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#14. Activated Charcoal Sourdough Focaccia with Sundried Tomato, feta and Basil

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

You are probably wondering why invest your time in making bread that takes more than 24 hours to prepare and ferment. The fermentation may sound like a long time invested, but most of the time that the dough are fermenting, you are not actually physically attending to it but simply to leave it to do its magic. It is more about the patience in waiting for the final reveal. If done right, this can be an ecstatic, not to mention that flavourful bread that you will be getting.

This is perhaps one of my favourite Focaccia bread and it is so tender on the inside and that sundried tomatoes and goats cheese topping just takes this bread up another notch. I would say that this is a time well invested! I actually came up with this Focaccia from what was left in my kitchen pantry and decided that I would give this a go, which turns out more than surprisingly delicious! And because I love sharing my daily bakes, you are in luck and here are the recipe and steps! :)



Yield: 1 x Sheet Focaccia

Baking Pan: 300mm Length x 220mm Width x 35mm Depth

Duration: 1 or 2 Days

The recipe below can be baked on the same day or be left in the fridge overnight for baking in the next morning.


60 g Ripe Sourdough Starter

60 g Water 24°C

60 g White Baker's Flour

Focaccia Dough

260 g Tipo 00 Flour

250 g Plain Flour

10 g Activated Charcoal Powder

420 g Water at 35°C

130 g Levain (Ripe)

10 g Fine Salt

10 g Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Qs. Basil Leaves - tossed in olive oil

Qs. Feta Cheese

Qs. Sundried Tomatoes

Qs. White sesame seeds

Qs. Black sesame seeds.



10 am Prepare Levain. Mix all ingredients together and place in a clean jar. Tie a rubber band around the jar level with the Levain to monitor the activity. Store the jar in the warmest place in your kitchen at room temperature. The Levain takes around 5 to 6 hours to double in volume and be active to use.

3 pm Test the readiness of the Levain by gently scooping some and dropping into a bowl of water. If it floats above water, it is ready.

Place all the flours in the bowl then add in the water and mix to combine. Add in the required Levain, salt and extra virgin olive oil. Mix until well incorporated and there are no dry lumps of flour present.

Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or a plastic and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

3:30 pm Perform the First Stretch and Fold. Dip your hand in some water to avoid sticking. Cover and leave to rest for another 30 minutes.

4 pm Perform the Second Stretch and Fold. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.

4:30 pm Perform the Third and final stretch and fold. Cover and leave at room temperature for the remaining bulk fermentation for 2 hours or until the dough starts increase in volume and is very light and airy.

6: 30 pm Lightly oil a deep baking tray. Transfer the focaccia on to it. Drizzle more olive oil and rub on top of the dough. Gently stretch the dough out from the center outwards with your fingertips by pressing and stretching until it fully fits the baking tray. Leave the dough covered at room temperature for another 2 hours until it starts to become bubbly again. Cover and place in the fridge sitting at 5°C overnight to be baked in the next morning.

Note: If your dough is particularly resistance and you find it hard to stretch the dough without it shrinking right back, simply stretch the dough half way, cover then rest for 20 minutes and continue stretching until it fits the tray. You shouldn't need to stretch the dough more than 2 times. Only do the stretching in the first hour as you need the rest of the bulk proofing time to allow the yeast to produce the necessary gas without deflating them too much.

7:30 pm Oil a sheet of cling film then gently place it on top of the focaccia. Place in the fridge to retard proof overnight.

The sourdough Focaccia can be left in the fridge for 12 to 20 hours before baking.

The next day....

6 am The next morning, remove the Focaccia from the fridge to bring it to room temperature an hour prior to baking.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C for an hour.

7 am Gently remove the cling film on top. Press the sundried tomatoes into the dough then sprinkle with some oiled basil leaves. Using your finger tip, lightly indent the empty space on the dough. Finally, sprinkle some sesame seed and feta cheese.

Bake the Focaccia in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Place a sheet of aluminium foil on top of the bread, then turn down the heat to 180°C and baker further for another 20 minutes.

Once baked, remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool slightly in the pan before lifting the bread from the tray onto a wire rack to cool.

Slice and serve!


Baking Note

You can prepare the focaccia and bake it on the same day. What you will need to do is to prepare a stiffer Levain the night before and leave it at room temperature to mature. This process will take approximately 10 to 12 hours to ripen. The ratio of the Levain is as follow:

Slower rising Levain Ratio

30 g Ripe Sourdough Starter

60 g Water 24°C

90 g White Baker's Flour

Once the Levain has ripen the next morning (ensure that you do the "float test", weigh out 130 g of the Levain for the final dough.

Just remember that you need to bulk proof the dough for approximately 4 hours with 3 stretch and fold in the first hour and a half. The dough is then transferred in to an oil tray that you will use for baking and gently stretched out to fit the tray with some more oiled brushed on the top of the dough. Lightly oil a sheet of cling film and place on top of the focaccia and leave at room temperature or a warm place for another 4 to 6 hours.

So the best way is to work out your flow plan and you should have a fresh focaccia at the time you want it. Or, you can be like me, make it the night before and leave in the fridge overnight and bake in the morning for breakfast!



Leftover Focaccia can be wrapped with cling film and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. Simply place in the oven to re heat before serving.

Alternatively you can also wrap the focaccia well with cling film and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw the bread at room temperature before reheating them in the oven.


Video Instructions


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