Sourdough Focaccia Bread Recipe

Sourdough Focaccia bread is a versatile, herb and olive oil-flavored bread that is delicious on its own or used as a sandwich bread.

sourdough focaccia bread cut into cubes

On our property, we grow all sorts of herbs. I love having a variety of them on hand to utilize in the kitchen. Currently, we have a huge dill patch, and crazy amounts of lavender, oregano, and of course rosemary.

Sourdough focaccia bread is the perfect way for me to use our fresh rosemary. Creating a bread that is packed with flavor and beautiful to display.

If you are brand new to sourdough be sure to check out my sourdough recipes tab for lots of great recipes to try out including a tutorial for making a sourdough starter from scratch. If you don’t already have your own sourdough starter or if you ever need to make a new one. Yes, it happens to the best of us.  

No matter where you are at in your sourdough journey, everyone can use an easy sourdough focaccia recipe up their sleeve. The best part is that you can make it your own with whatever toppings you like most using this simple bread recipe.

Now if you have your starter fed and ready to go, then let me show you how to make this fragrant versatile bread that is fun to make!

Sourdough Focaccia Bread Is…

  • Fragrant, versatile and a family favorite
  • A simple sourdough focaccia recipe that works every time and is great for beginners
  • Is great for cutting into squares for sandwich bread
  • Impressive and great for gatherings
  • The perfect sourdough bread alternative
  • Delicious topped with rosemary, garlic, olives, and even cherry tomatoes

Ingredients

Flour- You can use all-purpose flour or bread flour to make focaccia bread. The bread flour will result in chewier bread while the all-purpose creates more of a crumbly bread. Either way, you go, it is delicious! However, if using bread flour you will need to use a little more liquid due to the protein in the bread flour. I suggest increasing the water to 1 3/4 cups for best results.

Starter- Be sure to use an active sourdough starter before mixing the dough. The starter should be nice and bubbly.

Salt- I like to use sea salt in my kitchen and even flaky sea salt to garnish the focaccia. Kosher salt is a nice alternative and even standard table salt will work.

Olive Oil- You can use pure olive oil or extra virgin olive oil for this. Use whichever one you have.

Water- I suggest using filtered water for sourdough baking to ensure nothing interrupts the live yeast in the sourdough starter.

Herbs/Additions- You can top focaccia bread with fresh rosemary, garlic, olives, and even cherry tomatoes. Try different variations to see which one you prefer. My favorite is cherry tomatoes from my garden and garlic!

Tools

Stand mixer with dough hook attachment (optional, you can opt to hand knead)

Baking Sheet

Directions

In a large bowl mix together the flour, water, 26g (2 tbsp.) olive oil, sea salt, and active starter with a fork.

sourdough focaccia bread dough in a bowl
woman folding dough
woman folding dough
dough ball in a bowl

Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. When ready, complete the first set of stretch and folds. To do this, pick up a corner of the dough and pull it up and fold it over itself. Turn the bowl slightly, pick up a corner, stretch the dough up, and fold it over itself. Complete two more turns of the bowl stretching the dough up and over itself each time, for a total of four times. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 20-25 minutes.

Note: We will be doing 4 sets of stretch and folds with 20-25 minutes rests in between each set.

Complete three more sets of stretch and folds, exactly the same way. Allowing a 20-25 minute rest between each set. After the final set, cover the dough and allow it sit at room temperature for the bulk rise. This will take anywhere from 8-12 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Note: It’s important to watch the dough not the clock. If you notice your dough has doubled before the 8 hour point, continue to the next steps.

How To Stretch and Fold

sourdough dough ball

When the dough has doubled in size, punch the it down and roll it onto a floured surface.

olive oil being poured onto a baking sheet

Drizzle half the olive oil evenly over a baking sheet.

woman rolling sourdough dough ball onto greased baking sheet

Roll the dough in the oil and flatten it with your hands across the baking sheet. Use your fingertips to dimple the dough and use some of the olive oil to work into the dough as you press. Allow the dough to sit in a warm place for about 1 hour to do its final rise.

woman shaping dough into a baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 425℉. Finely chop the garlic and rosemary. Place them in a small bowl with the remaining olive oil.

sourdough focaccia bread on a baking sheet

Press your fingers into the dough again to create small finger-sized divots in the dough. Pour the herb infused olive oil even over the dough. Sprinkle with chunky sea salt (optional).

sourdough focaccia bread cut into cubes

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread is golden brown on the corners.

