Recipe source : Adapted from Baking Illustrated
For the dough :
- 2 medium potatoes (about 9 ounces) boiled, peeled and grated to get about 1 1/3 cup lightly packed shredded potato
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup warm water (just warm to touch)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for oiling bowl and pan
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
For the topping:
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp plucked fresh rosemary leaves
- a sprinkle of coarse sea salt
Make a starter mixture by combining yeast, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water with a wooden spoon in a bowl. Cover it and let the bowl stand for 20 mins.
Add the remaining flour in batches: first add 1 1/2 cups of flour to the above mixture, mix for about 5 mins. In the next batch add, 1 1/4 cup flour, remaining warm water, extra virgin olive oil and salt and combine till the dough comes together. At this point the dough will be very sticky. To make it more manageable, drop the dough on a floured surface and add the last batch i.e. 1/4 cup flour and knead for 4 to 5 mins. The final kneaded dough will also be a little sticky. Thats the way its supposed to be.
Transfer the dough to a well oiled bowl and turn to coat the other side with oil as well. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and let it stand in a warm area for about an hour. The dough should double in size during this time.
Handle the dough with wet hands, divide it into two portions. Flatten each portion into 8 inch rounds. Cover them with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 45 mins – 1 hour.
Now, with wet fingers make dimples on the surface of the dough at regular intervals.
For the topping : Drizzle the dough with extra virgin olive oil so as to form little puddles. Sprinkle or plant rosemary leaves in the these puddles and finish topping with a sprinkle of coarse salt on the surface.
Preheat the oven to 220 °C. Bake the focaccia till the bottom crust is golden brown and crisp. The time ranges from 15 to 25 mins depending on the kind of oven you have.
Transfer the focaccia to a wire rack to cool. Cut it and serve warm. The focaccia can be kept at room temperature for several hours. It can be microwaved before serving.
The only problem I had while making this was peeling the focaccia off my ceramic baking tray even though I had generously oiled it. But it was just a matter of some knife work and the Focaccia was off the tray in one piece (Phew !!)
Some more things you might like to know 🙂
Top it with the topping (s) of your choice, but keep in mind that in this case less is more.
In case you are a true blue Indian, try teaming Focaccia with chana masala/Chhole. You would be surprised at how well they go together. On the other hand, you could enjoy it by itself as a warm snack to satisfy your in- between-meals hunger pangs !