Pre-order Bigger Bolder Baking Everyday HERE!
Breads & Doughs

The Easiest Sourdough Focaccia

4.76 from 37 votes
Focaccia like you know and adore, but softer and chewier because of the sourdough, my Sourdough Focaccia recipe is what you deserve.
Slice sourdough focaccia.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Hands up if your quarantined-inspired sourdough starter is still alive and thriving! (If not, or if you never hopped on that delicious bandwagon, feel free to use my Sourdough Starter Guide to either make your new starter or bring your old one back to life.) 

My Sourdough Focaccia, inspired by this recipe from Alexandra Kitchen, will yield beautifully bubbly focaccia — even better than what you’d find in most bakeries. Don’t get me wrong! Local bakeries make some incredible loaves, but for some reason, very few have very good focaccia. I blame going too light on good olive oil and salt. 

Introducing the natural leavening of a sourdough starter will also give your focaccia a flavor boost and keep it softer for longer. 

[ Make Sourdough Pizza! ]

This dough is not kneaded on a machine like a traditional bread would be. Instead, those iconic bubbly results come from a folding technique I outline below. You can get creative with your toppings here, add some sundried tomatoes, some black olives, some parmesan cheese — but don’t skimp on the folding technique! 

A top-down view of my sourdough focaccia.

What Is Sourdough Focaccia?

Focaccia is a popular flatbread from Italy that isn’t necessarily far from the chew of good pizza dough. You can get creative with this bread. You can serve it as an appetizer, use it for sandwiches stuffed with prosciutto and aged parmesan, or get artistic with the toppings. “Garden Focaccia” is having a moment on Instagram at the time of writing this.

The best focaccia is crispy on the outside, thanks to olive oil, chewy on the inside, thanks to the sourdough starter and bread flour, and covered in a good amount of flaky sea salt. 

Can I Use All-Purpose Flour Instead Of Bread Flour?

Technically, yes, you can use all-purpose flour in this recipe instead of bread flour, but I strongly recommend using bread flour. The big difference between the two is that bread flour has a lot more protein than all-purpose. All that protein produces more gluten, which means you’ll get a chewier and bubblier texture. 

What You Need To Make Sourdough Focaccia

My Sourdough Focaccia baked and ready to cut into slices, topped with olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

How To Make Sourdough Focaccia

Making sourdough focaccia looks like a long process, but most of the time making it is hands-off! Here’s how you’ll make it, including the proper folding technique (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. In a large bowl, add your starter, salt, and water. Whisk to combine. 
  2. Add the flour into the bowl and mix until it is completely incorporated. Cover this with cling wrap and a kitchen towel and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, reach into the bowl and grab the top of the dough. Pull it up and into the center. Turn the bowl one quarter and repeat. Continue to turn the bowl one quarter and perform the stretching and folding method 8 times. This helps strengthen the dough and builds those big bubbles, so don’t skip this step!
  4. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the bowl and swirl around the dough to evenly coat it. Cover the bowl again with cling wrap and a kitchen towel. Set it aside to rest at room temperature overnight, roughly 12-18 hours.
  5. Once the dough has doubled, generously pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a 9×13-inch pan.
  6. Use your hand to gently deflate the dough and release it from the sides of the bowl. Scoop the dough, gently, into the center of the pool of oil in your pan.
  7. Fold the dough, envelope style, from top to bottom and side to side. It should look like a rough rectangle. Turn the dough over, so the seam-side is facing down on the pan.
  8. Rub the top of the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Let the dough sit for 4-6 hours or until bubbly and nearly doubled.
  9. Once the dough is bubbly or almost doubled, preheat your oven to 425ºF (210°C).
  10. While the oven preheats, rub your fingers lightly with oil and press gently into the dough to dimple and stretch the dough, over and over again. You want to create dimples all along the dough. Push the dough until it reaches the sides of the pan.
  11. Sprinkle the dough generously with sea salt and any toppings you wish. I’ll be using tomatoes, olives, and rosemary. 
  12. Place the pan in your preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden all around. Remove from the oven and transfer the bread to a cooling rack.
  13. Cool the focaccia for at least 20 minutes before slicing. 

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Sourdough Focaccia

  • Add any toppings you’d like, like roasted red peppers, fresh figs, parmesan cheese, or pesto!
  • This bread keeps in a fridge for up to 1 week. 
  • Use bread flour! It really does make a huge difference. 
  • The slower natural yeasts in a sourdough starter help the dough to stay softer and last longer in the refrigerator. Use my Sourdough Starter

How To Store Sourdough Focaccia

Sourdough focaccia can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days. However, it will stay soft and fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. This bread also freezes very well! 

A cross-section of my sourdough focaccia, showing the crumb and interior texture and consistency.

