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close up of sourdough focaccia bread with rosemary parmesan crust
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5 from 57 votes

Sourdough Focaccia with Rosemary and Parmesan

This sourdough focaccia is incredibly moist & fluffy with the perfect crust! Flavored with rosemary, parmesan cheese, and thinly sliced onions for the ultimate focaccia bread!
Prep Time4 hrs
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time4 hrs 20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, French, Italian
Servings: 12
Calories: 293kcal


Poolish (use when it's most active):

Focaccia Dough:


  • ¼ small onion - sliced thinly
  • cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil


Prepare your starter and poolish

  • Mix together the poolish ingredients in a large container and let it sit at room temperature for 12 to 14 hours before making the focaccia. It should increase in volume and show bubbles at the surface. Also feed your starter several hours before starting this recipe so that it's at its peak and you have enough to measure out 100g. General rule is to have your starter and poolish double in volume, if not more. You may need to plan ahead so that you can start at your desired time.
  • Note: I usually make my poolish 12 hours before using it and feed my starter about 4 - 6 hours before use. This is based on my experience with my starter and the ambient temperature of my kitchen, which hovers around 74 degrees F. You may need to adjust your times based on your ambient temperature and how fast your starter rises. You can speed this up or slow it down by changing the surrounding temperature.

Weigh your ingredients

  • Set aside the dried rosemary and olive oil. Add the remaining ingredients for the focaccia dough into a stand mixer including the poolish. Make sure the salt and yeast don't touch in the bowl before starting your stand mixer.
    ingredients for sourdough focaccia bread with rosemary


  • Mix on low with a dough hook until most of the flour is incorporated. Then add in the olive oil and gradually increase the speed to high speed. (Note: Oil and dough won't mix well together unless you're on high speed.)
    olive oil being added to focaccia dough being mixed in a stand mixer
  • Mix on high until you see a smooth, glossy dough with a slight sheen on the surface. The dough should not be sticking to the sides of the bowl anymore and it should be formed into a ball.
    dough being mixed in a stand mixer
  • Stop the mixer and check if there's enough gluten development by taking a portion of the dough and stretching it between your hands. The dough is ready when you can stretch the dough thin enough for it to be translucent without tearing. It should still have enough elasticity to spring back. (Note: This is called the windowpane test to test for appropriate gluten development.)
    dough stretched out to test for gluten development by hand
  • Next, start the mixer on low and add the dried rosemary. Mix on low until it's well incorporated. Then transfer to a large clear container that's coated with oil. (Note: We want to mix on low because we're trying to avoid tearing the gluten strands and we don't want to develop any more gluten. Mixing on high speed would develop too much gluten at this point and will tear the gluten because of the dried herbs.)
    focaccia dough in a glass bowl after mixing the ingredients together

Bulk Fermentation and Proofing (also called Primary and Secondary Fermentation)

  • Transfer the dough to the bowl and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Put it in the proofer until you see it almost double in size. If using a clear container, you should see tiny bubbles going all the way up the sides. This took me a little over an hour but your timing may vary according to your temperatures. (See Notes section below for how I proof my dough.)
    focaccia dough in a glass bowl after bulk fermentation
  • Grease a baking pan with olive oil and spread the dough evenly and push it into the corners with oiled hands. This will de-gas the dough and the volume will deflate. Then put it back into your proofer until it's almost double in size. This took about 30 to 40 minutes for me, but it may differ according to your environment. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 420 degrees F.
    focaccia dough topped with dried rosemary in a baking dish
  • Remove from the proofer and gently place the sliced onions and grated cheese on top.
    focaccia dough topped with parmesan cheese, onions, and rosemary in a baking dish


  • Bake for 20 minutes at 420 degrees F. If you have a convection oven, turn on the fan 5 minutes before taking it out to create a golden brown crust and brown the cheese.
    focaccia bread topped with sliced onions baking in the oven
  • While the focaccia is baking, heat the garlic and ¼ cup of olive oil in a small sauce pan until the garlic starts to simmer. Turn off the heat. Brush the top of the focaccia bread with the garlic oil right when it comes out of the oven.
    focaccia bread topped brushed with garlic oil
  • Transfer the focaccia to a wire rack to prevent it from steaming in the pan. Slice into rectangles and serve.
    slice of rosemary parmesan focaccia bread on a white plate next to rosemary and garlic


Proofing: If you don't have a proofer, you can leave the dough covered in a warm, humid place out of direct sunlight. Some suggestions: 
  1. Use an oven: Place the dough on the top rack of your oven and an empty pan on the bottom rack. Pour boiling water halfway up the pan on the bottom rack and keep the oven door closed. This will create enough heat and humidity to proof the dough. You can also leave the oven light on if you need more heat.
  2. Use an insulated cooler or icebox: Add about 1 inch of hot water to an insulated cooler and place the dough inside on top of a container to keep it away from the hot water. This will create a warm, moist environment similar to a proofer. This is my preferred way to proof bread at home. 
Storing leftovers: Store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to two days. Any longer, and I recommend pre-slicing the dough and freezing it. Warm up the slices by toasting them in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through. 
Serving amount: This recipe makes enough for one 9 x 13 inch pan. 


Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 325mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg