Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary and Caper Pesto

Sourdough focaccia with rosemary pesto

This sourdough focaccia has the rich and delicious flavour of wholemeal sourdough but is still rather light and fluffy. It is covered with parmesan and a garlicky rosemary pesto before baking.

Ingredients (yields about two 25 cm round focaccias)

1 cup sourdough starter
2 cups wholemeal flour
1 cup plain flour
2.5 tsp yeast
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried mixed herbs

Rosemary Pesto Topping

4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
2 tbsp rosemary roughly chopped
1 tbsp capers
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil

Grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of focaccia before baking


Mix together flours, yeast, sugar, salt and dried herbs in a large mixing bowl. Add oil and sourdough starter. Gradually add warm water while mixing with a spatula till you get the right consistency. You want the dough to be not too dry, and not too wet – enough water to be able to knead the dough without it sticking to the bench. Knead the dough for about 6 minutes, flouring the surface if necessary and adding a little more warm water if the dough is too dry.

Return the dough to the mixing bowl and lightly cover with oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with a tea towel. Let the dough rise for about an hour until it is doubled in sides. Either rise it in a warm spot near a fire or heater, outside on warm day, or in the sink or a saucepan filled with warm-to-hot water. Cover the sink/saucepan with a board and tea towel to keep the heat in.

While the dough is rising make the pesto. Pound together all ingredients in a mortar and pestle until they a roughly blended together.

Once the dough has finished rising punch it down and split it into two. Flatten to about 1 cm high onto two oiled baking trays. Cover with pesto and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cover focaccias with a tea towel and let them rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. You can also very slightly warm the oven to about 40 degrees C and turn it off and let them rise uncovered. Make sure that the oven isn’t too hot as it will kill the yeast and stop them rising.

Once the focaccias have completed their second rise place them in a pre-heated 200 degrees C oven and bake for about 30 minutes. (If rising the focaccias in the oven set the temperature to 200 degrees and let it heat up while they are in the oven). They are ready when they are nicely browned on top and tapping the bottom of the focaccia produces a hollow sound.

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