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Sourdough focaccia in a white pie plate.
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5 from 2 votes

Sourdough Focaccia Recipe- Beginner's Guide

If you are new to focaccia making, let this recipe help you to make the most amazing focaccia you can imagine!
Prep Time1 d
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 d 20 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: focaccia, homemade, sea salt, sourdough, spelt flour
Servings: 20
Author: Amy- A Red Spatula


  • 1 sheet pan or 9x13 pan
  • 1 glass bowl


  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour I used spelt, but you can also use red or white wheat.
  • 2 teaspoons salt plus more sea salt for topping
  • 2 ½ cups tepid water- about 95 degrees
  • cup active starter
  • ½-1 cup olive oil


  • This is a simplified version, so know it won't be as complicated as other focaccia recipes you may have seen. This is to make it a recipe anyone can make.
  • Add the water, starter, and salt to a bowl. Mix well, then add in the flour. Mix this until all the flour is incorporated. You can do this with your hands or with a spoon.
  • Cover and let this rest for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Now you will begin a series of 3 stretching and folding.
  • Pour the dough onto your surface. This dough will be sticky, if you aren't used to working with tacky dough, sprinkle just a touch of flour on the surface. Gently stretch the dough to a large oval.
  • Now start pulling the dough back in on itself. You can see this in the video. Once it is pulled in, gently knead as shown in the video.
  • Place back in the bowl and cover. Let this rest for 30 minutes and repeat the process 2 more times.
  • It is time for bulk fermentation. Cover the bowl and let it rise until it has risen about 30-40%. Mine took 2 hours in a 74-degree house.
  • Once it has risen, place it in the fridge for an overnight chill. This can be 12-224 hours. It should have also risen in the fridge. You will see bubbles have formed just under the surface.
  • When you are ready the next day, spray your pan with pan release or butter it. Then add in about ⅓-1/2 cup olive oil.
  • Gently turn out the dough onto the pan. Drizzle another ¼ cup of olive oil over the dough.
  • Cover and let this rise at room temperature for 4-6 hours. The dough should be very bubbly and jiggly.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle more olive oil over the surface and sprinkle with the sea salt. Gently dimple the dough with your fingers. You can see this in the video.
  • When the oven is ready, place the focaccia in the oven. If you are baking on a sheet pan, it will take about 20 minutes. In a 9x13 pan, it will take about 25 minutes. It should be a beautiful golden brown.
  • Remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes.


  • My recommended timeline looks like this- start mixing the dough at about 11 am. Mix through the process. Start bulk fermentation at about 1 pm. Around 5-6, it should be ready for the chill. Take it out the next morning for rising and bake.
  • I made this a plain focaccia, but there are so many add-ins you can use. Herbs and garlic are some of my favorites. You can also add in feta or parmesan for extra flavor. Finely chopped veggies are also delicious. The sky is the limit here.
  • How quickly the dough rises in bulk fermentation depends on how hot and cold your house is. If it is warmer, it will rise more quickly. Cooler and it will take a little longer.
  • Make sure and grease your pan before adding the olive oil. Focaccia is notorious for sticking, and olive oil does not always help. So, make sure and spray or butter it first.
  • Another thing to note is to make sure the starter is active and at its peak when you use it. This is a really helpful article about this if you are new to sourdough baking.
  • Preheat your oven before adding the bread. You want a good oven spring and that happens only if the oven is preheated and hot.
  • Focaccia will hold well for up to 3 days after baking. Make sure and cover or store it in an air-tight bag or container.