Emily’s back to share some delicious looking bread!
Guest Post: Herbed Focaccia
Do you guys remember that Dutch Oven Bread I made earlier this summer? Lets call that my gateway bread. Not only is baking your own bread easy and rewarding, you automatically seem more impressive when you tell someone that you bake your own bread. Honestly, it would probably make a really good opening line for making friends, running for president, etc. “Hi my name is (your name here), and I bake my own bread.” Now I can’t really speak for anyone else, but if someone said that to me they would have my love (or vote).
This focaccia recipe is great because you can pretty much flavor it with whatever you want. I went with basic rosemary and sea salt. However, it would also be good with sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese or caramelized onions. Make your bread how you like it. And feel free to eat the whole loaf. I won’t tell anyone.
Herbed Focaccia (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)
– 1 medium russet potato (about 8 oz.), peeled and cut into large chunks
– 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 1 envelope rapid-rise yeast
– 1 1/4 tsp salt plus extra for sprinkling
– 2 tbsp fresh rosemary coarsely chopped (or another herb of your choice i.e. sage)
Boil the potato in water until it can be easily pierced by a fork, about 10 minutes. Remove the potato from the water using a slotted spoon. IMPORTANT: you will be using some of the leftover potato water so do not drain it in a colander. Measure out one cup of the water and set aside to cool until its temperature reads 110 degrees. You don’t want it to be too hot or you will kill the yeast. Grate the potato on the large holes of a box grater. You are looking have about 1 cup of lightly packed potato.
*for this next part I did everything in my food processor using a dough blade, but I’m sure it would work using a stand mixer and a dough hook*
Combine the cooked potato, 3 1/2 cups of the flour, 2 tablespoons of the oil, yeast, and salt in the food processor. While the process continues to run, add the reserved potato cooking water through the chute. Mix until the dough comes together.
Turn your dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Add the remaining flour if it is sticky. Form a smooth round ball.
Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and with a damp cloth towel or plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Coat an 18 by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with 1/4 cup more oil. Using wet hands, press the dough into the prepared baking sheet. Brush the top dough with a little oil and cover. Allow to rise until doubled in size, 45 to 75 minutes.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Dimple the dough with wet fingertips, then drizzle and sprinkle with the rosemary (or other herb) and coarse salt. You could even crack some black pepper on top here. Be creative! Make this your dream bread!
Bake until the focaccia bottom is golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the focaccia to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.