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Sourdough focaccia is so fun to make, and the result is the most delicious focaccia. Does it take time? Well, it’s sourdough, so there is time involved. But, there’s not a tremendous amount of active time. With some very simple planning, you can work this sourdough focaccia recipe into your bread making schedule.

This recipe is adapted from Matthew J. Duffy’s recipe. Having made it many, many times, I have tweaked both the recipe amounts and technique to streamline the process a bit. I also must mention that Matt offers an online course, Simplifying Sourdough, which I took and found to be tremendously helpful as I started my sourdough journey. (This is my true opinion — I do not get anything for mentioning his course.)

If you are looking to create a sourdough starter, check out my Sourdough Starter Guide.

Ingredients for Sourdough Focaccia

This easy focaccia recipe is made from five ingredients:

  • Bread flour. With a higher protein content than all purpose flour, bread flour is a wonderful choice for this focaccia because it ensures strong gluten development.
  • Semolina flour. Also with a high gluten content and elastic nature, semolina adds subtle, yet beautiful, flavor to focaccia.
  • Water. Yes, water is an ingredient, and an important one at that. Water hydrates the flours so that, among other things, the gluten can be developed. It is so important to use non-chlorinated water at the correct temperature.
  • Salt. Not only does salt add wonderful flavor to anything, especially bread, it also helps to control the development of the natural yeast in the dough.
  • Olive oil. Obviously, olive oil adds wonderful flavor to focaccia. We also use it in the dough to add just a bit of softness to it.

Measure Your Water Temperature

Water temperature can make or break any sourdough recipe, including focaccia. When I feed my starter and build the levain, I use water that is at approximately 73° F. However, when I mix the water with the flour to autolyse (or, in the case of this sourdough focaccia, to fermentolyse), I calculate the correct temperature by doing this:

Fermentation Temperature Times 4

Multiply the temperature at which you will bulk ferment by 4. So, for this recipe, the ideal temperature is 80° F. 80 x 4 = 320.

Subtract Flour Temperature

From the 320, subtract the temperature of the flour. Literally stick your thermometer into the flour to determine the precise temperature. (Tip: I usually weigh out and mix the flours into a large mixing bowl the night before, when I mix the levain. I cover the bowl of flours with plastic wrap so it is ready for me in the morning to take its temperature and then mix the water into it to fermentolyse.) Let’s assume your flour is 74° F.

Subtract Levain Temperature

Subtract the temperature of your levain. Again, literally stick your thermometer into the center of your levain. Let’s assume it is also 74° F.

Subtract Bulk Fermentation Temperature

Subtract the temperature of where bulk fermentation will occur. If this is my countertop, it may also be 74° F. However, for this focaccia recipe, I use my Brod & Taylor proofer, so I can set the temperature directly at 80° F. For purposes of this example, let’s assume we are using a proofer and the temperature is set at 80° F. If you do not have a proofer, find the warmest place in your kitchen where you can allow the focaccia dough to bulk ferment and measure the temperature there.

Subtract Friction Temperature

Subtract 6, which represents a reasonable estimate of the degrees of heat added into the dough from the friction when you mix and knead it.

Calculation for Correct Sourdough Focaccia Water Temperature

Based on these numbers, we have 320 – 74 – 74 – 80 – 6 = 86° F.

That means that, when we pour the water into the flours for the fermentolyse, we should heat the water up to 86° F.

Sourdough focaccia from a 45 degree angle view, showing lots of browned bubbles on top of the baked dough.
The airier the dough, the more bubbles on top!

How to Make the Best Sourdough Focaccia

Focaccia is not a difficult bread to make, and the dough can actually be quite forgiving. While the following schedule is over a three day period, it does not take three days to make this!

Sourdough Focaccia Day 1: 

In the morning, feed your starter as usual. I tend to feed mine around 10:00 a.m., using water that is about 73° F.

Then, at night, build your levain. I do this around 10:00 p.m., again using water that is about 73° F. You can do this build in a jar or any sort of vessel you usually use for your starter. I just use a clear, glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. I like to poke 4-5 holes in the plastic wrap to allow additional air to flow.

Sourdough Focaccia Day 2:

In the morning, around 9:00 a.m., check on the levain. It should be bubbly. If the levain does not seem ready, give it more time. Mix the first portion of water (be sure to heat or cool the water to the proper temperature) with the bread flour, semolina flour, and the levain. I recommend using a Danish dough whisk or a wooden spoon for this mix. This is technically called a fermentolyse because we are hydrating the flour and allowing the levain to acclimate with the four and water. By adding the levain at this early stage, we are starting the fermentation process right away. I suggest using a bowl scraper to scrape the sides of your bowl as you mix and stretch and fold the dough.

After an hour, knead in the salt and the remaining water. Let that rest for about a half hour, then knead in the olive oil. Now a three-hour bulk fermentation starts. Set a timer for an hour, do a set of stretch and folds. After another hour, do a second set of stretch and folds. And another hour later, do a third and final set. Immediately cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.

Tip: If your hands are ever sticking to the dough, wet your hands and shake them to flick off any excess water. Using moist hands will prevent the dough from sticking to them.

Sourdough Focaccia Day 3:

Whether in the morning or late morning, take the  bowl of covered dough out of the refrigerator, and allow the dough to come to room temperature for about an hour.

