June 28, 2009

Potato Focaccia Pugliese (An Italian Flatbread)

Focaccia is an Italian yeasted, oiled and herbed flat bread which somewhat resembles a pizza. Unlike pizza, focaccia is more about the bread than the toppings. So focaccia is usually lightly topped with sea salt, herbs and sometimes sun dried tomatoes, garlic or olives such that they do not take your attention away from the bread. Focaccia is usually a rectangular bread though it can be shaped into a circle as well.

Potato focaccia pugliese is nothing but a potato topped focaccia supposedly from the Puglia region of Italy. I have no idea how authentic this recipe is, which I had saved it from an ancient issue of Femina.
The first time I made this was way back when I was still dreaming of baking my own bread. (Now I dream of baking the "perfect" bread!)
At that time, probably because I didn't know too much about "yeasty and bready" stuff, I ended up with a flat bread which wasn't even remotely related to a focaccia. Thankfully, matters have improved since.

At the beginning of the month, Zorra announced that Bread Baking Day was celebrating its second anniversary with a pizza party. I was mentally preparing myself to make pizza. when I saw that she had also mentioned that other similar flatbreads with toppings were welcome.

So it was time to revisit my focaccia recipe.
When I last made this focaccia, I found that the potatoes were uncooked and very chewy, even though the focaccia had cooked.
So this time, I sliced the potatoes a little thicker (about 1/4" thick) and partially cooked them in salted water before using them as topping.

I have altered the basic dough a bit by substituting half the all purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. I also used a bit of honey to help the yeast along. I don't get fresh rosemary here, so I used dried rosemary instead kneading half of it into the dough.

This rosemary flavoured potato focaccia is very soft with a nice crust. It is so easy to make, takes very little effort, looks so pretty and tastes great.
Potato Focaccia Pugliese

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast*

1 1/2 tsp honey

1/3 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil plus extra for brushing and drizzling

4 medium sized potatoes

sea salt and pepper to taste (optional)

2 tsp dried rosemary (use fresh if you have it and half the amount)
*I used some yeast which was supposed to be "especially for whole grain breads". I'm not sure, but I think this might have more "yeast power" then regular active dry yeast. So if you are using regular, you might want to increase the yeast to 1 3/4 tsp.


As I mentioned, I partially cooked the potato slices.
So peel and slice the potatoes somewhat thinly (about 1/4"thick) and par-boil them in salted water (you might want to watch the salt here, if you're planning to use sea salt later).  Drain and pat the potato slices dry. Keep aside.
Dissolve the yeast and honey in about 1/2 cup of warm water and allow to proof (about 5 to 10 minutes).

You may knead the dough by hand; I did it in my food processor. Put the flours, 1/3rd tsp salt, 1 tsp rosemary (if using dried herbs only) and oil in the food processor. Pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the yeast mixture and knead, adding just enough water to obtain a smooth and elastic dough. It should not be sticky.

Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and roll the dough in the bowl to coat it with oil. Cover and allow to rise till double (about half an hour).
Gently deflate the dough and knead a couple of times. Oil a rectangular tin (I used an 11" by 7" tin) and, using your fingers, press the dough out to cover the tin in uniform thickness.

Using your fingers, dimple the top of the dough. Brush the top of the focaccia dough with oil. Sprinkle the rosemary (fresh, or remaining 1 tsp dried) and then arrange the potato slices to cover the surface of the dough.
Sprinkle sea salt (if using) and freshly crushed black pepper.

Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise for about an hour. Bake the focaccia at 220C for 30 minutes till the potato starts browning and the focaccia is a nice brown colour and sounds hollow when tapped.

Serve warm as it is, or as a snack/ appetizer or maybe with soup or as part of a meal. This recipe should serve 4.

This goes to BBD #21 – Pizza Party and to YeastSpotting, of course.


A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine said...

Potato Foccacia. Interesting one. Looks very delicious and very well baked, can imagine the taste from your photo.

A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine said...

Potato Foccacia. Interesting one. Looks very delicious and very well baked, can imagine the taste from your photo.

A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine said...

Potato Foccacia. Interesting one. Looks very delicious and very well baked, can imagine the taste from your photo.

Ria said...

Lovely Foccasia! Looks soft :) Now lemme imagine how it would have tasted ...mmmmm :)

Curry Leaf said...

Interesting.I can imagine the taste.Looks perfect as always.I too was thinking of making a focaccia for bbd,but not sure how it may turn out.
I saw Orgran egg replacer in store (MKAhmed,CMH Road,Blore) today.I first came to know about this thru Raaga.

Parita said...

Focaccia looks wonderfully baked!

Cilantro said...

Nicely baked bread ,looks great with potatoes.

Sumi said...

Have bookmarked it , will try it sooner :)

bindiya said...

This looks so good, I am drooling here!

Sharmila said...

I like the idea of adding potato slices to the bread ... something moist in every bite. Nice looking bread Aparna. :-)

aquadaze said...

this looks perfect!

Miri said...

That is one perfect looking foccacia Aparna!!

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

the bread looks delicious!!

pigpigscorner said...

the foccacia looks so soft and fluffy! Adding potato slices on top is a great idea!

♥Rosie♥ said...

I love Focaccia and yours looks so good Aparna!! I've never thought of adding potato how clever!!

Hari Chandana said...

looks wonderful and sooo soft... nice snaps.. :)

Bergamot said...

looks just perfect... really soft.

Nithya said...

Potato Foccacia looks really interesting and yummy.. Nice dishes and a lovely blog.

Guess I am here for the first time and its really a nice place I missed for quite some time.. Will surely be here often from now. Keep it going.

zorra said...

You are baking the prefect breads! Your foccacia looks so yummie!

Andreas said...

Beautiful pictures of a beautiful focaccia. :)

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

I echo Zorra, your breads are always perfect! I love potato pizza, have not made potato focaccia... yet. Great idea!

Talita said...

This sounds great! I love potato!

Aparna said...

Thanks everyone.

Sweatha, Raaga was telling me about that too. I also just saw it yesterday in a shop here, but the price on the box stunned me!

It is clever, Rosie but the original idea isn't mine.:)

Welcome Nithya and thanks.

Thanks Zorra And Susan, coming from you that's a compliment I treasure. :)