How to Make a Sourdough Focaccia

Tuesday 23 June 2020

I think you would have to be living under a rock in recent weeks not to see all of the highly decorated focaccia loaves on the internet.  Very pretty to look at for sure. I have only just dipped my toes into the world of Sourdough.  I recently mastered making the starter successfully along with a few bakes with the started and the discard. You can see my tutorial on how to make a Sourdough Starter here.

 Sour Dough Starter   

I am ever so pleased as I have finally mastered this skill!  I have also managed to store it and bring it back to life again with great success, and if anything it is even better now than the original one!  Apparently you can keep these things going for years and years.  I watched a program on the television about San Francisco, the birthplace of sourdough and in the original factory they were still using the starter that they had been using since the 1800's!!  Now to me, that's amazing!

How to Make a Sourdough Focaccia

All of those highly decorated focaccia are very pretty to look at for sure, but for my first one I wanted to really keep it simple.  You begin by making a sponge  . . .  using some of your starter, some oil, honey and flour.  Once that is bubbling away you add the remaining ingredients and knead it.  Kneading is such a catharic exercise in mindfulness.  I could do it forever . . . my mind just settled on nothing but what's going on beneath my hand. You can feel the dough changing as the gluten begins to develop and you end up with a lovely smooth ball, elastic in texture and slightly tacky.

You then pop it into an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and set it aside to rise for about 2 hours. I am always so surprised when I see the dough rising, with no yeast involved. Its like magic to me.

Once risen you punch it down and press it out onto a baking sheet with sides, then cover it lightly with a tea towel and let it rise again for a further hour.

A the end of that time you get to make little dimples all over the surface of the bread with your fingers, divots . . . . ready for you to brush with olive oil  . . . the olive oil collects into the divots adding some scrumptiousness . . .

I kept it simple for this first time and just brushed it with a plain olive oil, albeit an excellent quality one and added a simple sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

If you wanted to you could brush it with an herby olive oil and sprinkle on extra herbs, or a pesto olive oil. I think I will do a rosemary one next time.

Its actually very similar to pizza dough except thicker, so I reckon there is no end to what you can top it with, or dress it up with.  I am not really into all that fancy decoration stuff though.  It might look pretty, but I prefer to keep things a bit simpler myself.

At any rate this is a beautiful focaccia, just nicely crusty on the outside and with a beautiful crumb . . .  and just a slight sourdough tang . . .

We enjoyed some squares of it simply dipped into some more of that great olive oil.  I may make sandwiches with the rest.

How to Make a Sourdough Focaccia

How to Make a Sourdough Focaccia
Yield: 1 (10 by 15-inch) Focaccia
I was pleased with how this turned out. Once you master this, you can experiment a bit with other flavours and additions.


To Form the Sponge:
  • 150g sour dough starter (3/4 cup)
  • 120ml warm water (1/2 cup)
  • 30ml olive oil (1/8 cup)
  • 1/2 TBS honey
  • 70g bread flour (1/2 cup)
To finish the bread:
  • 60ml olive oil (1/4 cup)
  • 280g bread flour (2 cups)
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
You will also need:
  • A good extra Virgin Olive oil to brush
  • coarse sea salt to sprinkle


  1. You will be doing this in three parts. First you will need to make the sponge.  Combine all of the ingredients for the sponge in a bowl and leave to ferment, covered for an hour. You will know it is ready when the surface is covered with bubbles of a variety of sizes.
  2. Once your sponge is ready add the second amount of ingredients, mixing all together well.  Tip out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 to 8 minutes until you have a dough which is smooth and soft and slightly moist.
  3. Tip the dough into an oiled bowl, turning it to coat lightly with oil. Cover with plastic cling film and set aside for 1 1/2 to 2 hours to rise. It should double in size.
  4. Punch down.  Lightly oil your baking tray. (10 by 15 inch with sides.)  Press the dough out onto the tray to fill it. If the dough pulls back, leave it for a few minutes and then press it out again.
  5. Cover lightly with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for another hour at which time it should double in size again.
  6. Preheat the oven to 230*C/450*F/ gas mark 7. 
  7. Dock the dough in the pan by making little divets all over it with your finger tips.  Brush with a good olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  8. Bake for 20  minutes in the preheated oven until golden brown.  Place on a wire rack to cool in the pan.  Cut into wedges or squares to serve.
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Have you tried sourdough yet or been tempted to?  If not, I can highly recommend. Once you get the hang of it, its really quite simple and there is no end to what you can do with the starter itself, and its discard! 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Cindy! I was very pleased with how it turned out! xoxo

  2. Replies
    1. I was really pleased with how this turned out Jeanie! xoxo


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