Cooking with Kata — Sourdough focaccia and bonus pizza


Katarina Rothhorn

FRESH BAKED BREAD — While not as beautiful as store bought focaccia, homemade bread is worth the wait. The process of making bread helps me manage my time better and have fun experimenting with different recipes.

Katarina Rothhorn

It’s that time of the week again, where my sourdough starter (lovingly named Fredricka) needs to be fed and my weekend is spent procrastinating homework through a new baking project. This weekend the result of my productive procrastination was sourdough focaccia bread that then doubled as pizza. 

I have made focaccia before, but never with a sourdough starter, so I took some inspiration from online recipes once again. I’ve found my favorite way to channel my creative baking energy is to find some cool recipes at the bottom of long recipe blogs and combine my favorite parts of each to create something that still feels unique, but with an extra dash of confidence it is actually going to turn out edible. 

For this recipe, most of the blogs I read suggested I use bread flour. Unfortunately, while I am a college student who spends more money on baking and cooking supplies than is recommended by my income, I do not have a ready supply of bread flour in my apartment. All-purpose flour has never led me astray before, and it didn’t this time either. 



1 ½ cups sourdough starter (the more active, the better)

1 ½ cups water

6ish cups all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons olive oil 

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons instant yeast

Dried herbs if you feel like it – I used dried rosemary and lavender



Mix together starter and water in a mixing bowl — I highly recommend you mix with a stand mixer unless you feel like you want to have an impromptu arm workout. 

Add in flour, olive oil (I did run out in the middle of this recipe and used some vegetable oil), salt, honey, instant yeast and herbs. Mix until it comes together and looks smooth — yes these are vague instructions but honestly, so is every cooking column I’ve ever read. Feel the status of the bread in your heart and you will likely still end up with a great product in the end. 

DOUBLED IN SIZE — The focaccia dough looks incredibly satisfying as it rises. I like to use the rising time as my designated “grind time” for getting projects done. (Katarina Rothhorn)

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let it rise for an hour to an hour and a half. Since I’m making this in Marquette in the middle of February, my apartment was a little colder and needed the full hour-and-a-half rise.

Fold the dough over (basically pulling up one side, folding it over the top of the dough and tucking it under the bottom) four times, cover it again and let it rise again for roughly an hour or so. 

Find a baking sheet that fits your needs — or in my case, the only baking sheet I own — and coat it with oil. Once the dough is fully risen, dump it out onto the pan and start to stretch it to the corners of the pan. It will likely start to shrink back on itself, so do your best to get it to the shape you want and then let it sit for 10 minutes before coming back to stretch it again. 

Once it’s where you want it, cover it and put it in the fridge overnight. I know, this is one of those ridiculous recipes where you have to practice delayed gratification. It’s worth it though, trust me.

The next morning (roughly 14 hours later), remove the pan from the fridge and then preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. My apartment stove doesn’t have clear temperature marks on the dial, so I err on the side of too hot as opposed to too cool. 

Let your oven preheat for 30-45 minutes (more like 45 if you’re baking in Marquette in the middle of winter) which will make it very warm in your kitchen and will also help bring the dough up to room temperature. 

Before you bake, you get to do the most satisfying part of making homemade focaccia and poke a bunch of dimples in the dough with your fingers. Drizzle more oil over the dough and sprinkle with more dried herbs and salt, if you want. 

BONUS PIZZA — This recipe makes a lot of bread and a great way to make sure it doesn’t go stale is to turn it into an easy pizza. Focaccia also makes great sandwiches and can be eaten with dips. (Katarina Rothhorn)

Bake the bread for 20-25 minutes until it is golden in color and smells divine. You should probably let it cool for 10 minutes as well after it comes out of the oven, but if you want to cut a slice and eat it with fresh tomatoes and goat cheese right then, I’m not going to stop you.

I took half of the bread a day later and sliced it in half to make two pizzas for the week as well. Just cover them with sauce, add your toppings, cheese and then bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and it looks warmed through. 

What a great start to the week. Thanks, Fredricka.