Sourdough focaccia is one of my favourite bakes, it’s so versatile. At the same time perfect when I have friends over for a meal and I want to impress them. Or I need to take something for a picnic or a barbecue at friends

Nothing quite beats a steamy focaccia and a dip in olive oil.

Ingredients for a medium size focaccia

(suitable for 4 people to begin the meal with)

400g flour: 350g italian 00, 50g semola rimacinata

320g water (80%)
100g ripe starter (25%)
10g olive oil (2.5%)
8g salt (2%)

[If you do not have a sourdough starter, and would like to make one from scratch, you may want to check my Sourdough starter guide. You will then be able to bake not only this amazing sourdough focaccia, but also sourdough bread and other goodies.]

[If you do not have 00 flour and semola rimacinata (which is not semolina), you can replace the 00 flour with bread flour / strong white flour and the semola rimacinata either with bread flour, or any other wholegrain flour to your liking]

[If this is your first time making focaccia. This dough is rather wet, so you might want to reduce the amount of water slightly to 300g instead this time]


Feed the starter and leave it out on the counter overnight.

I use a feeding ratio of 1:4:4 (15g starter + 60g water + 60g flour). My starter would have reached its peak by next morning and be ready to use.

[You can also use 1-2 days old ‘discard’ should you have some starter that hasn’t been used. Just bear in mind that the focaccia might come out a bit more sour in flavour, and the older the discard, the less power to make your dough rise]

DAY 2 morning

[Timings below are indicative only. Feel free to start the dough later in the day should you need to. Just make sure the overall timings are followed]


Add all ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix for about 10min. The first 2-3min on low speed, then on medium speed. This is a relatively wet dough, which at the beginning will be rather runny and sticky, difficult to handle. Resist the temptation to add more flour, the instinct will be to fix it.

Throughout the bulk fermentation you will notice how the dough transforms, from a messy mass to a wonderful, smooth and elastic dough. It’s the development of the gluten network that helps it.

With a scraper, clean the sides of the bowl, trying to bring the dough at the centre of the bowl. Cover and let it rest on the counter for an hour now.

[Should you not have a stand mixer, you can also mix this dough by hand. Start with adding the water to a bowl, followed by the starter. Stir it well until the starter is completely dissolved. Then add the flour and mix well (4-5min), until no dry flour is left. Add the salt and the olive oil, and mix well, until it all comes together again, for about 8-10min. Cover the bowl and let it rest on the counter for an hour]


Time for a first stretch & fold. You may want to wet your hands before handling the dough, it will be sticky at this stage. Use the scraper should you need extra help


Time for a second stretch & fold. Do not forget to wet your hands


You can either do another stretch & fold, or move the dough to a more shallow bowl and do a coil fold instead. It’s your call. I do prefer a coil fold as I find it more gentle to the dough, and also helping in achieving a more smooth dough by the end of the bulk fermentation


4th fold (whichever technique you prefer). By now the dough should be visibly smoother, more elastic, less sticky. At touch it should feel like it’s been filled with air.

11.45AM / 12.15 AM 2 additional folds, at 30min intervals.

[You can also skip some of these folds and go for 40-45min intervals in between instead. Since it’s a focaccia dough, it is more forgiving as doesn’t have to hold a particular shape at the end (like a loaf of bread)]

day 2 afternoon


It’s the end of bulk fermentation

Oil a baking tray, or line it with parchment paper. You’re now ready to transfer the dough for the final proofing in the same tray in which it will be baked. The baking tray I use for this quantity of dough is 29cm x19cm. You can find it here.

Cover the tray (I use a damp kitchen towel or a plastic cover) and let it on the counter for 3-4h.


Pre heat the oven to 230°C / 450°F for 15min


Drizzle the focaccia with olive oil, lightly massage the surface to spread the olive oil evenly and oil your fingers too, no pressure at this point.

Now press your fingers into the dough to make dimples. Top it with your preferred topping or keep it simple with sea salt flakes, sprigs of rosemary and tomatoes. You might want to watch this video.

Bake at 230°C / 450°F for 20-25min, fan mode on.

Lastly if you can, leave the focaccia cool down for at least 20-30min before serving it. While it’s nice to have it warm, you don’t want it to be dough when cut.

[If you double the amount and bake a bigger focaccia instead, extend the baking time by 5-7min]

Plans have changed?

If you are not ready to bake it that early in the day, at the end of the bulk fermentation, just pop the bowl with the dough in the fridge till later. 1h before you bake it, take the dough out of the fridge and move it to the baking tray. Let it come to room temperature for 1h before baking it.

If you have to bake it the following day instead. At the end of the bulk fermentation, move the focaccia to a clean bowl which you oil with olive oil before. Pop it in the fridge till next day. 2h or so before baking it, remove the dough from the fridge and move it to the baking tray (oil it before or use parchment paper).

Pre heat the oven to 230°C / 450°F for 15min

Bake at 230°C / 450°F for 20-25min, fan mode on.

Lastly if you can, leave the focaccia cool down for at least 20-30min before serving it. While it’s nice to have it warm, you don’t want it to be dough when cut.

If you WANT to have the focaccia ready for lunch

Prep the dough the day before. You can follow the same steps and timings for the bulk fermentation.

I would feed the starter in the morning, prep the focaccia in the afternoon, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. At the end of the bulk fermentation, transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, and cover it while in the fridge (plastic reusable shower cap, bowl with lid, damp towel, any would work)

Next morning, take the bowl out from the fridge and transfer the dough to a tray. Let it come to room temperature for 1.5-2h. Bake as above.

should you be interested in learning more about how to make a starter from scratch or how to maintain it over time or looking to improve your sourdough bread making?
My guides might come at hand

2 responses to “Sourdough focaccia recipe”

  1. Jacque avatar

    Good clear instructions on the focaccia. I think I can try it.

  2. Larissa avatar

    Made this with my starter discard and it is amazing! Very clear instructions.

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