Easy Sourdough Focaccia Bread

This is a tasty and easy sourdough focaccia bread using a sourdough starter! It has a golden crust with flaky sea salt and a nice olive oil flavor.

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to make this focaccia recipe as there are two significant rise times, but trust me, it’s worth it!

baked sourdough focaccia bread baked and sliced on cooling rack

Easy Sourdough Focaccia Bread

Focaccia bread is a beautiful Italian bread that’s made using a dimpling technique to allow the top to be textured and soak in flavorful olive oil. I love this rendition that gives it a sourdough flavor thanks to using your active sourdough starter! If you’ve never made focaccia before, don’t let the long prep time scare you off. The prep itself isn’t terribly complicated. There are just a couple of longer rise times for the dough to do its thing as it gets ready to bake. The hands-on part of baking it is really simple, and very much worth the wait!

With a drizzle of olive oil on top before baking and a generous amount of flaky salt, the end product is crusty, soft in the middle, salty, and so very delicious. You can also add different toppings before it bakes, like herbs, cheese, tomatoes, or olives. It’s a great side for Italian stews like minestrone or even light pastas. It also goes great as a side for salads. Basically, it can go with so many things and you’ll be tempted to serve it with everything!

collage of step by step photos on how to make focaccia bread

Sourdough Focaccia Bread Ingredients:

I love that this is an easy recipe, especially if you already have a live and active sourdough starter.

Sourdough starter: If you don’t have a starter, let this be your first project! Learn how to make one here.

Water: Water is what activates the sourdough starter.

Flour: I use a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat.

Sea salt: Sea salt will add a little savory flavor.

Olive oil: Olive oil keeps the bread from sticking to the pan and gives the top a golden, flavorful, crusty factor.

Flaky salt: Flaky salt is added to the top before baking for added texture and savory saltiness that is incredible.

unbaked focaccia with air bubble on top and lots of olive oil

How to Make Sourdough Focaccia Bread:

Sourdough focaccia is very easy, but be sure to account for the rise times! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Whisk the starter and the water together in a large bowl.
  2. Add the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and salt, and use the fork to combine well.
  3. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel; let the dough rest for 30 to 90 minutes. 
  4. Pull the edge of the dough from the side of the bowl and push it down into the middle of the bowl. Do this, rotating around the bowl, until the dough comes together in more of a ball. This should take about a minute of going around the bowl 4 to 5 times.
  5. Cover the bowl with your towel; allow the dough to rest for 10 to 18 hours at room temperature.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Tuck the edges of the dough into the center; work around the edges until you’ve tucked them all in. Flip the dough ball over. Let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish by adding 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of the dish.
  8. Place dough directly in your prepared baking dish; pat it down a little with oiled fingers.
  9. Cover the pan with a damp towel; let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  10. Lift up the edge of the dough; gently pull it towards the corners of the pan. Repeat with each edge of the dough. Now use your fingers to gently coax the dough to fill in the bottom of the pan. It should be within an inch or so of the edges.
  11. Cover the pan with a damp cloth; allow the dough to rise a second time for 4 to 6 hours.
  12. Preheat your oven to 425℉ (218℃). 
  13. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the dough. Gently press down the dough evenly throughout the loaf, pushing down about an inch with your fingers.
  14. Sprinkle the top of the dough generously with sea salt.
  15. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top and bottom have browned nicely.

sliced focaccia bread on a rack

Tips for Making The Best Sourdough Focaccia:

Sourdough focaccia is a simple recipe, albeit time-consuming. Remember these tips to get the best bread:

  • Don’t worry that the dough is wetter than most bread doughs: It makes the bread chewier and allows for more holes to form.
  • Use a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour: The whole wheat helps the bread to be a bit thicker and less airy than other breads.
  • High-quality olive oil will create a stronger olive flavor: If you or your family don’t love that flavor, use a milder olive oil or even avocado oil or another less flavorful oil.

Serving Suggestions:

You can eat focaccia bread with SO many things. I love it as a side for Italian meals like pasta, minestrone, or caprese salad. It’s great dipped into all kinds of soups, including tomato soup and chili. It’s also a perfect side for any protein and veggie dinner to add a little carbohydrate to your plate!

