APPETIZERS/ BAKES/ SIDES

Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary

Hello, Welcome to Djalali Cooks. I suppose I am on a bit of baking kick this week. Did you catch yesterday’s Stuffing Biscuits? Last week I revived my sourdough starter; it had been unfed in the fridge for about 4 months. After a few days in the warm kitchen, regularly fed, it bubbled back to life. I think focaccia might be one of my favorite breads. Especially when it’s Sourdough Focaccia. Along with this recipe, we have a honey ricotta spread making this combo a great appetizer or side for the holiday table. Let’s get right to it – Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary!

Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary

If you don’t have a sourdough starter living quietly in your refrigerator, you can make one in about a week. But also, you can buy one! I would recommend King Arthur’s Fresh Sourdough Starter. My own starter is only a couple years old, but the Fresh Starter from King Arthur is decades old! Which is pretty cool.

This will be a two-day adventure. Just a little work each day and you will have beautiful warm focaccia. Dipping, spreading and sandwiching; focaccia is super versatile, it freezes really well so it’s great to have on hand for when you have company popping by for cocktails. Plus, I think it makes a very impressive bread to serve with dinner.

Day One: the Dough

Sourdough Focaccia ingredients

The original recipe is from King Arthur. Their recipe calls for instant yeast, but I just have Active Dry Yeast, so I let the refrigerated yeast bloom in 1/4 cup of 87 degree water until it got foamy and active (skip this step if you’re using instant yeast).

Aside from that, we have honey, Kosher salt, sourdough starter, olive oil, flour, and 87 degree (lukewarm) water. I reduced the amount of water to 1 and 1/4 cups because I have the yeast hanging out in 1/4 cup of water. If you’re using instant yeast, the total amount of water should be 1.5 cups. Make sense?

I recommend using a stand mixer to mix the dough, but you can do this by hand too. Start by combining the 1.5 cups of sourdough starter and the water in a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. When your yeast is foamy and active, pour the yeast into the bowl with the starter and water; along with the honey. Pour the 720 grams (~6 cups) of all-purpose flour into the bowl. Pour the 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt on top of the flour.

Salt Note: If you’re using anything other than Kosher salt, reduce the measurement by half. So it would be 1 tablespoon of salt.

Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and pulls cleanly away from the bowl. By hand, this mixing and kneading will take about 12-15 minutes.

Sourdough Focaccia dough

Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil. Shape the dough into a smooth round ball and place in the bowl, cover and let rest for 1 hour.

Folding the Dough

Now we will fold the dough before its second rise. Start with side of the dough ball farthest away from you (12:00 position) and grip the edge of the dough, then pull the dough up and stretch it over the top of itself toward you to the 6:00 position.

Turn the bowl clockwise so the folded side is in the 3:00 position. Repeat the folding motion: grip the side of the dough, pull up and over.

Turn the bowl clockwise once more so that latest fold is now at the 3:00 position. Repeat the folding motion once more. Then pick up the dough ball and re-shape back into a smooth ball and set it back in the bowl with the seams on the underside. Cover and let rest for one more hour.

Stretching the Dough into the Pan

After the second rest/rise, the dough should have doubled again in size. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a half sheet pan. Place the dough in the pan and turn it over once to coat it in olive oil. Then gently stretch the dough to spread it it in the pan. As soon as the dough begins to shrink back, cover the sheet tray with plastic wrap and let rest for 15-20 minutes.

After the first 15-20 minute rest, stretch the dough again to fill the pan. If it wants to shrink back, cover the dough again and let rest for another 15 minutes. After the second 15 minute rest, repeat the stretching to get the dough to the edges. I made the executive decision to call it good after the second 15 rest/stretch. You can see my dough is very nearly to the edges. At this point, cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight (14-16 hours).

Day 2: Prepare and Bake

I put the dough in the fridge for its overnight rise at about 4:00 PM. So the next day, I pulled the dough out of the fridge and began preheating my oven to 425 degrees at 8:00 AM. If your kitchen is warm, let the dough sit out and let the oven preheat for about 40 minutes. If your kitchen is cool, let the dough sit out and let the oven preheat for about 1 hour.

Sourdough Focaccia after 16 hour rise.

Just before baking, use your finger tips to dimple the dough. Press deep enough to make the dimples, but be careful not to poke a hole through the dough. You want to make a lot of dimples, but try not to pat, or press the dough – we want to keep air in the dough from its overnight rise.

Dimple focaccia dough

Then, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the dough, sprinkle with flaky finishing salt and chopped fresh rosemary.

Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary ready for the oven

Slide the Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary into the oven on the middle rack and bake for 20-25 minutes, until light golden brown. Turn the focaccia halfway through baking if needed for even browning. Meanwhile, let’s make the honey ricotta.

Honey Ricotta

Stir together 1 cup ricotta cheese and 1 tablespoon honey. Then, sprinkle and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt. I am using truffle honey, but you can use your favorite flavored, or regular honey. Set that aside.

honey ricotta

Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary

When the focaccia comes out, let it sit for a few minutes, then use a fish spatula to ease it our of the pan and let the focaccia sit on a wire cooling rack for another few minutes.

Then slice and serve warm with the honey ricotta.

Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary

Focaccia is best eaten on the day it’s baked but you can wrap any uneaten portion tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. To reheat, just place in a 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes until the focaccia is warmed through. The baked focaccia freezes well, just wrap it in a two layers of plastic wrap and a final layer of foil. Defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat in a 350 degree oven.

Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary and honey ricotta

Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary is such a treat! the mellow sourdough flavor is complimented by the olive oil, the fresh rosemary and the crisp pops of flaky sea salt. The texture is soft and bouncy, with just the right amount of chewiness. It’s great on its own, for dips and spreads; or slice it horizontally and make a sandwich.

Thank you all so much for joining me today, I hope you give this Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary a try! Take care and be well, xo Kelly

Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary

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Side Dish, Bread, Appetizer Italian
By Adapted From King Arthur
Prep Time: 30 Minutes + Overnight Rise Cooking Time: 20-25 Minutes Total Time: ~16 Hours

Sourdough flavor complimented by olive oil, fresh rosemary and crisp pops of flaky sea salt. Soft and bouncy, with just the right amount of chewiness.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups Ripe (fed) Sourdough Starter
  • 1 1/2 cups Lukewarm Water (~87 degrees)
  • 6 cups (720g) All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 1 tbsp. Instant Yeast
  • 6 tbsp. Olive Oil, plus more for pan and top of Focaccia
  • Fresh Rosemary, for topping
  • Flaky Finishing Salt, for topping
  • Honey Ricotta Spread
  • 1 cup (227g) ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt

Instructions

1

Combine the starter and water in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.

2

Add the honey, yeast, olive oil and flour to the starter and water. Then add the salt on top of the flour.

3

Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and mix on the lowest speed for 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and pulls cleanly away from the bowl. By hand, this mixing and kneading will take about 12-15 minutes.

4

Place the dough in a bowl that's been lightly coated with olive oil, cover, and allow to rise for 1 hour.

5

Gently fold the dough over three times, form into a ball and cover, let it rise for another 1 hour.

6

Drizzle a generous 2 tablespoons olive oil into the center of a half sheet pan.

7

Transfer the dough to the pan, and turn it over to coat it with the oil.

8

Gently stretch the dough into the edges and corners of the pan. As soon as the dough begins to shrink back, cover it, and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Gently stretch the dough again, repeating the rest once more, if necessary, until the dough fills the pan.

9

Cover the pan and transfer it to the refrigerator to let the dough rise for 14 to 16 hours (overnight).

10

The next day, remove the pan of dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 425°F for 1 hour.

11

Just before baking, dimple the dough with your finger tips, pressing down firmly but poking through the bottom of the dough; try not to pat or press the dough, you don't want to deflate the focaccia too much.

12

Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle with flaky finishing salt and chopped fresh rosemary.

13

Bake the focaccia for 20 to 25 minutes, until light golden brown, turning the pan halfway for even browning, if needed.

14

Remove the focaccia from the oven. Allow it to cool enough to handle (about 5-10 minutes), then use a fish spatula to ease it off the pan and onto a wire cooling rack. Slice and serve warm.

Honey Ricotta Spread

15

Stir together the ricotta, honey, and salt.

Notes

If you're using anything other than Kosher salt, reduce the measurement by half. So it would be 1 tablespoon of salt in the dough. And 1/4 teaspoon salt in the honey ricotta.

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  • Terry
    November 11, 2021 at 9:55 am

    Who doesn’t love fresh Focaccia Bread? I just went to your king author link for the starter. Yes I bought the starter and the crock to keep it in.. now it will be easy to make this. When I get the starter and crock in the mail I Will make this and keep you posted.
    I bet the honey ricotta would taste really good on those stuffing biscuits from the other day. I will give that a shot and keep you posted with a shout out to Mari have a great Thursday ???Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      November 11, 2021 at 9:58 am

      Oh cool, I am glad you got the starter and the crock! Can’t wait to hear how the starter is, and how the focaccia goes, Mom. xo Kelly