Flavorful, light yet rich dough cooked in olive oil.
Measure the water and sourdough starter into a large mixing bowl. Mix together with a spatula or Danish dough hook. Add the all purpose flour, bread flour, honey, and olive oil if using. Mix until the mixture comes together into a shaggy dough.
Cover and allow to rest or autolyse for 1 hour.
Cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Come back and perform another set of 4 stretches and folds.
Repeat the stretch-and-fold, rest for 30 minutes sequence until you’ve performed a total of 5-6 stretch and fold sequences. You want the dough to be nice and stretchy and smooth. If it doesn’t seem to have developed enough gluten, just add in 1 more stretch and fold sequence. This whole process should take around 2 to 2½ hours.
Cover the dough and allow to rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Transfer to the refrigerator, and allow to ferment there for 20 to 72 hours (see note).
After the cold fermentation, it’s time to shape the dough! Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Place 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of 13x9 inch baking pan (see note). Grease the sides of the pan as well.
Grease a piece of plastic wrap and place it on top of the dough while it rests.
Wet your hands, and then gently poke the dough all over with your fingertips. You want to go all the way down to the bottom of the pan. Don’t be shy about it! After you’ve dimpled the whole focaccia, drizzle 2-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over the dough (see note).
Now it’s time to top the focaccia. You can simply sprinkle it with freshly ground black pepper and flaky sea salt and it will be delicious. You can also use halved cherry tomatoes, kalamata olive, capers, fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil, or thyme, parmesan cheese, garlic, and caramelized onions.
If you’re opting for the larger toppings such as cherry tomatoes, olives, or garlic, you can poke them into the dimples. If you’re using fresh herbs, caramelized onions, or parmesan cheese, I recommend that you don’t add them until the last 5 minutes of baking to prevent burning.