Avocado Oil Sourdough Focaccia 

One of the joys of baking focaccia is that you can be as creative as you want. That’s how we stumbled upon the realization that we could swap out traditional olive oil for our fresh-pressed avocado oil. It results in a focaccia with a moist crumb and delicate crust that shines, with a slight green hue from the oil. This recipe is very basic, seasoned only with coarse sea salt, but feel free to top it with whatever you love: chopped rosemary, roasted tomatoes, sliced kalamata olives… you get the idea (see Notes). 

We choose to make all of our breads with sourdough starter rather than baker’s yeast because it results in a bread that is more digestible and nutritious. We also love the tangy aroma and flavor that comes from the fermentation process. If you’re new to making sourdough, check out Molly’s video on how to make and maintain your own starter. And you’ll notice that the recipe uses weight measurements (grams) rather than volume (cups). When baking, it is always better to measure ingredients by weight since it is more accurate and will give you more consistent results. 

Ingredients

  • 305 grams warm filtered water (80°F)
  • 170 grams active sourdough starter
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 460 grams Edison flour (or all-purpose; see Notes)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons unrefined avocado oil
  • Coarse sea salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the warm water, starter, and honey. Whisk vigorously until the starter dissolves and the mixture is frothy. Add the flour and mix by hand until no dry bits remain. Add the salt and knead the dough until the salt is incorporated and the dough begins to firm up, 12 to 15 minutes. The dough will be sticky but should eventually pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Cover the dough with a clean damp kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 3 to 4 hours. During this time, stretch and fold the dough in the bowl every hour to create strength: reach to the bottom of the bowl and gently pull a handful of the dough up and over itself, folding it to the center. Rotate the bowl and repeat until all the dough has been stretched and folded to the center. Cover and repeat at least 2 more times. After 3 to 4 hours, it should have doubled in size and you should see small bubbles forming on the surface.
  3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil over a 9 x 13-inch baking sheet. Rub the oil over the bottom and sides of the baking sheet so that it is generously covered. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil on top of the dough so it is well coated. Transfer the dough to the oiled baking sheet and stretch it to cover the surface. Cover with the damp kitchen towel and let rise until puffy and bubbly, 2 to 3 more hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F and position a rack in the middle. Stretch the dough to the corners of the pan and dimple the dough by pressing into it with your fingertips. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon avocado oil over the top and gently rub it over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of coarse sea salt.
  5. Bake the focaccia for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and rotate the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  6. Use a metal spatula to gently lift the bread from the pan and transfer it to a wire rack. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. The cooled focaccia can be tightly wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Notes

To add toppings: After baking the focaccia for the first 10 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and scatter the toppings over the bread. Continue baking as instructed in Step 4. If you top your focaccia with cheese or vegetables, be sure to store it in the refrigerator.

 

For this recipe, we like to use Edison flour, which is ground from a single variety of wheat and has a nutty, buttery flavor. If you can’t find it, any all-purpose flour will work well.