As the weather turns cooler, I'm loving the chance to get back to baking, which I normally limit during the summer (except for pies; pies are always the exception!). And nothin' says lovin' like focaccia in the oven. I make it in a 9x13 pan, which I prefer to a round or larger, thinner rectangular shape. This gives me the flexibility to cut it into squares, which I can split for sandwiches--or cut it into narrow strips (breadstick-like). One of my all-time favorite meals is square lamb-burgers served on homemade focaccia.
I make a potato focaccia because I am particularly found of soft and moist potato yeast breads.
You can go directly to the printable recipe or I'll show you how to make it step-by-step...
The simple ingredients.
Start by putting about a 7 or 8-ounce potato in a saucepan along with a generous amount of salt. I'm using a Yukon Gold potato here; Russets (baking) potatoes also work great. What you don't want is a low-starch waxy boiling potato.
Bring the water to a boil...
...cover and simmer...
...until it pierces easily with a fork. Set the potato aside to cool.
Meanwhile, measure out 3 cups of all-purpose flour into a medium bowl and set aside.
When the potato has cooled, peel off the skin...
...and mash it finely with a fork. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, pour in 1 package of active dry yeast.
Measure out 1 cup of warm water (105°-115° F).
In a thin stream, add the warm water to the yeast.
Mix together briefly; let the yeast dissolve in the water for a few minutes.
Add the mashed potato...
...and whisk into the yeast mixture.
Add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir to combine.
Add the reserved flour...
...and sprinkle in 1 1/2 teaspoons of table salt (I'm using a 1/2 tablespoon measure here; the same thing.)
Stir the dough with a spoon until it gets too hard to handle, at which point you want to...
...knead the dough in the bowl until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes.
~ The kneaded dough. ~
Oil a medium bowl (I'm giving it a quick spray with some canola oil).
Put the dough in the in the bowl, turning it over once to coat with oil.
Cover with a towel...
...and let rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour.
Oil a 9" by 13" pan. I'm using glass here but metal will work fine as well.
Punch down the dough and transfer it to the prepared 9" by 13" pan.
Press the dough into the pan, stretching as necessary. If the dough is resistant, it's sometimes helpful to give it a bit of the rest and then continue stretching.
Cover and let rise for another hour.
Meanwhile, get ready 1 tablespoon (or slightly more) of olive oil, some coarse salt, and, if desired, some dried or chopped fresh herbs.
~ Preheat the oven to 425° F (400° F if using a glass pan). ~
When the dough has finished rising, make a series of small indentations into the dough with a finger.
Add some herbs to the olive oil...
...and brush the oil mixture on to the top of the focaccia, letting little pools of oil gather in the indentations.
Sprinkle some coarse sea salt over the top.
Bake at 425° F (400° F for glass) for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.
~ Let cool on a rack for 20 minutes before serving. Cut into squares or narrower strips. ~
6 to 8 servings
7-8 oz. Yukon Gold or Russet potato, washed but not peeled
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 cup warm water (105°-115° F)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or slightly more)
Coarse sea salt
A couple of teaspoons of minced fresh or dried herbs
1. Place the potato in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover it. Add a generous amount of salt (a tablespoon or so). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until the potato is tender when pierced with a fork, 20-30 minutes. Remove the potato and let it cool slightly. Peel and mash the potato as finely as possible with a fork.
2. Put the yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add the warm water to the yeast in a thin stream; mix together briefly. Let the yeast dissolve in the water for a few minutes.
3. Add the mashed potato to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
4. Add in the flour and sprinkle in 1 1/2 teaspoons of table salt. Stir with a spoon to combine. When dough begins to hold together knead it in the bowl until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes.
5. Coat a medium bowl with oil. Form the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, turning over once to lightly coat with oil. Cover dough with a kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
6. Meanwhile, lightly oil a 9" by 13" pan. When the dough has finished its first rise, press the dough into the prepared pan, stretching as necessary. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise a second time for about 1 hour.
7. Preheat oven to 425° F (400° F if using a glass pan). In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon (or a bit more) of olive oil and any herbs.
8. When the dough has finished its second rise, make a series of small indentations into the dough with a finger. Brush the oil mixture on to the top of the focaccia, letting little pools of oil gather in the indentations. Sprinkle some coarse sea salt over the top.
9. Bake at 425° F (400° F for glass) for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on a rack for 20 minutes before serving. Cut into squares or narrower strips.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe! To view more step-by-step recipes, see the complete recipe index.
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