Make More Bread!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

The Easiest Sourdough Focaccia Recipe

4.76 from 37 votes
Focaccia like you know and adore, but softer and chewier because of the sourdough, my Sourdough Focaccia recipe is what you deserve.
Servings: 8 people
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Proof overnight 12 hrs
Focaccia like you know and adore, but softer and chewier because of the sourdough, my Sourdough Focaccia recipe is what you deserve.
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cups (5oz/142g) active sourdough starter
  • teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups (16floz/450ml) water lukewarm
  • 4 cups (20oz/568g) bread flour* (see notes above)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 cup (5oz/142g) sundried tomatoes
  • 1 cup (5oz/142g) black olives roughly chopped
  • small bunch of rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Instructions

  • Place the starter, salt, and water in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Add the flour and mix until it is completely incorporated. Cover with cling wrap and a kitchen towel and rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • After 30 minutes, reach into the bowl and pull the dough up and into the center. Turn the bowl quarter turns and continue this pulling 8 times. This method of stretching and folding strengthens the dough and builds those big bubbles so don't skip it.
  • Add a drizzle of olive oil to the bowl and swirl around the dough to coat. Cover bowl with cling wrap and a kitchen towel and set aside to rise at room temperature overnight, roughly 12-18 hours.
  • When dough has doubled, generously pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a 9×13-inch pan.
  • Use your hand to gently deflate the dough and release it from the sides of the bowl. Gently scoop the dough into the center of the pool of oil in your prepared pan. Fold dough envelope style from top to bottom and side to side to create a rough rectangle. Turn dough over so seam-side is down.
  • Rub the top of the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Leave alone for 4-6 hours or until bubbly and nearly doubled.
  • Preheat oven to 425ºF (210°C). Rub fingers lightly with oil and press gently into the dough to dimple and stretch the dough over and over again. Push the dough until it is reaching the sides of the pan. Sprinkle generously with tomatoes, olives, rosemary, and sea salt.
  • Transfer pan to the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden all around. Remove pan from oven and transfer bread to a cooling rack. Cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.
  • Store at room temperature for up to 3 days. It also freezes very well.
guest

81 Comments
most useful
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Toni
Toni
2 years ago

A video of the pulling and folding techniques would be very helpful! Love your videos… I’m a visual learner!

Lisa B
Lisa B
2 months ago

My family loves this recipe! It is so easy and tastes amazing! You can personalize it with whatever toppings you want. It does not last long at my house and as soon as I am done making one, they are already asking for me to start another!

Wendy
Wendy
7 months ago

Question about the folding. Above you state, in step 3 “Continue to turn the bowl one quarter and perform the stretching and folding method 8 times.” Is this fold each quadrant 8 times and then rise? For my sourdough bread, I do 6 stretch and folds but with 30 minutes in between. So is it 8 stretch/fold with a time interval inbetween? If so, what is the time interval? Can’t wait to try this, but need clarification. thanks!

Rosa
Rosa
10 months ago

Hi Gemma I live in Australia and it gets quite humid in summer. Can I put the bulk rise in the fridge? I have had it left on the bench to rise overnight and had woken up in the morning with it over Risen

charlotte
charlotte
1 year ago

Hi gemma, is it possible to use half all purpose flour and half bread flour, will that give some of the chewy texture as well? Also, for the sourdough discard, if it is stored in the refrigerator, does it need to be room temp or fed before using it in this recipe?

Kathy
Kathy
1 year ago

Great recipe. Easy and I love the chewiness of the finished product. I add some of the “toppings” into the folds. Works great.

Sabbie
Sabbie
1 year ago

Hi Gemma, can I use green olives instead ?

peppers_crazy
peppers_crazy
1 year ago

Hi again gemma!! I tried this recipe and my dough started ok but after i let it ferment for 18-20 hours the dough became runny that it was already too runny to handle. I just poured it in a 9×13 pan and will let it stand for 4 more Hours and bake it weather it has bubbles or not. What could have possibly gone wrong? I used less liquid, there were still about 1/4 left water in my jug when i finished, and i added around 1/4 cup more flour. I hope this bakes off good so i would not… Read more »

theresaballis
theresaballis
1 year ago

hi do i cover dough while its in 9 by 13 pan thank you

Bagmar
Bagmar
1 year ago

I made two batches of sour dough focaccia with pretty good success. But then I bought the bread flour you recommended and anticipated even better results. I got great rising in the first instance, more than double the volume and couldn’t wait to put it in the pan for the second rising but then it suddenly stopped rising and the results were disastrous.
What went wrong?

This Recipe Made By Bold Bakers

7 Images

Rae Rena

Rae Rena

Nadiatabs

Sandra Pommier

Christine E. Sebastian

Maja Pavlovic

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Preorder Bonus List