Customizable Sourdough Focaccia Bread From Scratch

by Kaitlynn Fenley

With just four main ingredients, you can make sourdough focaccia bread from scratch in only 6 hours! Add more ingredients as toppings to change up the flavor and customize your sourdough focaccia bread. This blog goes over some great flavors and topping ideas to make fun and unique sourdough focaccia with one simple recipe.

Ingredients and Equipment You Need

  • Sourdough Starter: We have an easy sourdough starter recipe HERE. You’ll need to start this 7 days before baking, or 2 days before baking if you use our quick recipe option! You can also buy my sourdough starter “Reuben” by clicking here.
  • Organic Bread Flour: I highly suggest using organic flour when making sourdough. It’s the healthiest option and usually results in a better rise. It’s also important to make sure you are using bread flour. Bread flour has a higher gluten content and holds together better during the long fermentation time.  
  • Water: You can use tap water to bake bread, I do. But if you prefer bottled or filtered, that works too! 
  • Salt: Unrefined sea salt, please! Just make sure your sea salt is unrefined and free from anticaking agents. 

The Easiest Sourdough Bread: Focaccia

Focaccia is arguably the easiest sourdough bread to make. You don’t have to worry about shaping into a loaf because the focaccia bread is baked in a pan. This makes it quite forgivable. Here’s a summary of the simple steps to make focaccia:

  • Mix all the ingredients into a rough, shaggy dough ball. Let it sit for an hour
  • Stretch and fold the dough, and let it sit for two hours.
  • Stretch and fold the dough again, and transfer to a parchment paper lined pan.
  • Let the dough relax out into the pan and rise for about 2 more hours, until it doubles in size.
  • Drizzle olive oil and dimple the dough.
  • Bake, cool, slice and enjoy!

What stretching and folding the dough looks like:

Here is how the dough should look in the very beginning vs. after the two stretch and folds:

Is Sourdough Easier to Digest?

Sourdough is the oldest form of bread. Experts say that the bread originated in Egypt long ago… as in 1,500 BC. Since commercial yeasts were obviously not available back then, bread products had to be naturally leavened using wild yeats. 

Wild yeasts are captured in a sourdough starter along with flavor developing microorganisms, like lactic acid bacteria. When I say “captured” I mean they come from the flour you use to make it. The wild yeats are significantly more acid-tolerant than packages of baker’s yeast. So the yeasts in sourdough are still very active and able to produce carbon dioxide to make the bread rise even when they’re in the presence of acid-producing bacteria. Visit our sourdough starter blog to learn more about the microbiology of sourdough starters. 

Since sourdough ferments during a longer rise time than traditional bread, it’s much easier to digest and more flavorful. The flavor comes from the wild yeasts and bacteria metabolizing the sugars in the dough during the long rise times and producing acids as byproducts. This is also why the bread is easier to digest! Essentially the microorganisms do some of the digesting for you in this sourdough bread recipe.

Sourdough Focaccia Bread Nutrition

Sourdough bread is made out of flour, just like regular bread. However, the fermentation process makes the nutritional components of the flour more bioavailable. Lactic acid bacteria in sourdough starters are able to reduce phytic acid, the compound that can prevent nutrient absorption in regular bread. Without the phytic acid, binding to the minerals, you can absorb more potassium, phosphate, magnesium, folate, and zinc from the bread. Those amazing little lactic acid bacteria also produce antioxidant compounds (postbiotics) and SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids) during the fermentation process. Aren’t lactic acid bacteria awesome?!

Since we use cinnamon and pecans in this sourdough recipes, there’s even more variety of nutritional benefits. Pecans provide healthy fats and fiber and cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory spice.

sourdough focaccia slices on a wooden cutting board

Why Organic Flour is the Best for Sourdough

When we are making sourdough bread, it all about allowing robust microbial growth and fermentation. If we want the strongest microbial growth we need to use organic flour because it is not sprayed with synthetic chemical pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers. The chemicals in conventionally grown grains can inhibit microbial growth and even kill microorganisms. Flour milled from organic grains have not been exposed to synthetic pesticides and is simply better for fermentation microbes to thrive. Also, organic flour has more nutrients and is a lot healthier, because of the way the grain is grown.

Now, I have successfully baked with non organic flour plenty of times, but it’s not my favorite and the results are not as good as when I bake with organic flour. My rule for sourcing flour is to shop as small, local and organic as possible. I really enjoy buying all of my flour from Lindley Mills.

close up view of the air bubble pockets in a slice of sourdough focaccia

How to Customize Sourdough Focaccia

It’s so easy to customize focaccia bread! You can keep the bread plain of use basically any topping you want. To add toppings you simply sprinkle them onto the dough, with the olive oil before you dimple the dough with your hands. Some of my favorites to add to focaccia are:

Other Sourdough Recipes to Try

thin, airy sourdough focaccia bread slices, lined up on a marble countertop

Customizable Sourdough Focaccia Bread From Scratch

With just four main ingredients, you can make sourdough focaccia bread from scratch in only 6 hours! Add more ingredients as toppings to change up the flavor and customize your sourdough focaccia bread. This blog goes over some great flavors and topping ideas to make fun and unique sourdough focaccia with one simple recipe. 

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Fermentation Time: 6 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 7 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 20 servings 1x
  • Category: sourdough
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: italian


  • 200 grams sourdough starter
  • 650 grams organic bread flour
  • 600 grams water
  • 20 grams salt
  • olive oil


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix just until the ingredients come together into a rough, shaggy dough ball. Let it sit for an hour.

  2. Stretch and fold the dough. Wet your hand, scoop around the edge of the dough and the bowl, pull up the dough without breaking it, and fold it over the top of the dough. Spin the bowl around and repeat stretching up and folding over until the dough smoothes out a bit. Let it sit for two hours. (see photos above for a visual on stretching and folding).

  3. After two hours, stretch and fold the dough again using the same method. Let it rest for 30 minutes

  4. Line a 9×11 baking pan with parchment paper, and rub the parchment paper with a small bit of olive oil.

  5. Transfer the dough to the parchment paper lined pan, gently pull it out to almost fit in the bottom of the pan.

  6. Let the dough relax out and rise for two hours. It should double in size and fill to fit the pan.

  7. Drizzle about two tablespoons of olive oil over the dough, and any toppings you want to add. Coat your hands in olive oil and use your fingers to dimple the dough. After dimpling let the dough rest for 30 minutes. While it rests, preheat your oven to 425° F.

  8. Bake for 30 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 30 minutes.

  9. Allow to cool for an hour before slicing.


  • this recipe is for fermentation at a moderate room temperature (about 75° F). If it is hotter in your home everything will go faster, if it is cooler, everything will take longer. 

Keywords: sourdough, focaccia, bread

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