Breads & Doughs

The Easiest Sourdough Focaccia

4.7 from 10 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.

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. 

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

4.7 from 10 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.

Submit your own photos of this recipe

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Rae Rena

Rae Rena

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Toni
Toni
28 days ago

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

Aureja
Aureja
18 days ago

Very nice recipe! I made this focaccia with my rye sourdough starter and all purpose wheat flour, and it turned out very nice! Great texture, beautiful flavour. Love it!

Barbro
Barbro
27 days ago

How can I make Focaccia with out a starter???

Kate
Kate
28 days ago

The dough was pretty wet after the initial proofing. I’m not sure how it’ll be when baked.

Jendy hays
28 days ago

This is actually a question about Timing for your focaccia recipe. I live in south Florida, and room temperature at my house is about 78* F. I want my bread to be cooled and ready to eat at 7 PM. How should I adjust the timing, since I don’t want to be mixing my dough at 4Am?

Anila sikka
Anila sikka
28 days ago

What is active sourdough starter

Anila Sikka
Anila Sikka
28 days ago

Looks yummy definitely i will try. Thanks

ragough
28 days ago

I don’t have the sourdough starter, what amount of yeast can I use instead, if I can.

Rae Rena
29 days ago

Love this bread and recipe 👍It is simply the yummiest bread I have ever made with my starter.

Mné Kidwell
29 days ago

This look so yummy. This pictures are so attractive to me. I need to give this a go!!!

♥♥

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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