Greek Sourdough Focaccia
Sacrilege I know, focaccia is Italian but I wanted feta today on my focaccia. So this really is just a simplified Greek salad on bread, what’s not to like? Cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, shallots, feta cheese, salt, pepper and oregano are the toppings. The feta is buried under each pair of tomato and olive, I wanted lots of toppings. I followed Maurizio’s sourdough focaccia recipe again however, I did adjust down the dough weight so I would end up with a more “normal” thickness of baked focaccia in the end. Because of scheduling, I had to do a cold retard of the dough overnight for the bake today. I wasn’t sure how long to let it final proof for and I’m not sure if it is over or under proofed. I was hoping to have lots of big bubbles, which I also didn’t get on my last focaccia.
9” round skillet
Total dough weight 450 g
All-purpose flour 10% protein
High protein bread flour 13% protein
Extra virgin olive oil
Levain (100% hydration)
Total flour 247.5g
Levain build 1:6:6 75ºC 8-9 hours
4 g starter + 24 g water + 24 g bread flour
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.
OVERNIGHT OPTION: After two hours in proof, cover the rectangular pan with an airtight cover and transfer to the fridge. The next day, take out the dough and let it come to room temperature, and continue with the Top & Bake step below.
The rectangular pan I use fits perfectly inside my B&T Dough Proofer. I keep it inside the proofer, covered with reusable plastic, and set to 78°F (25°C) until ready to bake.
About 30 minutes before you anticipate the sourdough focaccia dough being ready, preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C) with a rack placed in the bottom third (a baking stone is not necessary).
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).