Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sourdough Focaccia

If you have been reading this blog,  you'll have noticed one thing. I bake too many things with 'sourdough' other than bread. You might think "If she doesn't want to bake bread out of sourdough, then why have it? ". Answer is very simple. When I do want to make something out of it, it is available for me.  Starter doesn't get ready to be used in couple of days. It takes weeks for it to be ready.
I converted 'Poolish Focaccia' from BBA book to use sourdough starter. If you don't fall in love with bread baking after you've tried this, I don't know what to tell you.
Sourdough Focaccia

I did add some green chillies to suit our taste. Omit it if you can't handle the heat. You can use your favorite herb for herb oil or leave it out and use just olive oil.
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For the sponge:
Sourdough starter - 1 cup (ripe)
All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Warm Water - 1/4 cup

For the dough:
All of the Sponge
All purpose flour - 1 1/3 Cups
Salt - 1 tsp
Olive oil - 3 TBSP
Water - 1/3 cup (warm)

Green chillies - 8 chopped fine (optional - pretty spicy)

To make herb oil:
Olive oil - 1/3 cup
Cilantro - chopped about 1/4 cup
Sourdough Focaccia

The day before:
Mix the starter with the remaining ingredients mentioned in the sponge in a non metallic bowl. If your starter is not very ripe, you could add a pinch of yeast here. Cover and let it sit overnight or for several hours. I left mine overnight. You will see lots of bubbles and holes in the sponge after 8 - 10 hours.

Day of:
Mix all of the ingredients mentioned in the 'for the dough'. This dough is super sticky. Beat for about 3 minutes. I was stirring using a wooden spoon and gave up after a minute. I could've let the bread machine do the job, but was lazy to clean one extra thing. I just let it rise for longer time.
After about 4 - 5  hours (remember we have not added any yeast here and it will take time), the dough will be puffy.
Make a bed of flour and scrape the contents of the bowl on to the bed of flour. Sprinkle the top with flour, stretch and dust off the extra flour and fold like an envelop. In the BBA book, they mention to do it twice but since I had not kneaded the dough properly, I went and folded four times. Coat with olive oil and let rest for 45 minutes covered to an hour. (If you use yeast, 30 minutes is good enough)
Repeat the process of this stretching and folding. Every time you do this, dough gets easier to handle. Third time when you do the stretch and fold, let it rest for an hour or more. If you are using green chillies, it is in the third stretch that you would be folding it in. I didn't want the chillies just on the top so I folded them in. Coat with oil and let it rest.

Prepare the herb oil if using. Heat olive oil in a pan. When warm, turn off the heat and add the chopped herb. Let it cool.
When ready to assembly, generously grease a 13 X 9 pan with olive oil. Place the envelop of dough gently and by greasing your hands, spread to cover the pan. Use only your finger tips. Dimple the dough and pour half of the herb oil. Cover and let rest for 2 hours or until puffy. At the end of final rise, pour the rest of the herb oil and if there are any huge air bubbles, break them. Let it rest for another 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 500 F. Sprinkle the focaccia with salt and place in the oven. Turn the heat down to 450 F. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 10 minutes. Check the internal temperature. Mine was done at this time. It should read 200 F. And the top will be golden. Not a dark, but a pale golden. Remove from the pan and cool on the wire rack. Don't slice for 30 minutes at least.

This tasted awesome. Pretty spicy, but it is one of the best focaccia that I have baked. I have been baking focaccia even before I started blogging, so I have had my share of focaccia baking.
Sourdough Focaccia

To make this without sourdough starter:
If you don't have the sourdough starter, use 1/4 tsp instant yeast along with 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 3/4 cup of warm water. After the overnight rise, to make the dough, you will be using everything mentioned in the 'for the dough' section plus 3/4 tsp of instant yeast. Follow the steps as mentioned with reduced rest periods between the stretching and folding. 30 minutes should be fine in between the folds.

Since Priya was interested in knowing the calories, I calculated it. This is very approximate.
This goes to yeastspotting and BBD#37.
Enjoy. Pin It


  1. Looks just wonderful!! I am yet to try sour-dough breads, want to try very soon. The second picture looks absolutely gorgeous!!!

  2. wow!!!!looks awesome and love the way you take your pics!!!!

  3. What a lovely looking focaccia!!! Sooooooo nice the pics are!

  4. I am yet to fiddle with sourdough!! but the pictures are awesome pushing me towards getting to know sourdough better!!

  5. I am a big freshly baked bread fan!...and on top of that, I am a sourdough fan..even my hubby!
    U make it look so easy...I only struggle!...I will have to try this soon!

  6. wow i cant move my eyes out of ur pictures.superb post

  7. Oh wow, I want a piece of your focaccia. It looks so soft and yummy.

  8. Sourdough is in my to-do-list from long time & I guess it gonna take me another long time to get my hands on focaccia,it' slooking so soft......I have made it twice with yeast but it's been a while.....feel like baking one now....

  9. This is something that I have to learn to make. Not, sourdough in specific, but focaccia, as both hubby and I love it. Any idea on number of calories in this?

  10. Wow that looks so soft and what a texture realy simply superb Champa.

  11. I read so much about this, yet never get the courage to try it myself. the process always sounds daunting to look awesome..

  12. Love the way you spiced up this foccacia, Champa. And what a great turn out for BBD#37!

  13. Champa, since I will not be able to beat the dough with a spoon too for more than a minute, I beat and then let it rest for 4-5 hours? Is it enough if the dough is just puffy and not double? To halve this recipe, will an 8'' square Borosil pan work?

  14. Suma,
    Puffy is good. 8" pan will be a little big for half the dough. It will work, but your focaccia will be thinner and you will have to adjust the baking time.

  15. Anyway I can put the whole thing in 2 pans?

  16. Suma, as long as the two pans combined have the same perimeter as the 13 X 9 pan, you are good. I don't know what sized pans you are going to use.


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