My First Sourdough Focaccia
I’ve only made focaccia once before and that was using IDY. So I decided it was time to use my now trusty starter to make one instead of IDY. As often the case I went to theperfectloaf.com and followed Maurizio’s recipe to make my first one. I decided to try loading this up almost like a deep dish pizza. So I topped with halved cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, stuff green olives, shallots, rosemary, black pepper and pecorino Romano cheese.
From his website I’ll post the formula here for your convenience.
Total Dough Weight
One 1200g focaccia
This table shows the entire quantity and baker’s percentages for each ingredient. If you’d like to make two large focaccia (or four smaller ones), double everything in the table below.
There’s no specific levain build for this focaccia, just use some of your sourdough starter when it’s ripe (when you’d normally give it a refreshment). See my post on the differences between a levain and sourdough starter for more information on the two preferments.
Target final dough temperature (FDT) is 76°F (24°C).
All-purpose flour (King Arthur All-Purpose Flour) 11-12% protein
High protein bread flour, malted (King Arthur Bread Flour) 13% protein
Extra virgin olive oil (Jovial Olio Nuovo Organic Olive Oil)
Sourdough starter (100% hydration)
Mix – 9:00 a.m.
This dough can be mixed by hand (I would use the slap and fold technique) or with a stand mixer like a KitchenAid.
To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add both the flours, water, salt, and ripe sourdough starter (hold back the olive oil until later in mixing).
Mix on speed 1 for 1 to 2 minutes until incorporated. Then, mix on speed 2 for 5 minutes until dough strengthens and clumps around the dough hook. Let the dough rest in the mixing bowl for 10 minutes.
Next, turn the mixer on to speed 1 and slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl while mixing. Once all of the olive oil is absorbed, turn the mixer up to speed 2 for 1 to 2 minutes until the dough comes back together.
Transfer your dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.
This highly hydrated and enriched dough is wet and loose , it won’t strengthen to the same degree as a typical bread dough.
As you can see below on the left, immediately after mixing the dough is still very wet and chunky. However, it’s not falling apart or soupy. Resist the temptation to add more flour at this point, as you can see below in the image at the right, by the middle of bulk fermentation it’ll strengthen after several sets of stretch and folds.
Transfer the dough to a covered container for bulk fermentation.
Bulk Fermentation – 9:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Give the dough 4 sets of stretch and folds, starting 30 minutes after mixing, and a set every 30 minutes thereafter.
Every 30 minutes for the remaining 2 hours of bulk fermentation 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.
Proof – 11:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Transfer the dough to a deep rectangular pan that’s been greased with olive oil. If you don’t have a pan with a silicone liner, make sure to heavily oil the pan’s interior so the focaccia doesn’t stick during baking.
At 76-78°F (24-25°C), the dough will proof for 4 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.
Every 30 minutes for the first hour, uncover the pan and gently stretch the dough with wet hands to the pan’s edges to encourage it to fill the pan. The dough will naturally spread out during this proofing period, so it’s unnecessary to spread the dough aggressively. Once the dough is mostly spread to the edges, cover the pan and proof for 4 hours.
Top & Bake – 3:15 p.m.
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—I like to press them into the dough gently.
Bake the focaccia in the oven at 450°F (232°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 under the broiler before serving).