How to Store Sourdough Focaccia Bread:

Let the focaccia cool completely before wrapping it tightly in foil or plastic wrap and then sealing in an airtight bag. Store in the fridge for 4 to 5 days or the freezer for much longer, up to 5 months.

bubbly baked focaccia bread

Here are some of my favorite sourdough recipes:

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baked sourdough focaccia bread baked and sliced on cooling rack

Easy Sourdough Focaccia Bread


  • Author: Melissa
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 15+ hours
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x

Description

This is a tasty and easy sourdough focaccia bread using a sourdough starter! It has a golden crust with flaky sea salt and a nice olive oil flavor.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 100 g (1/2 cup) active bubbly starter
  • 400 g (1 ⅔ cups) water
  • 50 g (scant ⅓ cup) whole wheat flour
  • 450 g (3 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 10 g (1 teaspoon) fine sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons (70 g) tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Quality flaky sea salt (like Maldon)

Instructions

  1. Make the dough by adding the starter and the water to a large bowl. Use a fork to whisk them together well.
  2. Add the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and salt, and use the fork to combine well. Stir until the mixture comes together into a rough dough and you’ve incorporated the flour well. The dough will be wetter than other doughs, and that is OK. This will help the focaccia have more holes in the crust and be chewier.
  3. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp kitchen towel, and let the dough rest for 30 to 90 minutes, depending on your schedule. 
  4. While the dough is resting, feed your starter, and store it according to your preference.
  5. After the dough has rested, use your hands to gently pull the edge of the dough from the side of the bowl and push it down into the middle of the bowl. Do this, rotating around the bowl, until the dough starts to look smooth and comes together in more of a ball. This should take about a minute of going around the bowl 4 to 5 times, pulling and tucking into the center.
  6. Cover the bowl with your damp towel, and allow the dough to rest for 10 to 18 hours at room temperature, about 70℉ (21℃).
  7. After the bulk rise, gently remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Tuck the edges of the dough into the center, and work around the edges until you’ve tucked them all in. Flip the dough ball over. Let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  8. Prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish by adding 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of the dish. Spread the olive oil evenly over the bottom of the dish.
  9. Remove the dough from the bowl, and place it directly in your prepared baking dish. Gently pat it down a little with oiled fingers. It won’t yet be ready to go to the edges of the pan. 
  10. Cover the pan with a damp towel, and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  11. With oiled hands, lift up the edge of the dough and gently pull it towards the corners of the pan. Repeat with each edge of the dough. Now use your fingers to gently coax the dough to fill in the bottom of the pan. It’s ok if it doesn’t reach the edges yet, but it should be within an inch or so of the edges.
  12. Cover the pan with a damp cloth, and allow the dough to rise a second time for 4 to 6 hours.
  13. The dough will have spread out to fill the pan and gotten a little puffy during this time.
  14. Preheat your oven to 425℉ (218℃). 
  15. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top of the dough. With your fingers spread out, gently press down the dough evenly throughout the loaf, pushing down about an inch. This is called dimpling. 
  16. Sprinkle the top of the dough generously with sea salt.
  17. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top and bottom have browned nicely.
  18. Remove the pan from the oven, let the bread rest in the pan for 10 minutes, and then remove the bread from the pan. Let it cool on a wire rack for at least another 10 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • No Maldon sea salt? Kosher salt will work in a pinch.
  • This bread has a strong olive oil flavor if you are using a good strong olive oil. If you don’t love that flavor, use a milder olive oil or even a lighter oil that you prefer. My kids prefer this recipe with a milder olive oil. 
  • I used an 11×7-inch pan for the loaf in the picture, so mine is thicker than a 9×13 loaf will be. You can use either size pan.
  • You can add things to the top of your focaccia. After you drizzle and dimple, feel free to dot the surface with pitted halved olives, fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, or little chunks of cubed hard cheese.
  • Category: sourdough
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 12
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 227.8 Fat: 6.9g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 561.3mg Carbohydrates: 35.1g Sugars: 1g Protein: 7.8g Vitamin A: 0µg Vitamin C: 0mg

Keywords: sourdough bread, sourdough bread recipe, sourdough focaccia, focaccia bread, sourdough focaccia bread

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Sourdough focaccia bread is a fun bread recipe that creates a lovely, golden, textured loaf of bread with crunchy, flaky sea salt on top!

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About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.