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Sourdough Focaccia

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This Sourdough Focaccia is a delicious Italian bread, combining a chewy sourdough with pesto sauce and shredded parmesan cheese. Add this bread to any Italian meal or eat it plain with a crisp glass of wine!

Have you hopped on the sourdough bandwagon yet? If so, try my Sourdough Bagels, the best ever Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread, and some Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread next!

Closeup on some sliced sourdough focaccia with fresh basil.

Focaccia with Sourdough Starter

This focaccia bread uses a sourdough starter to develop a delicious “sour” flavor. The addition of fresh basil pesto sauce and parmesan cheese adds additional flavor that can’t be matched.

My yeast-based Italian Focaccia Bread is also delicious!

Why This Recipe Works:

  • It’s simple. As mentioned, this has only seven ingredients and is quick to mix up.
  • The pesto sauce and parmesan cheese add great flavor. I keep my homemade pesto sauce in the freezer for recipes just like this! And the parmesan cheese is a perfect addition.
  • Gut healthy. Sourdough is a gut healthy bread. Sourdough bread is NOT gluten-free, as it contains flour, but its long fermentation helps break down this gluten. It’s easier on the gut because it’s more digestible and easier for the body to absorb.
  • Higher Hydration. This recipe is 70% hydration which means it’s softer and has a more open crumb. You’ll see more “holes” in this bread due to a higher water to flour ratio. 
  • Delicious! We love the “sour” flavor of sourdough bread and this one is just right.
A hand reaching for a piece of sourdough focaccia from a stack.

Ingredients Used:

  • Bubbly Starter – The starter is THE most important part of sourdough bread making. It takes a little time, but you will be rewarded over and over again. I will eventually be documenting how to make a starter, but in the meantime, there are many resources on the internet. 
  • Filtered Water – Use a filtered water, either out of your refrigerator filter system or use bottled water. The water should either be room temperature or slightly warmed before adding it to the sourdough process.
  • Pesto Sauce – I use my Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce, but any pesto will work.
  • Flour – For this recipe, use a combo of unbleached bread flour and all-purpose flour.
  • Sea Salt – I recommend using fine sea salt.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Some freshly shredded parmesan cheese adds incredible flavor to this focaccia. (No powdered parmesan PLEASE!)
  • Olive Oil – You’ll need about three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Italian Seasoning – Optional, but really nice in this bread!
The ingredients for the sourdough focaccia bread with pesto and parmesan.

How to make Sourdough Focaccia:

Step 1
Carefully measure out the ingredients except the parmesan cheese (in the order listed) and combine in a mixing bowl. Use a fork and stir.

Step 2
Then use your hands to bring the ingredients together. It will look shaggy. Cover with a damp towel and let it sit for 45 minutes. (Be sure to set a timer.) This is the AUTOLYSE.

Step 3
After 45 minutes, add the parmesan cheese to the bowl. Then start the stretch and folds. Use your hand and lift the dough up on one side, stretching it upward, and then punch into the center of the dough. Turn the dough and repeat. Continue this process for about 30 seconds. This is the STRETCH AND FOLDS.

Step 4
Let the dough rise for eight hours, or overnight. It should almost double in size and appear soft on top. Small air bubbles may appear as well. This is the BULK RISE. (During this bulk rise, I occasionally do additional stretch and folds during the first hour, but this is not required.)

Note: I recommend placing a damp towel on the dough for the overnight rise. You might also add a bit of oil to the top to keep a crust from forming on the dough overnight.

Step 5
Use a 9×13 inch pan or slightly bigger. Add the olive oil to the pan and then add the sourdough, pushing down slightly to fill the pan. Then take the dough with your hands and gently flip it so that the other side is down in the pan. Don’t punch the dough down because you don’t want to remove all the air.

Cover with a damp towel and let it sit on your countertop for another 2-4 hours, or until it is very soft and puffy. This is the SECOND RISE.

Step 6
Prepare for baking. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Carefully use your fingers to form dimples all over the dough. Then add the Italian Seasoning to the dough.

Step 7
Bake. Bake focaccia for about 30 minutes, or until bread is nice and golden on top.

Step 8
Cool. Carefully remove bread to a cooling rack. Add fresh basil to the top.

Unlike other sourdough bread I’ve made, you can slice this bread when it is still slightly warm.

Other Delicious Sourdough Recipes

I’m really enjoying being on this sourdough journey and hope you are trying some of my recipes! Here are a handful of my favorites!

The large sourdough focaccia with fresh basil.

What to serve with Sourdough Focaccia Bread:

This focaccia bread goes with SO many things including the following.

This focaccia also is a great addition to a charcuterie board with various dips, cheeses, and Italian meats.

Side shot of some stacked focaccia on a cooling rack.

xoxo ~Sue

My hand reaching for a piece of sourdough focaccia that is stacked on a plate.

Sourdough Focaccia

This Sourdough Focaccia is a delicious Italian bread, combining a chewy sourdough with pesto sauce and shredded parmesan cheese. Add this bread to any Italian meal or eat it plain with a crisp glass of wine!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Bread
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rise/Ferment Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 181kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

  • 75 grams bubbly, active sourdough starter
  • 375 grams warm, filtered water
  • 40 grams basil pesto
  • 300 grams unbleached bread flour
  • 200 grams unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 10 grams fine sea salt
  • 100 grams freshly ground parmesan cheese
  • 50 grams olive oil – for prepping to bake
  • a few sprinkles of Italian Seasoning

Instructions

  • Carefully measure out the ingredients except the parmesan cheese (in the order listed) and combine in a mixing bowl. Use a fork and stir.
  • Then use your hands to bring the ingredients together. It will look shaggy. Cover with a damp towel and let it sit for 45 minutes. (Be sure to set a timer.) This is the AUTOLYSE.
  • After 45 minutes, add the parmesan cheese to the bowl. Then start the stretch and folds. Use your hand and lift the dough up on one side, stretching it upward, and then punch into the center of the dough. Turn the dough and repeat. Continue this process for about 30 seconds. This is the STRETCH AND FOLDS.
  • Let the dough rise for eight hours, or overnight. It should almost double in size and appear soft on top. Small air bubbles may appear as well. This is the BULK RISE. (During this bulk rise, I occasionally do additional stretch and folds during the first hour, but this is not required.)
  • Note: I recommend placing a damp towel on the dough for the overnight rise. You might also add a bit of oil to the top to keep a crust from forming on the dough overnight.
  • Use a 9×13 inch pan or slightly bigger. Add the olive oil to the pan and then add the sourdough, pushing down slightly to fill the pan. Then take the dough with your hands and gently flip it so that the other side is down in the pan. Don’t punch the dough down because you don’t want to remove all the air.
  • Cover with a damp towel and let it sit for about an 2-4 hours, or until it's very soft and puffy. This is the SECOND RISE.
  • Prepare for baking. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Carefully use your fingers to form dimples all over the dough. Then add the Italian Seasoning to the dough.
  • Bake. Bake focaccia for about 30 minutes, or until bread is nice and golden on top.
  • Cool. Carefully remove bread to a cooling rack. Add fresh basil to the top. Slice focaccia and serve.

Notes

You will need a sourdough starter for this bread. A starter can be created in less than a week with a simple combo of unbleached flour and filtered water. It’s a process of removing half of the starter and then “feeding” it every day, storing in a jar on your countertop, and getting it to a bubbly, sour point where it floats in water.

Nutrition

Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 376mg | Potassium: 44mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

One Comment

  1. Delicious and it keeps my gut healthy…. good enough for me!

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