Focaccia is a yeasted bread found throughout the regions of Italy with lots of variations on how to make it, top it and even what to bake it in.
Focaccia from Bari in the region of Puglia at Italy’s heel is one that I am partial to because of potatoes used to make the dough.
For the classic toppings, ripe tomatoes, dried oregano, olives and olive oil are a must.
- Step one Make the dough
- 2 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled, and diced
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup durum semolina flour
- 1 1/2 tbs salt
- 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- Step two Make the topping
- 5 or 6 large plum tomatoes, cut into small chunks, or 2 cups halved
- 1/2 cup green olives cut in half
- 2 tbs salt
- 4 tbs dried oregano
- Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and boil until very tender. Drain, and reserve the water.
- Mash the potatoes and set aside. You should have approximately 2 cups
- Add enough cool water to the reserved potato water to make 3 cups in a large bowl or pour it into a stand mixer.
- Stir in the yeast and the mashed potatoes. Or use the paddle attachment on the stand mixer to blend the ingredients.
- In a bowl, mix the flours together and add it to the yeast mixture and mix until a rough shaggy mass forms; add the salt and olive oil and mix to form a soft dough that is just a tad sticky. Only add additional all- purpose flour as needed but do not make the dough too dry.
- Place the dough in an oil-sprayed bowl. cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise about 1 hour or until nearly doubled.
- Preheat the oven to 375F Brush two baking sheets (12 x 15 1/2 inches) with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Punch down dough and divide in half. Knead for a few minutes, then use your hands to stretch each half onto the baking sheets. The dough does not need to fill the pan
- Dimple the dough all over with your fingers. Divide and scatter the tomatoes over the dough and press the olives randomly into the dough. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of oregano evenly over the top of each dough. Drizzle each focaccia with 1 tablespoon each of the olive oil.
- Let the focacce rest covered with a towel for 30 minutes.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges and bottom crust are nicely browned. Cut with a scissors.
This recipe was featured on Season 30 - Episode 3003.
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