This sourdough focaccia bread is amazingly soft and flavourful! It takes just about the same amount of time as making a good focaccia with commercial yeast but tastes much better!
This dough requires slap/fold kneading. You can see how to do this as well as how to stretch and fold in my Cranberry Walnut Sourdough Video Here.
Recipe Source: The Perfect Loaf
- 9:00 am - Add mature sourdough starter, flour, water and salt to a mixing bowl. Do not add the olive oil at this time. Mix by hand until the dough forms a cohesive mass, then continue kneading the dough using the slap/fold technique until it becomes smooth and elastic.
- Add the extra virgin olive oil to the dough in the mixing bowl. Mix the dough and oil together until the oil is fully absorbed and the dough comes back together, 3-5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a covered container for bulk fermentation.
- 9:15 am - 1:15 pm - Give the dough 4 sets of stretch and folds, starting 30 minutes after mixing, and a set every 30 minutes thereafter. After 4 sets of stretch and folds, transfer the dough to an well olive-oiled, deep rectangular pan.
- Ferment the dough for 2 more hours. During this time gently stretch the dough, with wet hands, toward the corners of the rectangular container. The dough will resist stretching and spring back (especially with the oil underneath), but don't force it — each time you stretch it'll relax a bit more and eventually fill the container.
- 1:15 - 3:15 pm - At 76-78°F (24-25°C) let the dough proof, untouched but covered, for 2 hours. This time period is flexible and dependent on the temperature: if it's cooler, let it proof longer, and conversely, if it's warm you might be able to bake sooner. By the end of bulk, the dough should be very gassy and it should have risen in the rectangular container (see images below). If you poke it with wet fingers it'll feel extremely soft and jiggly— like poking a marshmallow.
- 3:15 pm - Top and Bake - First, dimple the unadorned dough with wet fingers. Make sure the dimples are evenly spaced and go all the way down to the bottom of the pan. Then, drizzle on 1-2 tablespoons of your extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with herbs and coarse sea salt. If using other toppings, add them now as well and press them gently into the dough.
- Bake the focaccia in the oven at 450°F (230°C) until deeply colored on top, about 30 minutes. Rotate the pan front-to-back halfway through this time. Keep an eye on it during the last 5 minutes and pull it out if it's coloring too quickly, or leave it in longer if you'd like it a little darker. Let the focaccia cool a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack. It's fantastic warm from the oven, and best on the day of baking, but it'll keep well for a couple days loosely wrapped in foil (reheat before serving).