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Sourdough Focaccia

Author: Charlotte Rutledge

Sourdough Focaccia Recipe

It's hard to forget a meal at Mindy Segal's restaurant, Hot Chocolate, in Chicago. For us, the thick squares of soft yet chewy sourdough focaccia were so memorable that we had to create our own version. The restaurant serves its focaccia with honey-sweetened ricotta, but it's just as tasty served plain.

At a glance

one 13" x 18" focaccia


Choose your measure:


  • 1 1/2 cups ripe (fed) sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 6 cups High-Gluten Flour
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the pan and the top of the focaccia
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey, salted or regular*
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • fresh or dried rosemary, for topping
  • *If using regular honey, add 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Bees Knees Salted Honey or regular honey*
  • *If using regular honey, add 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. To make the dough: Combine the starter and water in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the flour with the starter, water, and remaining ingredients. Mix and knead — by hand or stand mixer — until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you're using a stand mixer, this should take 5 to 7 minutes on the lowest speed using the dough hook attachment. If you're kneading by hand, you'll need 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Place the dough in a bowl that's been lightly coated with olive oil, cover, and allow to rise for 60 minutes.
  4. Gently fold the dough over three or four times, and let it rise for another 60 minutes.
  5. Drizzle a generous 2 tablespoons olive oil into the center of a large sheet cake pan. Don't have a large sheet cake pan? See "tips," below.
  6. Transfer the dough to the pan, and turn it over to coat it with the oil.
  7. Gently stretch the dough into the edges and corners of the pan. As soon as the dough begins to shrink back, cover it, and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Gently stretch the dough again, repeating the rest once more, if necessary, until the dough fills the pan.
  8. Cover the pan and transfer it to the refrigerator to let the dough rise for 14 to 16 hours (overnight).
  9. The next day, remove the pan of dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 425°F for 30 minutes (if your kitchen is warm) to 60 minutes (in a cooler kitchen)
  10. 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.
  11. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil (or enough to collect a bit in the dimples), then sprinkle with rosemary and a bit of flaked sea salt.
  12. Bake the focaccia for 20 to 25 minutes, until light golden brown.
  13. Remove the focaccia from the oven. Allow it to cool enough for you to handle it comfortably, 10 to 15 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack.
  14. Make the spread by stirring together the ricotta and honey. Serve the focaccia warm or at room temperature, accompanied by the spread; it's best the same day it's made. You can freeze any leftover focaccia and reheat defrosted slices in a toaster or 350°F oven, just until warmed through.