I did a lot of bread baking during the first six months of 2020, and as difficult as last year was, I did learn to bake with sourdough and perfected both my sourdough bread and my sourdough focaccia. I won’t go into detail on how to make a sourdough starter as it is pretty involved. It does take time and patience although it is actually quite easy. There are many articles online on making a sourdough starter from scratch with step-by-step instructions. I have had my starter for years, and if I am not going to use it for a few months, I freeze it. It then takes about a week of frequent feedings to get it back to a bubbly, active starter again.
During my sourdough education, one tip I learned was that if I plan to bake bread, then I feed my starter both the evening before and the morning of, at least three hours before assembling my ingredients. This double feeding ensures that my starter is very active. This focaccia is one of my husband’s favorites, made with chopped Kalamata olives kneaded into the dough. You can make the recipe as is or skip the addition of the olives if you prefer.
Deborah Mele 2021
- 1 1/2 Cups (340g) Ripe Sourdough Starter
- 1 1/2 Cups (340g) Lukewarm Water
- 6 Cups (723g) Unbleached Bread Flour
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Salt
- 1 1/2 Cups Pitted Kalamata Olives, Chopped
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Combine the starter and water in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the flour to the starter, water, and remaining ingredients.
- Mix and knead either by hand or stand mixer until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes by hand, 5 to 7 minutes by machine,
- Place the dough in a bowl that's been lightly coated with olive oil, cover, and allow to rise for 60 minutes.
- Gently fold the dough over three or four times, and let it rise for another 60 minutes.
- Drizzle the olive oil into the center of a large baking sheet, then use your fingers to spread over the bottom and sides.
- Transfer the dough to the pan, and turn it over to coat it with the oil.
- Gently stretch the dough towards the edges and corners of the pan.
- Cover the dough, rest 20 minutes, then continue to stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Cover the pan and transfer it to the refrigerator to let the dough rise overnight.
- The next day, remove the pan of dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Dimple the top of the dough with your fingertips, then drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt, letting dough rest at least 20 minutes.
- Bake the focaccia for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove the focaccia from the oven.
- Allow it to cool enough for you to handle it comfortably, 10 to 15 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack.
- Slice into squares or strips, serve and enjoy.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 386Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 685mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 3gSugar: 0gProtein: 10g