This post is sponsored by Carapelli Olive Oil. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.
While I love a hearty whole-grain sourdough loaf, nothing hits the spot like a fresh piece of focaccia fresh out of the oven. With a salted top, chewy interior, and crisp bottom, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of soup or stew. But it’s also a pretty tasty snack on its own, dipped in some good olive oil.
Focaccia is also one of the simplest breads to make, so it’s great for beginners or for days when you don’t have the time to babysit your dough. You don’t have to do much shaping or kneading for this bread — just mix, let it double, fold and let double again (this gives an extra airy, even texture); then gently turn into an oiled pan and let it rise some more before topping and baking. I’ve found that the key to really good focaccia is patience — really give it time to double twice for the best texture and flavor, and don’t be in a hurry to push it out to the edges of your pan.
For this sourdough focaccia, I used Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil to create a flavorful bread with a crisp bottom and luscious, chewy interior. It’s especially delicious served with Carapelli Founders Edition Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a fresh and well-balanced blend with notes of wildflower and citrus. While you can top your focaccia with anything you want, I like to keep it simple with flaky salt, pepper, and a light sprinkling of herbs and parmesan to let the flavor of the bread and olive oil really shine.
A few notes:
- I typically mix and bake focaccia in the same day, but you can retard the dough overnight too. You can refrigerate the dough either after the first doubling (fold, then put in the fridge to double again, then proceed as written); or you can refrigerate the dough after it’s been turned out into the oiled pan.
- If you’re baking for a crowd, you can double this recipe and bake it in two 8-inch pans or in one 9×13 pan.
Makes one 8×8 pan
- 95g ripe sourdough starter (100% hydration)
- 156g water
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for coating the pan and drizzling)
- 213g bread flour
- 10g rye flour
- 5g sea salt
- Flaky salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and grated parmesan
- Mix together all ingredients from starter through sea salt until smooth. Transfer to a well oiled container and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel.
- Let dough rise until doubled (this can take 3-6 hours, depending on the temperature and the strength of your starter). Fold, then let double again.
- Pour a couple Tbsp of olive oil into 8×8 pan and tilt to cover the entire bottom.
- Carefully turn dough into the oiled pan, doing your best not to let it deflate. Let rest, covered, for 30 minutes, then gently press from the center out to fill the corners. (If the dough resists at all, let it rest for another 10 minutes and try again.) Let rise, covered, until very puffy and airy (in my 2-inch high pan, the dough comes up halfway). This usually takes me 2-3 hours (longer if the dough has been refrigerated overnight — see notes above). About 30-60 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500F with a rack and baking stone (if you have one) in the middle.
- When you’re ready to bake, drizzle the focaccia with olive oil and dimple the top with your fingers. Sprinkle with flaky salt, black pepper, and thyme leaves, if desired.
- Bake at 500F for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 450F and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned and risen. Sprinkle on some parmesan during the last 10 minutes of baking, if you’d like.
- Let the focaccia cool in the pan for a couple of minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack. It’s best served fresh out of the oven, but leftovers can be wrapped in foil and re-warmed in a low oven the next couple of days.