Then, prepare your baking pan. As Matt Duffy suggests, I use a Lloydpans Kitchenware 10 x 14 pan for this sourdough focaccia recipe. I have also used a traditional 10 x 15 jellyroll pan with equal success. Pour the dough into the prepared pan. I like to stretch the dough at this point rather than after the dough has had the opportunity to rise to avoid deflating the dough later. Cover the dough and allow it to rise in a warm place in your kitchen, about 4-5 hours.

Just before baking, pour some olive oil on top and use your fingertips to press the dough from the center to the edges. This will help distribute the dough to the edges of the pan and help create more air bubbles. I simply sprinkle the top with Maldon salt, but sky is the limit for toppings. Herbs (rosemary, thyme), tomatoes, onions … top your focaccia however you like.

Sourdough focaccia from a 45 degree angle view, showing lots of browned bubbles on top of the baked dough.
I use Maldon salt to top my sourdough focaccia, but you can certainly use herbs, onions, tomatoes … whatever you prefer!

Other Sourdough Recipes

Be sure to check out my other sourdough and sourdough discard recipes:

Frequently Asked Questions About Making Sourdough Focaccia

What is the best pan for making sourdough focaccia?

You can use a traditional 10-inch by 15-inch jelly roll pan or a Lloyds Pan 10-inch by 14-inch. Don’t have either? Use two 9-inch by 9-inch square pans.

Can I make sourdough focaccia without a proofer?

Yes, but if your kitchen is cooler than the desired temperature, you may need to let it bulk ferment longer.

Sourdough Focaccia

5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
resting time 2 days
Total Time 2 days 1 hour
Servings 24 slices
Calories 116
So flavorful, delicious and easy to make! This sourdough focaccia is a crowd pleaser.



  • 12 grams ripe starter
  • 100 grams water
  • 100 grams bread flour


  • 445 grams bread flour
  • 100 grams semolina flour
  • 420 grams water 1
  • 212 grams levain
  • 12 grams fine sea salt
  • 20 grams water 2
  • 15 grams olive oil


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes


Day 1: Mix Levain

  • Before you go to bed, mix the levain ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and prick 4-5 holes with a toothpick in the plastic wrap to allow some air to flow. (Or just cover the bowl loosely as you normally do when you feed your starter.) Leave the levain to rest at warm room temperature, about 74° F for 11-12 hours.

Day 2: Mix, Knead and Bulk Ferment Dough

  • In a large bowl, combine the flours, water 1 (420 grams) at the correct temperature, and all of the levain. (See water temperature explanation in above post and in below notes.) Mix just until the flour is fully absorbed by the water and levain. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour.
  • Sprinkle the salt over the top and drizzle the remaining water 2 (20 grams) over the top. Dimple the salt and water in with your hands, using a clawing motion, until fully combined.
  • Knead the dough in the bowl, folding the dough and using your fist to punch it into the rest of the dough, constantly rotating the bowl, until the dough is not very sticky and uniform. If it is sticky, keep your hands lightly wet while kneading. Cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  • Pour the olive oil over the top of the dough. Fold the dough up over itself. Use a clawing motion and knead the dough in the bowl until the olive oil is fully incorporated and the dough appears smooth and stretchy.
  • Bulk ferment for 3 hours, during which time do three sets of four folds after the 1 hour, 2 hour, and 3 hour marks.
  • Immediately after the 3 hour mark, cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.

Day 3: Bake

  • In the morning, remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator. Allow it to come to room temperature for approximately one hour.
  • Liberally spread some olive oil over the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Pour the dough into the prepared pan. Carefully stretch the dough towards the edges as best you can. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, being sure to spray the inside of the plastic wrap with non-stick baking spray or spread some olive oil on it to prevent the plastic wrap from sticking to the dough.
  • Allow the dough to sit in a warm area in your kitchen for 4-5 hours. The dough should look bubbly and puffy.
  • At least a half hour before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 475° F.
  • Just before baking, drizzle olive oil on top of the dough and use your fingertips, starting from the middle going up, to gently massage the dough towards the edges of the pan. Return to the middle and work your way down. Top with any toppings such as salt, herbs, onions, or tomatoes. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the sides start to crisp. Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the focaccia from the pan. Cool completely before slicing.


One mistake many bakers make is to not measure the temperature of the water. This is often times why bakers do not obtain ideal results when baking sourdough bread. This is such an easy thing to do. Here's the formula, based on an ideal dough fermentation temperature of 80° F: goal temperature (80° F) multiplied by 4 = 320° F. From that number, subtract the temperature of your flour, the temperature of your kitchen where the dough will sit, the temperature of your starter, and heat caused by friction from kneading (which is 6° F). The result is the temperature you want your water to be at when you mix it with the dough to fermentolyse. 
This sourdough focaccia freezes beautifully. I usually cut the entire pan into quarters or even eighths, wrap each in plastic wrap, and pop them into a Ziplock for the freezer. I will take a chunk out before dinner, remove the plastic wrap, wrap in foil, and place in the oven. I set the oven to 400° F or 425° F. As the oven preheats, the focaccia thaws and heats up. About 10 minutes after the oven is at temperature, I open the top of the foil and let it continue to heat for about 10 more minutes. 
Calories: 116kcal
Course: Bread, Breakfast, dinner, Snack
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: sourdough


Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 31mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 0.5IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.4mg


  1. 5 stars
    My family loves this focaccia! This is a treat that I bake and we can add to our meals all week!

  2. 5 stars
    Your instructions for this sourdough focaccia are perfect! This was a lot easier than I would have thought. Loved it!!

  3. 5 stars
    I just made this sourdough focaccia and it was incredible!! Definitely going to make it again soon.

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