Updated: Mar 21, 2021
I have been wanting to make a focaccia for a while with my sourdough starter and finally come around to it. I was pleasantly surprise by the flavor with this batch of Focaccia and will definitely be making more of it in the near future.
You can prepare this Focaccia dough early in the day and have them ready for dinner or simply place the prepared dough in the fridge overnight to retard and bake the next morning for breakfast.
What is the difference between Sourdough Focaccia and Focaccia?
The flavor! Depending on your fermentation time and flour used, the sourdough can have a mild to strong sourness to it which gives a really good aroma.
Common Focaccia made with commercial yeast are great too but just does not have that depth in flavor in comparison to sourdough.
(Note: If you want to have extra for the next day, multiple the amounts by double for two sheets of Focaccias. You can bake one on the same day and place the other unbaked slab of Focaccia in the fridge overnight. Read below for instructions)
Yield: 1 Focaccia Sheet
Duration: 1 or 2 Days
Baking Pan: 300mm Length x 220mm Width x 35mm Depth
60 g Ripe Starter
60 g Water - 35°C
60 g White Baker's Flour
Final Focaccia Dough
50% "OO" Flour 175 g
40% Plain Flour 140 g
10% Rye Flour 35 g
80% Water 280 g
25% Ripe Levain 90 g
2% Salt 7 g
2% Olive Oil 7 g
Extra Olive oil for finishing
5 am Make Levain by mixing all the ingredients together until there are no dry bits of flour. Place the Levain into a clean jar and press flat to the base and cover with the lid loose. Tie a rubber band around the jar level with the Levain to monitor its activity. The Levain if kept at room temperature with the dough standing between 24-26°C will take around 4 to 6 hours to be ready.
10 pm When the Levain is ready, mix all ingredients together in a bowl leaving the olive oil to be added last once the first lot of ingredients are incorporated together. At this point, the dough should feel quite wet and shaggy. Ensure that when you mix, there are no big dry lumps of flour. Cover the bowl and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
10:40 pm Perform the 1st Stretch and Fold, cover and rest for 30 minutes
11:10 pm Perform the 2nd Stretch and Fold, cover and rest for 30 minutes
11:40 pm Perform the 3rd stretch and Fold, cover and rest for 2 hours until it is light and bubbly
Note: Do not expect the dough to have that resistance and strength that a common sourdough bread dough will have. This Focaccia dough is much more slack and wet (which is what makes it so soft and tender after baking!)
2 pm Leave dough to final proof. Lightly oil a baking tray with olive oil then transfer the dough on to it and drizzle more olive oil on top. Rub the oil over the dough, gently and with the help of your fingertips press and stretch the dough out to fit the tray. If the dough has some resistance, simply stretch half way, cover, then let it rest for 20 minutes before continuing to press with your finger tip and stretch until it fully covers the tray. Repeat this for the first hour in the final proofing if necessary but allow the remaining proofing time for the dough to rise and bubble untouched.
Cover the tray with cling film and leave in a warm place for 4 to 6 hours hours until it starts to become light and airy again.
7:30 pm 30 minutes before you anticipate the dough to be ready, pre heat the oven to 200°C.
Lightly tossed the halve cherry tomatoes and rosemary sprigs in some olive olive, press each tomato into the dough and sprinkle some rosemary and salt. Press your fingertips in the empty space to dimple the dough.
Place the Focaccia into the oven and bake for around 40 to 45 minutes until the top starts to turn golden brown in color. Keep baking for longer if you want a darker crust. Remove from the oven, then brush some olive oil on top to prevent it from drying then leave on a wire rack to cool!
Baking the next day
If you want to have a fresh Focaccia for breakfast the next morning, after you have bulk proofed the dough, transfer the dough on to the oiled baking tray and stretch it out as instructed until the dough fits the tray. Leave the dough at room temperature covered for another 2 hours then place it in the fridge overnight to retard the dough.
When you are ready to bake, remove the Focaccia from the fridge to bring it back to room temperature and let the dough rise a little for a couple of hours. An hour prior to baking, pre heat the oven to 200°C. Indent the dough with oiled fingers, sprinkle inclusions and bake as usual.
Dough can be left in the fridge from 12 to 18 hours.
Preparing the dough and baking on the same day.
If you want to prepare and bake the focaccia on the same day, you will need to feed the starter to make the Levain 12 hours before preparation time the night before for you to start preparing the dough bright and early
In this case, you will need to make a stiffer Levain with a 1:2:3 ratio. For example
30 g Ripe Starter
60 g Water at 24°C
90 g White Baker's Flour
to allow a longer and manageable maturing time. The Levain formula above will take around 12 to 14 hours to be ready giving you enough time for some snooze and early bake the next morning.