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Flavorful Potato Focaccia Bread

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Focaccia is a traditional Italian bread which is light, flavorful, and plain delicious!
I was recently watching Cake Boss on TLC, when Buddy Valastro mentioned that Focaccia was an  excellent base for pizza.  That got me thinking, I had never tried making foccacia, so why not try to make it?   

When I stumbled upon a recipe for potato foccacia, I knew I had to try it!  Then, I decided to make my process into an instructable since I've been so lazy with making them.  So here I present, Flavorful Potato Foccacia!! 

Kneadless (HAHA...oh wait it's not funny?) to never making foccacia before, it turned out delicious, soft, and fluffy.  I'll definitely be making again.


*This recipe has been adapted from cooks illustrated original foccacia recipe


Oh yeah, feel free to ask me any questions(you can post a comment or send me a message) you have, and please critique this instructable so I can improve. Thanks!

 
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Step 1: Ingredients

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3 1/2 cups AP flour (give or take)
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast*
1 1/4 tsp salt + a bit more salt(for garnishing the dough)
5-6 tbs olive oil**
1 large potato***
1 cup water

*The original recipe called for active dry yeast, I only had instant on hand.
**The amount varies, I'll be giving separate measurements of olive oil for different parts of the instructable.
***The final amount will be 1 1/3 cup shredded cooked potato.  More on that in step two!

Step 2: Preparing the Potato

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For the potato, we'll be cooking it (in the microwave) and then shredding it (by hand), it's really simple, but just a tad messy.

1) Dampen a paper towel and then wrap it around your potato.
2) Place on a plate and then cook in the microwave on high until tender.  (My microwave has a "potato" setting so I just used that.)
3) To check to see if your potato is cooked, do the fork test: Poke a fork into the potato and if it pierces the potato's skin and flesh easily, it's finished.
4) Allow the potato to cool down.  (it'll make shredding it SO much easier)
5) Peel the potato's skin.
6) Grate the potato on a vegetable grater.  When finished, you should have about 1 1/3 cups of shredded potato.
7) Set aside until later. :)

(Actually, this way of cooking the potato was SO easy, that I think I'm going to have to use it from now on! :D )

Step 3: Making the Sponge

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Before we make the dough we have to prepare a sponge consisting of the yeast, some flour, and some water.

1) Put the instant yeast and 1/2 cup of flour into a large bowl.
2) Add 1/2 cup of warm water, and stir the mixture until smooth.
3) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside for twenty minutes.

Step 4: Making the Dough

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1) Next, stir in the  shredded potato, salt, 2 tbs olive oil, and 1/2 cup water to the sponge.  Stir together.
2) Gradually stir in the 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour until the dough comes together.  The dough will still be sticky and clumpy, but not wet.

Step 5: Kneading the Dough

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By Hand:

1) Flour a large surface (like a counter top) and your hands!
2) Plop the dough on the surface and knead away!  It'll be sticky, but try not to add too much flour or the end result could be tough.
3) Knead until smooth (about 4-7 minutes)! You can get an idea about what I consider smooth by the picture.    (If you're wondering how I kneed, I simply squish the dough, fold it over towards me and then squish again, then I rotate, fold and sqish, roatate, fold, squish, ect.)

Using a Stand Mixer:

1) If I was not making an instructable,  I would probably use my stand mixer(got it for my b-day!).
2) Place the dough into your stand mixer (with a dough hook) and knead away.  Knead until smooth.  Again, don't add too much extra flour or the foccacia could come out tough. :(

Step 6: Let it Rise #1

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1)Grease a large bowl with 1 tbs of olive oil.
2) Plunk the kneaded dough into the bowl, then flip over to distribute the oil.
3)Cover the dough with plastic wrap.
4)Put the bowl in a warm place* and allow the dough to rise.
5)Let it rise until doubled.

*If your house is cold, I would recommend preheating your oven to 100 degrees.  Once it's cozy, turn it off and place the bowl with covered dough inside.

