ONE RECIPE… TWO TOPPINGS…BOTH HEAVENLY
Who doesn’t love a freshly baked focaccia, one scented with fresh rosemary and sea salt, or topped with roasted tomatoes and thyme? You may be surprised to know that focaccia is quite easy to make at home! Whether you have a wood-burning oven or a conventional one, give this a try. You won’t be disappointed. Allow 2 days, as the dough needs a cold first rise in the refrigerator overnight.
Recipe adapted from Jim Lahey’s, My Bread
1 cup Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2-1/2 cups cool water
4-1/2 cups (600 grams) bread flour
2-1/2 t. dry active yeast
1 t. sugar
1-1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
In a small covered saucepan, cook the potatoes in the 2-1/2 cups water until soft when pierced with a fork.
Using a blender, immersion blender, or food mill, puree the potatoes with the cooking water until smooth.
Allow the mixture to cool to 120F, checking with a yeast thermometer.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar, and half of the salt.
Add the potato puree and mix with a wooden spoon until you have a wet and sticky dough.
Sprinkle a few drops of olive oil over the top of the dough, spreading evenly with your fingers to prevent a skin from forming. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise overnight in the refrigerator.
Next day, dough has tripled in volume. If it appears I have more dough in my bowl than you may have, it is because I am working with a double recipe.
Lightly oil a 13 x 18 inch rimmed baking sheet. Scrape the dough onto the pan. It will be sticky. Gently ease the dough across the pan, then oil your hands and press the dough evenly out to the edges.
Drizzle with 3 T. of olive oil and add the topping of your choice. Here I am adding fresh rosemary and sea salt. Use your fingertips to dimple the dough.
Roasted tomatoes and thyme
Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it has risen to the edges of the pan, about 45 minutes.
If baking in a conventional oven, preheat it to 400F. Once risen, bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cool on a rack.
In a wood fired oven, bake at 600F until nicely browned, about 6 minutes, rotating for even baking. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.
It doesn’t get much better than this!