I have always been the type of person who judges a restaurant by the quality of their bread basket. It's honestly a wonder it took me so long to get into bread baking. Anyway, restaurants would always score extra points for rich, delicate focaccia - preferably served with a seasoned, garlicky olive oil.
I absolutely love focaccia. I wanted to add a whole grain and sourdough spin, with whole grain rye and toppings that I thought would complement it. I recently tried maitake mushrooms for the first time and fell in love, but you can use any mushrooms you like for this recipe. Add some sage, which practically fries in the olive oil while the focaccia bakes. It's a beautiful side dish to any soup or stew you're making this winter. We enjoyed it with some split pea soup, and even the focaccia was almost better the next day.
100g sourdough starter (fed)
300g bread or all purpose flour
200g whole grain rye flour (or try another whole grain flour, like spelt or whole wheat)
30g + 1.5 tbsp + 30g extra virgin olive oil, divided
12g salt, plus more for sprinkling over the focaccia
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
6 oz mushrooms of choice (I used maitake), left whole or chopped into large pieces
5-6 large sage leaves, chopped into ribbons
Add the sourdough starter, water, and first 30g of olive oil to a bowl. Whisk vigorously until well combined.
Add the bread/all purpose, rye flour, and salt. Use a spatula to mix until combined into a dough. Then, knead the dough for 5-7 minutes until supple and soft.
Add 1.5 tbsp of olive oil to a large bowl. Place your dough in the bowl and use your hands to coat the dough with the olive oil. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise overnight, or about 12 hours.
The next day, drizzle 30g of olive oil on a sheet pan. Dump your dough out onto the pan. Use your fingers to push and spread the dough out across the pan, until it forms a large rectangle about 1 inch thick. Use your fingers to coat the top of the dough in any olive oil around the edges of the pan.
Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and proof for 2 hours. After 1.5 hours, preheat the oven to 450 F. While the oven is preheating, place the mushrooms and minced garlic in a bowl and mix.
After the proof, remove the plastic wrap. Use your fingers to poke the dough all over, pressing all the way down to the sheet pan. Place your hands like you are playing the piano, and with firm fingers, use all five fingers to press the dough down to make dimples all over. Use your fingers to spread any olive oil around the edges of the pan over the top of the dough.
Add the garlic and mushrooms to the top of the dough, distributing them evenly, and sprinkle the sage leaves over the top. Sprinkle the dough with a bit of course sea salt.
Bake the focaccia at 450 F for 18-22 minutes, until lightly browned and the sides are starting to get crispy.
The focaccia can stick, depending on the pan you used. Use a metal spatula to run around the edges of the dough before you try to remove it from the pan. Once removed, cool completely on a wire rack and cut into squares.
Stores well in an air tight container for 3-4 days.