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Pesto & Black Pepper Sourdough Focaccia

Learn how to make Sourdough Focaccia with a sourdough starter and simple ingredients. It’s a complex, crusty, tangy, and ultra-fluffy bread with beginner-friendly instructions.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Bread
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Bread
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Proofing/Resting Time: 1 day 4 hours
Total Time: 1 day 4 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 12 Slices
Calories: 284kcal
Author: Emily Laurae


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • Paddle Attachment (optional)
  • Plastic Wrap/Bowl Covel
  • 9x13 Baking Dish
  • Spatula
  • Bread Knife


Pesto & Black Pepper Sourdough Focaccia

  • 2 cups (475 g) Lukewarm water
  • 1 cup (200 g) Sourdough Starter Discard
  • 4 cups (480 g) Bread flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (54 g) Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil , to coat the baking pan
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil , to add to the top of focaccia pre bake
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper

Final post-bake toppings

  • 3 tablespoons Freshly grated parmesan
  • ¼ cup (62 g) Pesto


  • In your mixing bowl, add water and sourdough starter, mixing to combine.
    2 cups Lukewarm water, 1 cup Sourdough Starter Discard
  • Add in your bread flour and salt. With a silicone spatula, mix your dough in a scooping motion, until it's all combined and mixed together and all clumps are removed.
    4 cups Bread flour, 1 ½ tablespoons Kosher salt
  • In a separate big bowl, add in about ¼th cup olive oil, add in your dough, and gently turn your dough to coat in oil. Cover and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
    ¼ cup Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Grease a 9x13 baking pan a few tablespoons of olive oil. Then, gently pour your risen dough into the baking pan. Place in a rather warm area (ideally 80 degrees) of your home and allow it to rise for 4 hours uncovered.
    2 tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Once your dough has fully risen and has really spread to all sides of your pan, drizzle with the remaining olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and wet your fingers with water. Take your fingers and dimple the dough gently - creating little holes all across your dough making sure not to puncture all the way through! Then, top with black pepper.
    2 Tablespoons Extra-virgin olive oil, 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • At this point, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place your focaccia dough in the oven and bake for 20 minutes then check on your focaccia. If your focaccia dough is browning quite quickly, you can always add foil to the top of your pan to prevent further browning.
  • Remove the focaccia from the oven and gently remove it from the pan with tongs or a large spatula and placing it on a cooling rack. If the bread sits in the baking pan for too long, the bottom of the focaccia will start to soften due to condensation so make sure to allow it to cool completely on a cooling rack so that its crispy crust remains crispy!
  • Drizzle the pesto on top with flaky sea salt and freshly grated parmesan, and cut into squares with a bread knife once cooled!
    ¼ cup Pesto, 3 tablespoons Freshly grated parmesan


Tips and variations
  • Do a float test - It’s the best way to tell if your starter is fresh. Simply pinch off about 1 tablespoon of your starter and place it in a glass of water. If it floats, you're in business!
  • If the bread is browning too quickly in the oven - Place a layer of foil over the top to prevent further browning. I usually check the bread at the 20-minute mark just in case.
  • For additional flavor - Stir fresh garlic or garlic powder, dried herbs (rosemary, thyme, etc.), or honey or white sugar into the dough.
  • Instead of black pepper - Sprinkle sea salt, dried herbs, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, olives, red onions, capers, cherry tomatoes, or thinly sliced potatoes over the dough.


Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 886mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 41IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
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