Sourdough focaccia is perfect for dinner parties, lunch, or snacks. It blends all the delicious goodness of sourdough bread into a rustic and chewy flatbread!
I was inspired to make focaccia after watching Salt Fat Acid Heat, though a sourdough rise makes this focaccia fairly different from a quick yeast risen focaccia. The result is more of a Tuscan-style focaccia. The long sourdough rise makes it chewier and less fluffy than typical North American focaccia.
For fluffier focaccia with sourdough flavor, add 1 tsp of instant yeast with the starter and reduce the initial rise to just 2 hours.
Sourdough Focaccia Toppings
While focaccia is delicious as an accompaniment for a meal, I like to turn it into a snack or appetizer by adding some toppings.
When adding toppings to focaccia, you can either make one big focaccia, as described in the recipe or make several smaller rounds.
Add the toppings just before baking. When adding toppings, there’s no need to add extra olive oil or salt.
- Rosemary garlic: Finely dice 2 cloves of garlic and 2 Tbsp of fresh rosemary. Sprinkle over the bread with 2 Tbsp of finely grated Parmesan cheese.
- Apple fennel: Slice one apple into thin slices. Leave the skin on the apple as it helps with the texture. Spread the apple slices over the bread, then sprinkle on 2 tsp of fennel seed and 1/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese. Extra old cheddar is delicious.
- Tomato and goat cheese: Add slices of fresh tomato topped with a bit of black pepper and crumbled fresh goat cheese.
- Caramelized onion: Thinly slice two onions and caramelize them before spreading them over the focaccia.
- Pesto: Drop spoonfuls of pesto over the focaccia, about 1 tsp in each drop.
- Alla salvia: For this traditional recipe, finely dice 3 Tbsp of fresh sage and sprinkle over the focaccia.
Sourdough focaccia is perfect for freezing. Make a double batch of dough and freeze individual balls in a zip-top bag for future dinner parties.
Take the frozen dough out of the freezer the day before you want to bake it. Let it fully defrost in the fridge. Knead the dough a few times before forming the bread. Then allow it to rise for an extra 30 minutes (so 1 1/2 hours total) so that it can warm up to room temperature.
This sourdough focaccia recipe is easy and delicious. It’s perfect as a dinner bread or appetizer. Try one of the recommended toppings from the section above.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 1 loaf 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Sourdough
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
For the dough:
- 2 1/4 cups flour (11 oz)
- 1 cup chlorine-free water (7 oz)
- 1/4 cup active sourdough starter (2 oz)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (divided)
For the brine:
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 1/2 Tbsp water
- Warm the water to about 30C (86F), then mix it with the flour. Using warm water helps to kick-start the hydration. The exact temperature doesn’t really matter, it should be around body temperature.
- Let the flour hydrate for 15-30 minutes, then mix with the sourdough starter and the salt. Kneed as required to bring the dough together.
- Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm location for 12-24 hours, until it doubles in size. After the initial rise, the dough can be placed in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen. See the section above for more details on freezing the dough.
- Coat a rimmed baking sheet with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Place the dough on the oiled pan and pour another 2 Tbsp of olive oil into the center of the loaf. Gently stretch the dough to about 10-inch round or 8-inch by 12-inch rectangle.
- Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the water and salt, dissolving the salt to make a brine.
- After the initial rise, stretch the dough again if needed. Then dimple the dough with your fingers. Pour the brine over the dough, allowing it to pool in the dimples. Proof for another 30 minutes.
- Add any additional toppings right before baking. See the section above for suggestions. Bake in a 450F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the bread, is browning.
- The long rise results in chewy focaccia. For fluffier North American-style focaccia, add 1 tsp of instant yeast in with the starter and reduce the initial rise to just 2 hours.
- See the section above for six recommended toppings. Focaccia is not the same as pizza, so toppings should be spread thinly across the dough rather than dominate the bread.
- This recipe requires an active sourdough starter.
Keywords: Simple, freeze, apple fennel, caramelized onion, pesto, rosemary garlic, sage, tomato goat cheese, appetizer, vegetarian
Matej @ CookWeWill
I’m not really into sourdough much, but I have some fresh yeast sitting in the fridge and waiting to get used? Do you think I could use it as a substitute or the result would be too different?
I’m not sure as I haven’t tried it. You could try making the quick rise version (which I did test) and skip the sourdough starter. The only trick is that you might need a bit more water (1-2 Tbsp) to make up for the hydration of the sourdough starter. If you try it let me know!
I have a question about water. I know that I shouldn’t use chlorinated tap water. Is enough chlorine removed from tap water by using a brita filter, or should I buy some bottled water?
Yes, chlorine is removed by a Brita. It’s also removed by sitting out on the counter for a couple of hours. Here’s a post on how to remove chlorine and chloramine: https://www.fermentingforfoodies.com/filter-water-fermentation/ Enjoy!
Not quite what I expected. But delicious anyway! Thanks!
It is a bit different from typical focaccia. Glad you enjoyed it!