Sunday, 4 March 2012

Potato Focaccia with Tomato, Oregano and Olives

Bread AND Potatoes. Does it get any better than that? Fluffy and light on the inside, crispy and golden on the outside. Eat it hot from the oven or cold in lunch boxes like my lot have done today (they have gone to volleyball training). This bread does double-duty on all fronts. Double the carbs, double the fun!

Potato Focaccia with Tomato, Oregano and Olives
from Karen Martini's Where the Heart Is
Makes 1 large Focaccia

2 medium Desiree Potatoes, peeled and halved, boiled and drained and used hot (you can substitute any good mashing potato)
500g plain flour
2 teaspoon salt flakes
375ml warm water
1½ teaspoons dried yeast
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ bunch basil leaves, torn
1 bunch oregano leaves, ripped
80g pitted olives, coarsely chopped (I used a mixture of green and black)
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Make the dough:
Place the water and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer and stir gently until yeast is dissolved. Let it stand for a few minutes to activate.

Use a potato ricer, if you have one, to mash the still hot potatoes and add them to the yeast and water. It will look like sludge, but it's all good, trust me. Sift in the flour and salt. Using a dough hook and on the lowest speed, lightly mix these ingredients. Continue mixing on low speed until combined then increase the speed and mix for another 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough will be quite wet. The general rule is, the wetter the dough, the better the bread.

Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough inside, cover with plastic wrap and rest in a warm spot until it's doubled in size - around 40 minutes.

Lightly oil a non-stick baking tray (30x40cm) and scrape the dough into the centre of the tray. Because the dough is sticky if you lightly oil your fingers this will stop the dough from sticking to your hands. Push the dough out evenly to fill the pan.

Cover again and leave to rest in a warm place until it's doubled in size again - about 30 minutes.

Make the topping:
Place the  tomatoes, olives, oregano and basil into a bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bacl papper. Stir to combine.

When the dough is risen, scatter over with the topping mixture.

Bake in a preheated 180 degrees C oven for around 30-40 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Set aside for 15 minutes then place it on a rack and return to the oven for 5 minutes to crisp up a little more - that should remove any excessive moisture from underneath the bread.

Slice and serve when still warm and if there's any left, you can reheat it in the oven.  It's great cold too.

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