One part about writing food recipes that can be tricky is not copywriting, stealing, or claiming information is yours when it’s really not. It’s wonderful to believe that all of these recipes just poofed into my head, but inspiration has to come from somewhere.
I love working with sourdough because I can take a regular non-sourdough recipe, change it to a sourdough, thus creating an original recipe. I feel better sleeping at night knowing I’m not ripping off some amazing baker/chef/food lover out there (When I do use someone else’s recipe I tag them in my posts!)((I also try to tweak it in some little way to make it a tad different)). My partner also does not mind me repeating recipes over and over so that I can deliver to you, a fully-formed recipe.
A few months ago my friends (so many of them) recommended that I watch the TV show, or listen to the podcast, or buy the book, Salt Fat Acid Heat. The first thing my friends thought of when they watched Samin Nosrat on their tv screens was how her love of food matched my enthusiasm for food.
Both of us were raised in food-centered cultures. She comes from a Persian background, and mine is Sicilian. Our families raised us to love food and we obeyed.
Falling in love with Samin and her work made me want to be closer to her, through her recipes.
Since our house has been on a sourdough kick, we eyed up Samin’s focaccia recipe from her TV show. Being Italian and having made bread like this my whole life I was excited to transform Samin’s, or rather Ligurian’s, focaccia into a sourdough.
Samin’s process was slightly different from my family’s methods, but Jamie was excited to be the one to squish his fingers into the soft dough before putting it in the oven.
Much to the happiness of my household and my friends, I made this recipe over and over again to be sure it produced results like the Ligurian Focaccia, with some sourdough flavors. Focaccia is probably one of the easiest breads you can make and end up with a winner result at the end.
In this variation I kept the topping plain, but it’s very typical in my family to sprinkle on some red pepper flakes, rosemary and olive oil. We would use a bread like this to make a stuffed and pressed cold sandwich called pane cunzato (Sicilian dialect here).
There’s so many variations of toppings and ways to use this bread, and you really can’t go wrong with exploring. This bread is sure to become the next family favorite!
I also want to note that while I’ve made this bread over a dozen times in two months I was still not making it correctly (as in according to Samin’s recipe) and it still turned out delicious. Two lessons here:
- You cannot ruin this recipe,
- Always read directions all the way through at least 3 times to ensure baking the best bread the first time.
YIELD: 18”X 13” pan
- ½ tsp instant yeast
- 2 ½ tsp (15g) honey
- 1 cup (235g) sourdough starter
- ¼ cup (50g) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 5 cups (683g) bread flour
- 2 cups (480g) water, warm
- 1 ½ tsp (5g) salt
- ⅓ cup (80g) water
- In a small bowl (this is an easy one to do by hand with a sturdy wooden spoon!) dissolve your yeast, water and honey together.
- In your mixing bowl, or a large bowl mix together your flour, salt. Make a well in your flour mountain and add your starter, water, and olive oil into the well.Slowly and gradually mix the liquids and dry ingredients together.
- Continue to mix until everything becomes one smooth, almost like a thick batter-like dough. Set dough in a warm place to rise and double for about an hour.
- Prepare a half-sheet pan, or a 18”X13” pan, with 4tbsp of olive oil
- With oiled hands and with extra oil in the bowl, gently bring the “corners of the dough to the center. This helps remove air and mix the yeast in the dough more.
- Pour the dough onto the pan and using the tips of your fingers, push and spread the dough to the corners of the pan. The more the dough is worked the more the gluten will want to bounce back. Just keep working the dough until it’s spread across the whole pan evenly.
- Make your brine and pour it over the dough, allowing it to fill the dimples. Allow your dough to rise for another hour, or once it has doubled.
- When the dough is almost doubled, preheat your oven to 450°F. Sprinkle some flakey salt over the dough and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. (at this point you can also sprinkle some rosemary or red pepper flakes, etc. on top!)
- You know your bread is done when the top crust is deep golden brown and a thermometer would read 180°F.
- Allow to cool before slicing into.