Focaccia is one of my favorite breads to make and eat. I love it best with black, Kalamata olives and rosemary and this recipe even lets me use some of my sourdough starter as a base. To speed things up, instead of making a sponge, take your fed starter and add a little bit of active dry yeast for an extra boost. The result is focaccia in less than 4 hours.
1 cup fed sourdough starter
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup bread flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon flake salt like Maldon
1/2 cup pitted black olives, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Combine the starter, yeast, water and flours in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium low for 10 minutes. Dough will be very sticky. Add the salt and beat another five minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about two hours.
Move rack to lower third of the oven. If you have a pizza stone, place it on the rack. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Pour half the oil into a large cast iron skillet, at least 12 inches. If you don’t have such a large one, use a baking sheet at least 9×12 (I use the rectangle pan when I’m making focaccia for sandwiches). Plop dough in center of pan and pour remaining oil on top. Using your fingers, spread the dough to the edges of the pan. Let the dough rise again for an hour.
Dimple the top with your finger tips. Sprinkle on the flake salt and other toppings and press them in with your fingertips, leaving the top dimpled.
Bake for 15 minutes. Drop oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Rotate the pan and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Try not to scarf it down before it cools completely.
It makes great sandwich bread!