Sourdough Focaccia

We like bread. We like bread in all forms. We also love pizza. So, focaccia is just a given. Making a focaccia that has a tender airy inside but crisp crust isn’t always possible, but this recipe does so pretty easily once you get the hang of it! It is a combination of recipes from other sites, but the biggest influence was The Perfect Loaf and his was the recipe I started from. I made some adjustments from trial and error for my kitchen and my flour. You may find that you need to do the same.

Ingredients
Makes two 13×9 focaccias

Dough
690 g all purpose flour
296 g bread flour
688 g water
188 g sourdough starter
18 g salt
20 g olive oil plus

Toppings (really this is yours to decide!)
6-8 T olive oil
Grape tomatoes, halved
Kalmata olives, halved
Fresh rosemary 
Chopped scallion
Sea salt

Process

Mid morning – When your sourdough starter is at its peak, mix starter, water, flour, and salt and knead until it becomes an elastic-y mass. You can do this by hand, but it’s much easier with a stand mixer and dough hook! With the dough hook, I kneaded it for about 5 minutes. By hand will take longer. If the dough is overly solid, add a little more water, but do it slowly. You don’t want a totally cohesive blob of dough, but you also don’t want runny soup. Add the olive oil and mix an additional 3-5 minutes until dough is again coming together. It should be a little chunky at this point but should not be completely settling down into the bowl immediately if you push it toward the inside. Cover the dough and place it in a warm location. I used my oven with the oven off but the light on.

From mid-morning to early afternoon – Allow the dough to rest for 2 hours, doing a stretch and fold every 30 minutes (4 times). While this is happening, select your pans for baking. I used large stoneware bar pans the first time I made this (about 14×10) and they were a little thinner than I liked. So, I switched to a deeper 13×9 pan the second time. This also allowed me to more effectively cover the pans so the dough didn’t dry out on top. When you are reaching the end of the two hours, coat the bottom of each pan liberally with olive oil and wipe up onto the sides. At the end of the 2 hours, divide the dough into two masses and transfer to your olive-oiled baking pans and cover. For the next two hours, gently press the dough toward the pan sides every 30 minutes. Hopefully, there is some tension present that causes it to want to spring back toward the center. By the end of the two hours, it will relax enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

From early to mid-afternoon – Once the dough is spread out in the pans at the end of the period prior, allow the dough to sit covered and untouched for 2 hours or until it has become very bubbly, risen some, and feels like some sort of weird puffy marshmallow fluff or something. 

Mid-afternoon – Preheat oven to 450* at the end of the final rise while you prep the toppings for the dough. Ideally, it will be heated for close to 30 minutes total.

Late afternoon – When dough is ready, poke holes down to the bottom of the pan all over the dough and drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil over the dough and into the little holes. Add your toppings and push gently into the dough. How you top it is really up to you! I made the vegan version with the grape tomatoes, rosemary, scallions, and kalamata olives. The omnivores got one that was not vegan friendly, so I won’t describe it here. After toppings are on, finish with a sprinkling of sea salt.

Late afternoon to early evening – Place pans on a rack in the bottom third of the pre-heated oven. Try to fit both pans on one rack or put one in the fridge while you bake the other. Bake 20 minutes and then turn and bake for 15 more. At that point, begin to check for the tops to become a nice golden brown. How long you let that go is kind of a matter of preference. If you have two pans in on the same rack, you may need to increase the time significantly due to blocked airflow. I actually could have let this one go another 3-5 minutes for my preference.


Allow to cool a few minutes then remove and slice! 

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