During lockdown, many students spent time practising and fine-tuning the skills learned during their training. Many, like Aurora (Set 43), developed their cooking skills. Here she shares her sourdough focaccia recipe as part of Sourdough September.

“This is one of my absolute favourites to make. It is a staple in my household, you can vary this recipe by trying different toppings, so it never gets boring.”

a female student holding a plate of sourdough focaccia that she has made

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (340g) ripe (fed) sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 cups (340g) lukewarm water
  • 6 cups (723g) bread flour
  • 6 tbsp (74g) olive oil, plus extra for the pan and the top of the focaccia
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp (43g) honey or golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast

Toppings:

I like to do green and black olives for a topping. Another favourite is sundried tomatoes and capers. If you want to keep is simple you can make a rosemary and sea salt focaccia.

a tray with sourdough focaccia mixture about to go into the oven

Method

  • Combine the starter and water in a large mixing bowl.
  • Combine the flour with the starter, water, and remaining ingredients. Mix and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, you should knead for 12-15 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a bowl that’s been lightly coated with olive oil, cover, and allow to rise for 60 minutes.
  • Gently fold the dough over three or four times, and let it rise for another 60 minutes.
  • Drizzle a generous two tablespoons of olive oil into the pan you will cook the focaccia in.
  • Transfer the dough to the pan, and turn it over to coat it with the oil.
  • Gently stretch the dough into the edges and corners of the pan.
  • Cover the pan and transfer it to the refrigerator to let the dough rise for 14 to 16 hours (overnight).
  • The next day, remove the pan of dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  • Just before you’re ready to bake, gently dimple the dough at irregular intervals with your fingers, pressing down firmly but not abruptly; you don’t want to deflate the focaccia too much.
  • Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil (or enough to collect a bit in the dimples), then sprinkle with your toppings.
  • Bake the focaccia for 20 to 25 minutes, until light golden brown.
  • Allow it to cool enough for you to handle it comfortably (approximately 10 – 15 minutes) then turn it out of the pan onto a rack.
  • Serve the focaccia warm or at room temperature. It’s best the same day it’s made and you can freeze any leftover focaccia.

You can stay up to date with Aurora’s Norland journey by following her on Instagram – @aurorathenanny

a tray of sourdough focaccia that has just come out of the oven

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