Sourdough Focaccia with Ricotta Whey

So, I have about a pint of whole milk in the fridge that is ready to go over or sour. I only buy milk a quart at a time since my usage is very small. I remembered a video that I watched a few days ago where Kenji Lopez-Alt said he had made ricotta out of almost sour milk and I decided to give it a try. The link did not work here except as an embedded video but if you look on YouTube for Kenji Lopz-Alt and Lasagna you will find it.

Mine did not separate at 160° into curds and whey so back to the interwebs to the site linked below. I had seen recipes before that used either vinegar or lemon juice and I have both in supply.

As instructed, milk to about 200° and add the lemon juice and a bit of salt. I did the math to reduce the acid properly. Proper curds and whey. 15 minutes to drain and you can see the results.

Curds and whey

Having the whey, it seems reasonable to use that in today’s focaccia bake. There are various recipes, but I will just use the whey by directly substituting for water. The whey has not been weighed just yet. (I had just enough after all). The whey was 90°.

Today’s focaccia is brought to you by levain fed 1/1/1 this morning 7 hours post feed. Isabel’s usual feeding schedule is 1/2/2 so this is a double experiment which means any results are not able to be tied to either variance. Sometimes, this is just the way I roll. My usual flour mix will be used. 20% White Whole Wheat, 30% Bread Flour, and 50% AP, all King Arthur. Inoculation the usual 20% and hydration is 80%. Autolyse 60 minutes.

Use 75% of the whey to the starter to loosen it up. The rest of the whey is added to get the right consistency. I am currently with the all in the pool crowd. A Danish Dough Whisk is good here.

The usual 4 sets of stretch and folds, then into the oiled 8×8 square pan to rise. One rest, stretch to shape and it is left to fill the pan if it may. I’m getting tired of pictures of dough so enough of that unless it is something different. O.K., perhaps just one. Much cooler tonight so will see what it looks like in 12 hours.

3 hours rise, still pretty flat

One check before bed and it is slowly moving to the edges of the pan. Other than being a bit stiff, not much difference in using the whey. It is the taste that will have the tell.

After sleeping in a bit, the dough had been rising for 14 hours. It was ¾ filling the pan looking bubbly and puffy. Absolutely over proofed. When I oiled the top, dimpled and scored, it fell a lot. It will get another hour or so to regain some height if it can. I put a few extra scores to see if I can get nice fingers of bread to easily tear off.

An aside about scoring. I have done this on crackers and shortbread so why not focaccia? It makes separation easier without having to cut each piece. With the focaccia, it is scored in quarters for simple sandwich sized pieces. This is why the square pan was purchased. Try it with focaccia. It is fun to just tear off a proper piece. The silicone scraper I had was not the right shape, so I cut it down to what was needed. I could not use one of my metal bench scrapers because of the non-stick applied to the pan.

Back to your previous scheduled bread bake. The rise was not as high as previous bakes using discard and less time. Still quite over-proofed but experience shows it is not a terrible problem with this bread. Room temp is always a factor though, it has been very hot in SoCal lately.

90 minutes additional rise and into the typical 450° oven with fan. Turned down to 425° after 10 minutes and dropped the shelf to the lowest spot to help brown the bottom.

Internal temp was at 209°, I could have taken it out a minute sooner.

Focaccia has about the same rise as has been typical, not much oven spring. Tear off lines pretty good. Taste about usual, not much extra flavor from the whey. Texture as expected, this over-proofed bread has a fairly close crumb but the dense bite really works for me both as a sandwich base or pick and eat. It worked well with the ricotta I made yesterday.

Sourdough Focaccia with Ricotta Whey


  • 125 gr AP flour
  • 75 gr Bread Flour
  • 50 gr White Whole Wheat
  • 195 gr Whey from Ricotta
  • 5 gr salt
  • 50 gr Sourdough Starter 1/1/1, 7 hrs on


  • Measure flours and mix well
  • Add Whey to starter and mix
  • Add thinned starter to flour and mix
  • Cover and Autolyse for 60 minutes
  • Add Starter and mix well
  • After 30 minute rest, 4 sets of stretch and folds at 30 minute intervals
  • Dump dough into 8×8 lightly oiled pan, 15 minute rest
  • Stretch dough to pan. Be gentle to avoid degassing dough
  • Cover and retard for 12-18 hours
  • Preheat oven to 450° with fan if available
  • A small splash of Olive oil on top of dough and dimple
  • Add any amendments, sesame seeds and course salt
  • Bake 10 minutes and lower oven to 425°
  • Bake additional 8/9 minutes, Internal temp about 205°
  • Remove from oven and cool on wire rack

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