clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Sourdough focaccia

Beginner’s Guide to Sourdough Focaccia Bread

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 64 reviews
  • Author: Emilie Raffa
  • Prep Time: 15 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 large focaccia
  • Category: Sourdough Bread Recipes
  • Method: Oven-Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Learn how to make THE BEST easy sourdough focaccia bread recipe (step-by-step!), with bubbly, active sourdough starter, a simple overnight rising option, and tips for par-baking the dough. So soft! So fluffy! Focaccia recipe adapted from my book: Artisan Sourdough Made Simple.


  • 5075 g bubbly, active sourdough starter
  • 375 g water (see Notes below)
  • 20 g honey (optional)
  • 500 g bread flour or all purpose flour (see Notes below)
  • 9 g fine sea salt
  • 23 tbsp olive oil, for coating the pan
  • Assorted Toppings (optional): rosemary, garlic cloves, flaky seat salt, tomatoes, olives etc.


  • Thoughts on Flour: You can use bread flour or all purpose flour to make sourdough focaccia. Comparatively speaking, bread flour yields a slightly chewier focaccia with a higher rise. All purpose flour creates a more tender focaccia. The choice is up to you. If you prefer to use all purpose flour, I do recommend King Arthur brand. Coming in at over 11.7% protein, this flour is stronger than most all purpose flours, which means it can handle a higher quantity of water without the dough becoming a gloppy mess. It’s actually stronger than most bread flours! If you cannot access this flour, make the following changes to ensure success: decrease the water to 325-350 g (start small and work your way up) OR use King Arthur bread flour with 375 g water instead.
  • Thoughts on Sourdough Starter (quantity): When the weather is cold, I’ll use a higher amount of starter to give the dough a boost when doing a long, overnight rise. I’ve given you a range so you can decide what suits you best.
  • For Baking: You will need a rimmed sheet pan or non-stick rectangular pan (9×13-inch or 10×14-inch)


Before you begin: decide when you want to make the dough. The instructions (below) outline a long, overnight rise @ 68-70 F (20-21 C) Alternatively, you can rise the dough during the day. Please refer to the sample schedules in the post above and choose what suits your needs.

  1. Make the Dough: In the evening: whisk the sourdough starter, water and honey together in a large bowl (I use a fork for mixing). Add the flour and salt. Mix to combine and then finish by hand to form a rough dough. It will be wet and sticky. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes to an hour. Timing is flexible here. Then return to the bowl and work the dough into a ball.  
  2. Bulk Rise: Cover the bowl of dough with lightly oiled plastic wrap (or transfer the dough to a lightly oiled dough container). Let the dough rise overnight at room temperature, approximately 68-70 F (20-21 C) for about 12+ hours. The dough will double in size (or more) when ready. Note: if the weather is warmer than 68- 70 F (20-21 C) the dough will rise faster than 12+ hrs. Please adjust your timeframes accordingly.
  3. Second Rise: In the morning, pour 2 tbsp. of olive oil onto a rimmed sheet pan (or 1 tbsp. olive oil if using a non-stick rectangular pan). Use your hands to evenly coat the bottom and sides. With your oiled hands, remove the dough onto the pan, and then flip it to coat both sides. Cover and let rest for 1 1/2- 2 hours or until very puffy (I use an inverted sheet pan to cover the dough). Preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C). Note: I like to rest my dough in a warm spot, usually on top of the oven while it preheats. The dough becomes soft and bubbly. 
  4. Assemble the Focaccia: Right before baking, gently dimple the dough with oiled fingertips. I start at the bottom of the pan and work my way to the top. As you dimple, the dough will naturally begin to stretch outwards. You should end up with a rustic rectangular or oval shape, about 14 x 9-inches (36 x 23 cm) or larger. The dough won’t go all the way to the corners and sides of the sheet pan- this is OK. Note: If using a rectangular pan, the dough will naturally fill the shape of the pan.
  5. Add Focaccia Toppings (optional): Press your preferred toppings into the dough. As the focaccia rises, the dough will puff up. The toppings will pop out if not properly anchored. If using garlic, I keep the cloves wrapped in their papery peels to prevent burning. Remove and discard the peels before eating.
  6. Bake the Focaccia: Place the dough onto the center rack. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before cutting. TIP: To par-bake focaccia dough: Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes @ 425 F (220 C). The crust will be set, very pale in color and golden underneath. Remove the focaccia from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Once completely cool, wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 6 hrs. To finish, return to the pan and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  7. To serve, cut the focaccia into wedges or squares and enjoy warm!