Homemade focaccia never tasted so good!
Warm, crumbly, and rich with olive oil... what's not to love? I for one always get frustrated baking bread, but this focaccia recipe is easy and stress free.
Step 1: Make a "sponge"
Using sourdough starter that you've fed within the last 12 hours, combine the following ingredients to form a sponge base in a large bowl:
- 1-1/2 cups active sourdough starter (should be bubbling and pass the "float" test)
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey (important)
- 1 cup flour
Cover the sponge mixture with saran wrap or a moist towel, and leave it alone for 1-2 hours in a warm kitchen until bubbles of different sizes start to form.
Step 2: Combine rest of ingredients and knead
Once the sponge is ready, add to the sponge bowl:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 cups of flour (one cup at a time)
- 2 teaspoons fine ground sea salt
Mix ingredients together with a wood spoon (one cup of flour at a time) and once roughly mixed, turn mixture out onto a flour dusted counter.
Knead to combine for about 5 minutes. I use the fold over technique, where you just keep gently stretching folding the dough over onto itself.
The dough should be mostly smooth and slightly sticky when it's done.
(Depending on the moisture of your starter, you may need to add a bit more flour during this process, up to 1/4 cup).
Step 3: Let the dough rest and double in size
Once you're finished kneading, form dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl.
Cover with saran wrap or a damp cloth. I like covering it with one damp cloth, and one dry cloth on top of that to keep it moist.
Place dough in a warm part of your kitchen and wait 2+ hours until the dough has doubled in size.
I have left this mixture to double overnight, and it turned out great in the morning. If you do this, spray the top of your dough with some oil to keep it moist.
Step 4: Switch to baking pan and start "second rise"
Now that the dough is doubled in size, punch it down.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and add 1/2 cup of olive oil to the bottom. (Looks like a lot but you need it!)
Move your dough to the baking sheet and using your fingers, stretch the dough to fill the pan towards the corners.
Re-cover with your kitchen towels and allow it to rise again until its about double in size (about 1 hour in a warm part of your kitchen).
Step 5: Ready to bake!
Preheat oven to 450F.
Once it's puffed up again, lightly dimple the dough with your fingers all over, leaving the classic little nooks.
This is the time you can add any toppings you would like. Be sure to drizzle with more olive oil and plenty of coarse sea salt!
Topping ideas (use anything you like)
- Roasted cherry tomatoes, herbs de provence, roasted garlic cloves
- Sesame seeds, course sea salt, herbs de provence
Once ready, place in hot 450F oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and transfer to the counter with the parchment paper to cool.
Serve on your favorite wood board!
Leah Cucina has beautiful wood boards ready for you to serve your beautiful focaccia...