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focaccia pugliese

Focaccia Pugliese

  • Author: Flavia Scalzitti

Description

Adapted from Italy in Small Bites by Carol Field

Makes 2 round 9-inch (23 cm) focaccia

Special Equipment: round 9″ x 2″ (23 cm x 5 cm) baking/cake pans


Ingredients

Dough

  • 8 ounces (225 grams) Yukon Gold potatoes (1-2 potatoes, depending on size)
  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1½ cups + 2 Tablespoons  (400 mL) warm water (100°F-110°F/37°C-43°C)
  • 3¾ cups (500 grams) durum flour or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided

Topping

  • 46 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the proofing bowl and baking/cake pans
  • 1012 cherry tomatoes
  • 68 Kalamata or black Beldi olives (pitted), drained, patted dry, and halved
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano, divided
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, divided

Instructions

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes and boil them until tender and thoroughly cooked. Drain and transfer the potatoes back to the pot, and mash or rice them. Place a clean dishtowel over the pot of mashed potatoes–this will allow most of the heat to dissipate while still keeping them warm.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir the yeast and honey into the warm water and let stand for 5-10 minutes to allow the yeast to begin blooming. Add in the flour, mashed potatoes, and 1 teaspoon of the salt and mix briefly with a wooden spoon. While the dough is still wet, add in the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and use your hands to mix the dough until it begins to come together. Transfer the dough to a well-floured board and knead for 10 minutes until the texture of the dough is smooth and firm. The dough will be slightly sticky, so flour the board as necessary.
  3. Place 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in another large mixing bowl and use your hands to rub it around the interior of the bowl. Place the dough in the oiled bowl and roll it around to coat it in the olive oil. Cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel and place it in a draft-free area to rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.
  4. Place 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in each of the round baking/cake pans and use your hands to rub it around the bottom and sides of each pan. Set aside. Turn out the risen dough onto a lightly floured board and divide in half. Shape each half into a ball. Place each ball of dough in the oiled baking/cake pans and use your fingertips to gently press the dough towards the edges. Do not force the dough–the dough may not reach the edges completely. Cover the baking/cake pans with a clean dishtowel and let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then use your fingertips to finish stretching the dough to the edges. Cover the pans again and place them in a draft-free area to rise for 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Set a rack in the center of the oven.
  6. Uncover the dough and use your fingertips to dimple the dough, making sure not to press through to the bottom. Drizzle about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over each unbaked focaccia and gently spread it around with your fingers, making sure to coat the surface evenly. Break the cherry tomatoes in half using your fingers, allowing the tomato juices to fall onto the surface of the dough, and distribute the halved tomatoes evenly over each focaccia. Dot the top of each focaccia with the halved olives. Sprinkle the top of each focaccia with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and ¼ teaspoon dried oregano.
  7. Bake the focacce side-by-side for 25-30 minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the pans set on a cooling rack. To remove each focaccia from the pan, run a knife around the edge and either gently lift them out or invert each one onto a plate and flip it back over, toppings-side up.
  8. Storage: Store at room temperature covered lightly with aluminum foil. Eat within 2-3 days.