixing. Once all of the olive oil is absorbed, turn the mixer up to speed 2 for 1-2 minutes until the dough comes back together.
  5. Transfer the dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover with plastic wrap. Let ferment for 2 hours, giving the dough 4 sets of stretch and folds every 30 minutes, starting the first series 30 minutes after the start of bulk fermentation.
  6. To do the stretch and fold, simply reach with one hand into the bowl and fold one side of the dough over into the middle, followed by the opposite side, and then the two alternate sides as if you are folding an envelope.
  7. Once the 2 hours have lapsed and you have completed the 4 stretch and folds, liberally oil the inside of a rectangular pan or two 8" diameter circular baking pans.
  8. Gently scrape the dough out of the bulk fermentation container directly into the rectangular pan (or, if baking two round focaccias, onto a work surface, then divide in two, and place each in a round pan). Cover with plastic wrap.
  9. Let the dough proof in the pan for 4 hours. In the first hour, every 30 minutes, uncover the pan and, using your wet hands, gently stretch the dough to the pan's edges to encourage it to fill the pan** (see Baker's Notes).
  10. Once the dough is mostly spread to the edges, re-cover the pan and let it proof for the remainder of the 4 hours.
  11. About 30 minutes before the end of the 4-hour proofing period, preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack positioned in the bottom third of the oven.
  12. When the proofing is done and the oven is preheated, dimple the top of the dough all over with wet fingers.
  13. Generously drizzle on olive oil to cover the surface of the dough. Spread on chopped herbs and coarse sea salt.
  14. Bake until golden on the top and bottom, about 30 minutes.
  15. Let the focaccia cool in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack. It's wonderful straight from the oven, and best the day it's baked.

Baker's Notes:

* This dough can also be easily mixed by hand. The suggested mixing speeds are for a KitchenAid mixer.

** The dough will naturally spread out during this proofing period, so it's not necessary to spread it too aggressively.


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