By Cat, Jan 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Includes: 1. Potato Focaccia
Focaccia (or the Provence version, fougasse) has become part of the American lexicon in the last 10 to 15 years, because of the increasing popularity of Italian foods. Like other flatbreads, it is an ancient, enduring bread made from a short list of ingredients: flour,water, yeast, olive oil and salt.
But this recipe adds another starchy ingredient: potato, which helps to retain a soft, moist texture. This modification appeals to me because of my love for Potato Lefse -Scandinavian Flatbread. Indeed, many traditional European bread recipes experiment with potato as an ingredient, ever since early explorers brought the potato home from the Americas.
This recipe is adapted from The Best of Cooks Illustrated magazine. The original recipe uses rapid rise yeast and all purpose white flour. I prefer to use regular active dry yeast with a bit of sugar, at least half whole wheat flour, and some semolina
My preference for the sponge is Wheat Montana Prairie Gold whole wheat flour (a hard white wheat), as it is light not only in color but in behavior, and a mix of unbleached white flour and semolina in the second part, with the potato. I have not yet tested this recipe.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 1 medium yukon gold or other baking potato (9 oz)
- 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ cup warmed filtered water
- 1 ¾ cups hard white or red whole wheat flour
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- ¼ cup semolina
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup warmed filtered water
- 1 ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt (or Kosher Salt)
- unbleached white flour for kneading and shaping
- 1 quart saucepan
- potato ricer or grater with large holes
- 1 cup glass measuring cup
- large bowl
- kneading surface (kitchen board)
- clean cotton kitchen towel
- 10.5″ x 15.5″ cake or jelly roll pan
- Topping: grind rosemary and salt with a pestle to bruise the rosemary. Add to olive oil in a cup or small dish, cover, and let sit on the counter several hours or overnight to infuse the oil with rosemary flavor.
- Peel and quarter potato; cook in simmering water until just tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, rinse well and allow to cool until it can be handled comfortably. Push it through a ricer (or large holes of a grater) into a bowl. Reserve 1 ⅓ cups, lightly packed, for the focaccia.
- Sponge: Warm filtered water over a pilot light or low flame. Measure ½ cup in a glass measure, add sugar and sprinkle yeast over. Proof until it foams.
- Measure 1 ¾ cup flour into large bowl; stir in yeasty mixture, then beat for 100 strokes to make a sponge. Cover with a damp kitchen cloth and let rise in a warm spot for 20 minutes (or longer?).
- Finish dough: Add 1 1/4 cups flour, riced potato, additional 1/2 cup warmed water, salt and oil, and stir well, until it will form a rough ball. It will be very sticky.
- Knead in up to 1/4 cup additional flour.
- Cover again with damp towel and let rise 1 hour.
- With wet fingers, press dough into oiled pan; if it just won’t stretch to shape, let it rest 15 minutes and try again.
- Cover with damp towel and let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Meanwhile place oven rack in lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 4250 F.
- Using your fingertips, make dimple-like depressions in the dough about every 2 inches.
- Mix topping ingredients and brush over top of the dough.
- Bake 20 – 25 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on rack
- The Best of Cooks Illustrated magazine
- Wheat Montana Prairie Gold flour (wheatmontana.com/store/index.php)