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Easy Sourdough Focaccia Bread Recipe

focaccia bread sourdough

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Sourdough focaccia bread is more than just a delicious treat – it's a symbol of tradition, craftsmanship, and the timeless art of breadmaking.

Focaccia bread is an easy bread to pair with any dinner and an easy bread to bake. I especially love focaccia when I am eating pastas or soups if the focaccia is loaded with herbs and vegetables—it gives another layer of taste to dinner!

Not only that, taking focaccia a step further and using a sourdough starter to bake it, adds another depth of flavor to this simple bread. With its roots deeply embedded in Italian culinary history, this humble yet versatile bread has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. In this blog, we'll delve into how to make sourdough focaccia bread from your own homestead kitchen.

What is a sourdough starter?

The history of sourdough bread is as ancient as civilization itself, and you can bring that history into your homestead kitchen by making a sourdough starter.

Before the advent of modern commercial yeast, our ancestors relied on wild yeasts and lactobacilli present in the environment to ferment their bread dough. Our ancestors didn’t have grocery stores that they could waltz into and grab commercial yeast off of the shelf.

They had to figure out alternative leavening methods for their bread, and that is a sourdough starter. Natural fermentation process not only leavened the bread but also imparted a distinct tangy flavor and made the bread easier to digest.

Can you make sourdough focaccia bread?

Yes! What makes sourdough focaccia bread so irresistible? Perhaps it's the tantalizing aroma that fills the kitchen as it bakes in the oven, or the golden crust that crackles with every bite.

Even just looking at a focaccia bread is a feat in and of itself because of how beautiful they are! Imagine taking a bread staple like focaccia, adding in the tanginess of sourdough, sprinkling on a variety of herbs, imbedding it with different varieties of cheeses, and embellishing with diverse vegetables.

Not to mention the olive oil that you will douse the bread with! Once you make sourdough focaccia bread at home, you will never need to buy it from the store again.

What ingredients do you need to make sourdough focaccia bread?

What I love about most bread recipes is that you will most likely have the ingredients already in your pantry.

To make focaccia bread, all you need is yeast (store-bought or a sourdough starter,) flour, water, salt, olive oil, and your choice of toppings.

What toppings can you put on focaccia bread?

You can put anything you want, really. The sky is the limit when it comes to deciding how to decorate your focaccia.

A traditional topping includes lots of olive oil. You essentially douse the dough in olive oil. I love this because olive oil is a healthy oil, so more the merrier! You can also add sprinklings of coarse sea salt and scatter fragrant herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, or oregano.

You can craft beautiful garden-inspired focaccia breads that are decorated with a myriad of produce from your garden. Think thinly sliced onions, garlic cloves, cherry tomatoes, chives, shallots, or olives.

You can add grated or cubed cheese to enhance the flavor profile and the appearance of your sourdough focaccia bread. If you prefer a sweeter focaccia bread, you can top your focaccia with caramelized onions or roasted grapes.

The key is to have fun, try different flavors and variations of focaccia bread and see what you are your family make.

Baking focaccia is easy, so let’s get started!

focaccia bread sourdough

Sourdough Focaccia Bread

Sourdough focaccia bread is more than just a delicious treat – it's a symbol of tradition, craftsmanship, and the timeless art of breadmaking.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup active sourdough starter
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour (all-purpose flour works too)
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp salt (flaky sea salt is preferred)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Toppings of your choice (such as fresh herbs, garlic, cherry tomatoes, olives, or cheese)

Instructions
 

  • Preparing the Sourdough Starter: If you don't already have an active sourdough starter, you can make one easily. Follow the directions here How To Make A Sourdough Starter.
    As a heads up, getting a sourdough starter strong enough to make focaccia bread can take 5-7 days of regular feeding and fermentation. Once you have a sourdough starter though, you can have it for the rest of your life if you continue to feed it and care for it properly.
  • Making the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the active sourdough starter with bread or all-purpose flour, lukewarm water, salt, and olive oil. Mix until a rough dough forms. You can also use a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment on.
    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. If using a standing mixer, allow to knead in the mixer on low speed.
    Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature for 4-6 hours, or until it doubles in size. Keep in mind, the dough will rise faster in a warm area. If your kitchen is cold, it may take longer to rise.
  • Shaping and Proofing: Transfer the risen dough to the prepared baking sheet and gently stretch it out to fit the pan.
    This is where it gets fun! Use your fingertips to create dimples in the surface of the dough.
    Drizzle the dough with additional olive oil and sprinkle with your chosen toppings, pressing them lightly into the dough. Don’t be afraid to drench the dough in olive oil and fill the pockets you created.
    Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let it proof for an additional 30-60 minutes, or until it becomes puffy and light.
  • Baking: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.
    Once the dough has finished proofing, remove the plastic wrap or towel and place the baking sheet in the preheated oven.
    Bake the focaccia for 20-25 minutes, or until it's golden brown and crispy on the outside.
    Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool slightly before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

In a world filled with mass-produced, processed foods, sourdough focaccia bread stands out as a beacon of authenticity, flavor, and as a real homestead exhibit. In my opinion, sourdough enhances any recipe, especially those of breads.

I love that sourdough can make a bread recipe easier to digest due to the fermentation, so the focaccia can be easier on your stomach. Allow the aroma of this wonderful recipe to fill your kitchen and the chewy bread to fill your belly.

Next time you bite into a slice of sourdough focaccia, take a moment to savor not just the flavor but the centuries-old legacy that lives on in every crumb and now in your kitchen.

FAQs

What makes sourdough focaccia different from other types of bread?

Sourdough focaccia is distinctively tangy and flavorful, thanks to the natural fermentation process of sourdough starter. It also has a softer texture and richer flavor compared to traditional yeasted bread.

Can I make sourdough focaccia bread without a sourdough starter?

While traditional sourdough focaccia requires a sourdough starter, you can try using a small amount of commercial yeast as a substitute. Keep in mind that the flavor, digestibility, and texture may be slightly different.

What are some popular toppings for sourdough focaccia bread?

Popular toppings for sourdough focaccia include fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, thinly sliced onions, cherry tomatoes, olives, sea salt, and olive oil. You can also get creative with ingredients like roasted garlic, caramelized onions, or grated cheese.

How long does it take to make sourdough focaccia bread from start to finish?

The total time for making sourdough focaccia bread varies depending on factors like fermentation time and proofing temperature, but it typically takes around 6-8 hours from start to finish.

Can I freeze sourdough focaccia bread?

Yes, sourdough focaccia bread freezes well. Simply wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the freezer for up to several months. Thaw at room temperature before reheating.

Easy Sourdough Focaccia Bread Recipe

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