potato rosemary olive oil focaccia

Have you noticed an explosion of focaccias on the internet of late? 

Focaccia used to be very popular in Sydney then fell out of favour quite some time ago. When I was in Liguria 2 years ago I tasted authentic focaccia for the first time and it looked and tasted nothing like the focaccia I'd been served in the past. It was much thinner, crustier, saltier, oilier and altogether way more delicious. It was served as a snack at my Ligurian accommodation and it was so moreish I kept going back for more.

I looked online for a version which best approximated the focaccia I'd had in Liguria. In the end I mashed together 2 different recipes to come up with this version. It's an overnight rise version that uses a tiny amount of yeast so you have to be patient. I liked the idea of topping the focaccia with potato slices and rosemary so that's what I did. It tasted pretty good and I ate the whole thing myself, although not in one sitting I hasten to add. 

While it's best served on the day, I froze the leftovers and warmed them in the toaster as a snack and on another occasion I sliced the focaccia and used it to make open faced sandwiches. Either way it still tasted pretty good. 

Here’s the recipe for you which makes an 8 x 12 inch focaccia. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Potato, Rosemary and Olive Oil Focaccia adapted from here
300mls lukewarm water
¼ tsp yeast
1 tsp honey
400g plain flour
9g fine sea salt
⅓ cup olive oil 
Flaky salt for finishing

2 new potatoes, washed and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin as they need to be really thin)
A few sprigs of rosemary, roughly chopped and drizzled with a little olive oil

The night before making the focaccia mix the water, yeast, and honey until the yeast has dissolved. In a very large bowl, whisk flour and salt together to combine and then add yeast mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated and then scrape the sides of the bowl clean. Add a little olive oil to the bottom and top of the dough - just enough to cover it entirely, so that the dough doesn't dry out during rising, and can rise evenly. Cover with plastic wrap. Leave out at room temperature to ferment for 12 to 14 hours until at least doubled in volume.

The following day spread about 2 tablespoons oil evenly onto a 8 x 12 inch rimmed baking sheet.

When dough is ready, use a spatula or your hand to release it from the sides of the bowl and fold it onto itself gently and then pour out onto pan. Using oiled hands gently stretch the dough to the edge of the sheet by placing your hands underneath and pulling outward. The dough will shrink a bit; so you may need to repeat the stretching once or twice over the next 30 minutes.

Add a generous drizzle of olive and use your fingers to make dimples all over the surface. Add the potato slices and push them in slightly, then sprinkle the rosemary over the surface.

Prove the focaccia for a further 45 minutes or until the dough is light and bubbly. Thirty minutes into this final proof, adjust rack to centre position and preheat oven to 220°C. Place a baking stone on the rack or invert another sturdy baking sheet and place on rack. Allow the baking sheet to preheat until very hot, before proceeding with baking.

Sprinkle the focaccia with flaky salt. Bake for 15 minutes directly on top of stone or inverted pan until bottom crust is crisp and golden brown when checked with a metal spatula. To finish browning the top crust, place focaccia on upper rack and bake for 15-20 minutes more. 

Remove the focaccia from the oven. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil over the hot focaccia and let it soak in and rest in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove from tin and place on a rack to cool or straight on to the chopping board as its best eaten warm.

It tasted delicious warm from the oven and I can see I'll be making this focaccia time and time again.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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