Step 7: Shaping the dough

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1) When the dough has sufficiently doubled in size, take a large baking pan and oil it.  I had a reusable silicon mat, so I used that instead.
2) Gently move the dough out of the bowl and onto the pan.
3) Using your finger tips, spread out the dough to fill most of the pan.  It should be pretty flat.
4) Randomly indent the dough with your fingertips.
5) Using a pastry brush generously dab olive oil on the dough.
6) Sprinkle with salt, and any other toppings of your choice.*


*I used fresh rosemary, other options are vegetables, herbs, seasoning, cheese ect.

Step 8: Let it Rise #2!

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1) Cover your pan with a cloth, and set it is a warm place to rise.
2) Let it rise until doubled.  Man, why does bread take to long to make? ;(
3) If the indents aren't as visible as you would hope, now's a good to to gently indent again. (gently! You don't want to deflate the bread)

Step 9: Bake the Foccacia

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1) Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
2) Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.  A dough thermometer should read 200 degrees.
3) Let the bread cool COMPLETELY.  Or else it will be gummy, and gummy bread is not yummy. ;)

Step 10: Dig in! (finally :D)

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So now that you have a nice large batch  of foccacia, you're probably wondering how you can serve it!

*Cut the foccacia into strips and serve it with other dishes. (great for a side dish to pasta or soup or salad)
*Use it for a foccacia sandwich. (use the foccacia for the bread of the sandwich, savory sandwiches only, I hope)
*Serve with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
*EAT IT PLAIN (yum, yum, yummy)
 
Enjoy this recipe!  It's a little labor intensive to make, but the end result is really yummy and delicious! 

Thanks for reading this instructable and I hope you're willing to try it out!
This project is a tad less kid friendly-based than my others (the process was too long to keep my god sisters attention spans), but I've got an project coming up that I recently did with them, which they absolutely LOVED.

Just a heads up that I have another instuctable similar to my rice bag tutorial coming soon, and another planned after that!  So, see you then, fellow members!


lvlaming1 year ago

Made it and it tasted great! Definitely going to make more in the future! Thanks!

LindaJS1 year ago

I just made the focaccia but unfortunately although I tried to be gentle with the indents at the last step, my bread deflated. The flavor was great, I just need to be more careful next time! Thanks again.

mmhmary2 years ago
Made this for the first time earlier today. A few hours later and I'm making two more loaves! So good.
Jdogg555 years ago
This is a wonderful instructable and I can not wait to try making this, this week. 
Thank you!!!
SinAmos5 years ago
For ease of use:

Potato Focaccia Bread

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups AP flour (give or take)
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast*
1 1/4 tsp salt + a bit more salt(for garnishing the dough)
5-6 tbs olive oil
1 large potato
1 cup water

1) Dampen a paper towel and then wrap it around your potato and microwave until done.  Peel the potato's skin.  Grate the potato on a vegetable grater.  When finished, you should have about 1 1/3 cups of shredded potato. Set aside.
2) Mix yeast, 1/2 cup of flour, and 1/2 warm water into a large bowl.  Cover and set aside for twenty minutes.
3) Flour surface and knead dough until smooth.
4)Grease a large bowl with 1 tbs of olive oil and dump your dough in it to coat.  Cover and let rise in a warm place.
5) Gently unfold the dough on a baking pan and brush with olive oil.
6) Sprinkle with salt, and any other toppings of your choice and let rise under a cloth.
7) 425 degree oven and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
SinAmos SinAmos5 years ago
2a) Next, stir in the  shredded potato, salt, 2 tbs olive oil, and 1/2 cup water to the yeast mixture.  Stir together.  Gradually stir in the 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour until the dough comes together. :)
greenmia (author)  SinAmos5 years ago
That's very helpful, would you mind if I added this to the end of the instuctable?  Giving credit to you of course.

(Oh and I think you forgot the step of adding the potato, olive oil, salt, ect. after letting the mixture set of twenty minutes, and the step about adding the rest of the flour. )
SinAmos5 years ago
Thank you for the inspiration.  I am totally going to make this bread.:)
As usual, an excellent Instrutable. Could you please write foccacia phonetically for me?  I don't know how to pronounce it.  Thanks :0)
greenmia (author)  porcupinemamma5 years ago
You can go here to hear the translation:
http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=focaccia
And if your speakers aren't enabled, here:
fo·cac·ci·a
Thanks for commenting, I'm glad you like it!