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Cheesy Bacon Sourdough Focaccia

It's starting to feel a whole lot like spring on the farm these days!  With the time change last weekend, we are taking full advantage of the extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day.  It means we can extend our chore time or just enjoy the warmer evening.

I've been playing around with sourdough focaccia for a few months now and I've finally found the right mix of ingredients and timeline to make focaccia perfectly for our family.

Toppings for your Sourdough Focaccia:

You can play around with toppings to your liking but some of our favorites are:

  • cheddar & bacon (see recipe below)
  • garlic, salt, and rosemary
  • parmesan & slivered bell peppers
  • mozza & halved cherry tomatoes
  • caramelized onions, sliced tomatoes, and rosemary
  • everything bagel seasoning

For our schedule, I love a sourdough recipe that allows me to work with the starter, leaven and dough at the fringes of the day (first thing in the morning and in the evening).  This focaccia recipe works well to fit those parameters.

Scheduling your Sourdough Focaccia:

Here's the schedule that works great for the focaccia (times are approximate and you can adjust according to your schedule and your rise time):

Day 1 - 7 am:  Make leaven from starter.  Set aside to rise for 12 hours.

Day 1 - 7 pm:  Make dough from active leaven.  Set aside to rise overnight.

Day 2 - 7 am:  Move dough to pan and fold & shape.  Set aside to double.

Day 2 - Between 8 and 11 am:  Top dough and bake.  This means that I can often time the focaccia to be finished in perfect time for lunch!

Let's dive into the recipe now!

Cheesy Bacon Sourdough Focaccia Recipe

Ingredients:

Leaven:

  • 50 grams flour
  • 50 grams water
  • 10 grams (heaping teaspoon) sourdough starter

Dough:

  • leaven (from above)
  • 250 grams water
  • 30 grams honey, melted but not hot
  • 50 grams olive oil
  • 375 grams all-purpose flour
  • 10 grams salt

Toppings:

  • 50 grams olive oil, for pan
  • 1 cup grated cheese (cheddar or your favorite)
  • 1/3 cup Lazuli Farms bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced dehydrated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon flake sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano

Instructions:

Leaven:  In a 500 mL (1/2 quart) mason jar, mix together flour, water, and sourdough starter.  Cover lightly with a lid (set a canning lid on top with no ring) and allow to grow until about doubled in size.  The length of time to reach this point depends on your starter, your kitchen temperature, and other factors.  This may take 6 to 10 hours.

Dough:  In a medium to large mixing bowl, mix leaven with water, honey, and olive oil.  Mix together.  Add flour and salt and mix with a fork to form a soft dough.  Let sit for 10 minutes then perform a stretch and fold to build the structure of the dough.  Wet your fingers in a bowl of water so that your fingers don't stick to the dough.  Then grab one side of your dough, lift it up as high as possible, then fold over the remainder of the dough.  Turn your bowl a quarter turn and repeat the stretch and fold.  Repeat until you have hit all four quarters of the dough.

Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes and repeat the stretch and fold process.

If time permits, stretch and fold a total of 3 times.

Now for the bulk fermentation stage.  Cover the bowl with a damp, clean tea towel or a plate and set on the counter (room temperature) to rise for 8 to 12 hours until approximately doubled in size.

Grab a 9 x 13 baking pan and add the 50 grams of olive oil into the pan.  Tip pan to distribute the olive oil to all parts of the pan.  Transfer the dough into the pan.  Fold the dough like a letter going into an envelope (fold 1/3 towards the middle, then the other 1/3).  Repeat the folding one more time.  Flip the dough over so that the fold is on the bottom.  Using your hands, work to spread the dough out in the pan to fill the pan (stretch and pull dough or press with fingers).

Cover the pan with a large baking sheet and let rise for 1 to 4 hours until almost doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Toppings:  Using your fingers, dimple the dough all over and make sure there is some olive oil on the top of the dough (you can move some from underneath to the top or drizzle a little more on top).  If needed, spread dough to edges of pan again.

Top the dough by sprinkling the top with cheese, bacon, salt, garlic, and oregano.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the bread is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and immediately remove the bread from the pan and transfer to a cooling rack.  The dough can get soggy from the oil if left to cool in the pan.  Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into squares for serving.

Serve & eat immediately.  Enjoy!

You can store the cooled bread in an airtight container for a couple of days.  But focaccia is best eaten fresh as it can dry out quickly.

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