Baking Notes

  • If you do not have a baking pan or sheet, you can use a large baking dish.
  • Make sure your starter is nice and bubbly before mixing this recipe. An inactive starter will result in a dough that won’t rise.
  • If you find your dough hasn’t risen the next day, try allowing it to sit a bit longer. Sourdough rising times vary depending on room temperature and starters. Giving your dough more time to rise is most often the solution with sourdough.
  • In cooler temperatures, you can turn the oven light on and place the sourdough in the oven to do the bulk rise or final rise as this creates a bit of warmth that will help it along.

Benefits Of Sourdough

Of course, we love the taste but sourdough is a healthier alternative to eating regular breads such as white or wheat loaves. The lower phytate levels in sourdough make for an easier-to-digest food and result in a better more nutritious bread.

It is a good alternative for those who are sensitive to gluten as sourdough is a fermented food that has a bacteria-to-yeast composition that works on breaking down the starches found in the grain before it’s even eaten. Sourdough is also known as a prebiotic food that simply put, will help keep your gut bacteria healthy.

How To Store

Store leftover sourdough focaccia bread in plastic wrap, an air-tight container, or even a large plastic bag works (Ziplock).

More Sourdough Recipes to Try

FAQ

What is a “fed” starter?

A “fed” starter simply refers to the starter being active which involves removing it from the fridge and feeding it with equal parts water/flour. Then allow it to sit out on the countertop for a minimum of 4 hours so that it can become active. You will know your starter is ready for use when you see it nice and bubbly.

Can I make sourdough focaccia with bread flour?

You can, however, keep in mind that bread flour has a higher protein content which produces more gluten so you need to increase the liquid for this recipe. I suggest 1 3/4 cups of water. Using a bread dough will also result in a chewy crumb over a crumbly crumb as when using an all-purpose flour. 

Can I use sourdough discard for this?

You can. But what you will need to do is add a tsp of commercial yeast to the dough. To do this, dissolve the yeast into the water for 5 minutes. Then mix the dough together. You will also need to reduce the bulk fermentation times as 8 hours would no longer be needed since you are using commercial yeast to rise the dough. Yeast and sourdough differ quite drastically from one another but you can use them together.

Commercial yeast works a lot fast than sourdough. Reduce the first rise time to about 2 hours, then continue to punch the dough down, shape, and then continue on in the recipe for the second rise and final bake. 

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Baking Sheet Set of 2

Hobnail White Mixing Bowls Set of 4

Dough Scraper

Olive Oil Dispenser

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sourdough focaccia bread

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Yield: 1 loaf

Sourdough Focaccia Bread Recipe

sourdough focaccia bread cut into cubes

A sourdough twist on a delicious classic Italian herb and olive oil bread.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 480g all-purpose flour
  • 200g of fed sourdough starter
  • 350g of water
  • 136g olive oil
  • 12g sea salt
  • 3 sprigs of finely chopped Rosemary
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (optional)
  • Chunky sea salt to garnish (optional)

Instructions

    1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, water, 26g (2 tbsp.) olive oil, sea salt, and active starter with a fork.
    2. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
    3. When ready, uncover the dough and complete the first set of stretches and folds. To do this, pick up a corner of the dough pull it up and fold it over itself.
    4. Turn the bowl slightly, pick up a corner, stretch the dough up, and fold it over itself. Complete two more turns of the bowl stretching the dough up and over itself each time, for a total of four times.
    5. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 20 to 25 minutes.
    6. Complete three more sets of stretches and folds, exactly the same way. Allowing a 20-25 minute rest between each set.
    7. After the final set, cover the dough and allow it to sit at room temperature for the bulk rise. This will take anywhere from 8-12 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
    8. Punch down the dough and flip it onto a lightly floured surface.
    9. Take a baking sheet, pour 3 tbsp. of olive oil, and evenly spread it on.
    10. Place the dough on the oiled sheet and use your hands to spread the dough out to all corners.
    11. Allow the dough to sit in a warm place for about 1 hour to do its final rise.
    12. Preheat the oven to 425 ℉
    13. Press your fingers into the dough again to create small finger-sized divots in the dough.
    14. Finely chop the garlic and rosemary. Place them in a small bowl with the remaining tbsp. of olive oil.
    15. Pour the herb-infused olive oil even over the dough.
    16. Sprinkle with chunky sea salt (optional).
    17. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread is golden brown on the corners.

Notes

  • If you do not have a baking pan or sheet, you can use a large baking dish.
  • We will be doing 4 sets of stretch and folds with 20-25 minutes rests in between each set.
  • It's important to watch the dough, not the clock. If you notice your dough has doubled before the 8-hour point, continue to the next steps.
  • If you find your dough hasn't risen the next day, try allowing it to sit a bit longer. Sourdough rising times vary depending on room temperature and starters. Giving your dough more time to rise is most often the solution with sourdough.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 439mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 5g

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