Updated: Jan 19, 2020
One of the best parts about working for an Italian restaurant group is the joy of making fresh focaccia. It is truly one of the most relaxing and hypnotic activities because there is so much room for creativity. There's the oh so fun part of docking the dough to create that classic focaccia look. If you have a fresh herb garden nearby, even better, because baking sourdough focaccia with fresh herbs and olive oil produces a high quality and authentic result.
What You'll Need (for levain build)
100 grams Mature Sourdough Starter
50 grams King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat Flour
150 grams King Arthur Organic Bread Flour
200 grams Warm Water
What You'll Need (Final Mix)
500 grams Organic All-Purpose Flour
500 grams Organic Bread Flour
250 grams levain
730 grams cold water
30 grams sugar
25 grams olive oil
25 grams salt
Olive Oil as needed
Fresh herbs as needed
Toppings such as Olives, Tomatoes, Onions, Capers, etc.
What You Need To Do
This levain build is ready pretty quickly, as we are adding 50% starter to the amount of flour. I like to make these strong, high inoculation levain builds because they give me a more reasonable baking time frame when I want to start my mixes.
Dissolve your levain into 80% of the water.
Add the flour and sugar into the water mixture and mix until there is no dry flour left. Let this mixture come together for 1 hour, covered, and in a warm area.
After this hour has elapsed, add the olive oil, salt, and the remaining water.
Squeeze together with your hands until the water, oil, and salt absorb into the dough. Try not to tear the dough. This process might take about 5 minutes.
Take the dough out of the bowl and perform a slap and fold, or some stretching and folding to the dough. We want to start building a nice strong structure.
Once your dough is almost smooth, stretch your dough and/or knead until it has a smooth surface. Now, we can let the dough rest in the bowl for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes has elapsed, perform a stretch and fold of your dough to continue building strength. Repeat this process one more time for a total of 2 stretch and folds.
Allow your dough to rise for 4-6 hours. It should be nice and bubbly to the touch, with a web-like structure at the bottom.
Flour your work surface and dump out your dough. Shape into a long cylinder by using your pinkies to fold the dough from the top and into the center of itself. Do this a few times until you have a loosely shaped cylinder .
Rub the dough with olive oil and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge for 12 hours.
Preheat your oven to 450-500f. I like to bake focaccia hot so that it gets nice and crispy!
Coat your dough with olive oil and use your fingers to begin docking the dough with both hands until you have an even pattern of peaks and valleys. You don't want to tear through the bottom of the dough so don't be too rough with it!
Mince up any herbs and/or toppings you want on your focaccia. I tend to opt for oregano, rosemary, and tomato. I've also enjoyed one with capers, olives, cherry tomato, and red onion. At this point you can let your dough proof again for another hour or two if you feel it was not active enough during docking.
Bake the focaccia for 15-20 minutes or until it is slightly darker than golden brown. I like to make sure I have a nice crispy bite and chewy interior.
Enjoy warm with olive oil and balsamic vinegar! Or by itself. Do your thing.